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Long live the desktop!

Inside the new Mac Pro

In the land of nerds — Apple nerds, anyway — Apple’s obsession in recent years with iPhones, iPads, and the iOS operating system for small devices has been disturbing. Sure, nerds have iPhones and iPads and love them. But real computers are for getting work done. Apple was accused — rightly — of neglecting its iMac desktop line of computers and squandering the work of its engineers on consumer doodads designed for distraction and entertainment rather than for getting work done.

Even worse, for a while Apple was saying that it wanted to make its operating system for desktops — Mac OS — more like iOS. That was horrifying. iOS is creepy, really. Its “apps” have no standard user interface, which guarantees that most apps are quirky, gawky, silly-looking, unusable, and aimed at adolescent needs and tastes. Much worse, iOS devices take control away from the device’s owner in the interest of security. For security, that makes sense. But nerds don’t like being locked out of their own computer.

Last year, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, tried to reassure the nerds that Apple wasn’t turning its back on serious computers. The reaction from nerds was skeptical: Harumph. So you say. Prove it.

Apple just proved it. The specifications of the new iMac Pro are breathtaking, way beyond what even the most optimistic desktop nerd might have hoped for. The iMac Pro is to be available in December. Prices start at $4,999. That may seem like a lot of money, but for people who use their computers to make money and who need all the desktop power they can get — for video work, for example — the iMac Pro actually is surprisingly cheap and easy to cost-justify.

Will I buy one? Absolutely not. I don’t need that much computing power on my desktop. But I do need a real computer on my desktop. It’s a certainty that the technical advances inside the iMac Pro will trickle down to the iMacs in the $2,000 range.

Best of all, the release of such a high-end workstation means that Apple can’t neglect its workstation operating system — Mac OS. I’m guessing that the new version of Mac OS that Apple will release in the fall will make up for some lost time. Sure, nerds want their iMacs to talk to their iPads. But we most definitely don’t want a desktop OS that is dumbed down and cartoonized and childproofed the way iOS is.

I’ve been using Macintoshes since 1986, more than thirty years. The drama of Apple’s evolution has been fascinating to watch. Apple just proved (I hope) that the company is not going to devolve into a company that only makes cool, expensive toys. They’re going to continue to make real computers and do superb engineering.

Now make us some cars, Apple! I won’t be able to afford one, but I can’t wait to see what kind of car you make.

One Comment

  1. Henry wrote:


    Friday, June 9, 2017 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

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