Apr 4, 2017

Why the Mac Pro proved so hard to upgrade

Apple

When Apple introduced its cylinder-shaped Mac Pro, it thought it had a product with a striking design that would meet the needs of a wide range of professional users for years to come. It turned out to only be the former.

Why it matters: Although the Mac Pro accounts for just a tiny, single-digit percentage of all Mac sales, professional users still make up some of the company's most important and most loyal customers.

In a candid admission, Apple executives said Monday that the round design actually boxed the company into a corner. While certainly a head-turner, the unique design imposed some strict limits on how much heat the machine could generate and also required the company to split intense graphics workloads among two modestly powered graphics chips.

It turned out, though, that for many tasks professionals really needed one high performance graphics chips.

"The architecture over time proved to be less flexible to take us where wanted to go," Apple senior VP Craig Federighi said during a roundtable meeting with Axios and a handful of other news outlets. "We wanted to do something bold and different. In retrospect, it didn't well suit some of the people we were trying to reach."

As a result, Apple plans to go back to the drawing board for an all-new Mac Pro design, though that will take until next year to develop. (More details here.)

The history: Apple introduced the current Mac Pro design in 2013, as well as plans to manufacture it in the U.S., but Apple has been slow to upgrade the model, raising concerns the company doesn't care enough about professional users.

Go deeper

Mass shooting in Milwaukee: What we know

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

Six people died in a shooting at the Molson Coors Brewing Company in Milwaukee on Wednesday, including the gunman, Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters at a Wednesday evening press conference with local police.

Details: All of the victims worked at the brewery complex, as did the shooter who died of "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound," police confirmed in a statement late Wednesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus updates: South Korea case count tops 2,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

33 people in California have tested positive for the coronavirus, and health officials are monitoring 8,400 people who have recently returned from "points of concern," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,850 people and infected over 83,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica, and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Health

Syria's darkest chapter

Family room without a family, in Idlib. Photo: Muhammed Said/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The worst humanitarian crisis of Syria’s brutal civil war is colliding today with what could be the war’s most dangerous geopolitical showdown, after at least 29 Turkish troops were killed in an airstrike.

The big picture: The fighting is taking place in Idlib in northwest Syria, where a ferocious Syrian and Russian offensive has displaced 1 million civilians and infuriated Turkey, which borders the region.

Go deeperArrow6 hours ago - World