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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

2 hours ago - World

U.S. and NATO answer Putin in writing while bracing for Ukraine invasion

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty

The U.S. and NATO provided Russia with written proposals on Wednesday to advance a "diplomatic path forward," even as they warned that Russia could invade Ukraine within days.

Why it matters: This is a delicate diplomatic balancing act. The U.S. and NATO want to show they're serious about diplomacy but unwilling to compromise on "core principles" — all without providing Vladimir Putin with an additional pretext for escalation.

The political leanings of the Supreme Court justices

Data: Martin-Quinn scores; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Supreme Court will continue to have a solid conservative majority even with Justice Stephen Breyer's retirement.

How to read the chart: An analysis by political scientists Andrew Martin and Kevin Quinn, known as the Martin-Quinn Score, places judges on an ideological spectrum. A lower score indicates a more liberal justice, whereas a higher score indicates a more conservative justice.

The front-runners for Biden's Supreme Court pick

Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson (left) and Justice Leondra Kruger (right) Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images and Lonnie Tague, US Department of Justice

Two highly accomplished Black female judges — Ketanji Brown Jackson, a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals; and Leondra Kruger, a justice on the California Supreme Court — are seen as the early front-runners to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

The big picture: Jackson is a powerful federal judge with a record that progressives feel they can trust. Kruger was a highly regarded litigator and has carved out a reputation for working well with conservative judges.