Recently, a few of Apple’s top executives sat down with a few certified Apple watchers and critics and talked about the Mac Pro. Why? There is a growing chorus among long-time Mac users that Apple might be abandoning the high end of the platform; the so-called professional Mac user.
I can understand the public angst. Apple’s last Mac Pro was launched in 2013 and hasn’t been upgraded at all until last week, and then just a minor bump. Why? Without using the M word, Apple’s executives acknowledged the Mac Pro was a mistake and didn’t offer want professional level users had come to expect.
The whole saga is interesting, both for news of a modular Mac Pro which may arrive next year, and that Apple admitted a beautiful and well engineered product didn’t meet customer requirements. That got me to thinking; “How much power does your Mac really need?” Among the tidbits of information Apple revealed was the 80-20 split. 80-percent of all Macs sold are notebooks. 20-percent are desktops; Mac Pro, iMac, Mac mini. The Mac has a user base of nearly 100-million customers, which means even more Macs remain in use.
Again, how much power does your Mac really need?
My Mac notebook is a new 13-inch MacBook Pro from late 2016. Everything is fast but speed is relative. Photoshop screams. So does Final Cut Pro. But I collect and use more than I make money on my Mac, so I can’t speak to how much power a professional level Mac photographer or videographer needs.
We also have an aging MacBook Air. It also runs Photoshop and Final Cut Pro. And everything else, though one app at a time is better than multiple apps at a time. In other words, even an older Mac comes with plenty of digital horsepower, and that may help explain why most Macs are notebooks. With every new Mac model comes online benchmark comparisons.
Check out the Geekbench site to see single-core and multi-core benchmark comparisons by Mac models.
The Mac Pros top the benchmark multi-core scores, as expected. Even old Mac Pro models from five to seven years ago score higher than the newest iMac and MacBook Pro models. That might explain why older Mac Pros command a high resale price on eBay. But notice the single-core vs. multi-core scores.
iMacs and MacBook Pro models top even the speedy Mac Pros in single-core results. That tells me that most Mac users don’t need the power in a Mac Pro because the apps we use the most don’t perform any better even with more cores (Mac Pros go up to 12 cores).
Once more, how much power does your Mac really need?
When does it begin to slow down? Is it because of a specific application or the fact that many apps are open and running at the same time, each tugging on system resources enough to impact performance?
Of the 20-percent of Mac customers who use desktops– Mac Pro, iMac, Mac mini– what percentage of those need the power of a Mac Pro, but with more modularity? 10-percent? 5-percent? 1-percent? Is Apple’s decision to dump the 2013 Mac Pro and replace it with a more powerful modular Mac the result of market forces? Or, media forces?
I suspect it’s the latter.