To Pro or Not To Pro

As some of you have noted, Apple has given a preview of their next generation professional desktop computer. They are continuing to call it a Mac Pro.

I’ve been wondering if Apple was done with the professional market given their lack of updates for the desktop hardware (iMac excluded), the changes in their professional apps and the rise of Apple as a mobile focused company. This announcement of a radically redesigned piece of hardware is seemingly good news, right?

After drooling over the visuals of the new desktop, I’m wondering just how much Apple is going to charge for this machine. Macworld’s Jason Snell has a nice recap post that attempts to answer questions about the new Mac Pro. Snell says between $2,000 – $4,000 USD. I’m going to guess it will climb closer to the upper number. Which seems nutty for a diminutive (6.6″ × 9.9″, check out this photo on TechCrunch) box can cylinder that allows for no additional drives, no display card upgrades, a single processor and four RAM slots. If you factor in the dual graphics cards, the price climbs into the $6,000 – $8,000 range. That’s if the cards are the AMD FirePro W9000 and cost just north of $3,000 USD.

Over on Ars Technica, they take a critical look at the new machine, including a bit about how the video cards won’t be costing Apple as much a typical card would cost an OEM or consumer. Even if that’s the case, I can’t see this being an inexpensive piece of kit.

I can’t shake the comparison to the notorious Power Mac G4 Cube.

The best quote from the Ars Technica piece:

“With such a contentious redesign, it’s hard to say if this is going to be Apple’s Xeon version of the Cube or a truly revolutionary approach to workstation hardware.”

That’s where I am with this new box: Will it help me be faster at the work I want to do with it? Or will it be an over-designed (and very likely overpriced) dud?