Apple’s new Logic Pro X is built for the Mac Pro

Apple boasted that the redesigned Mac Pro could easily handle the most demanding audio editing tasks, and now the software is ready for it. The tech firm has updated its Logic Pro X music editing app to support the new workstation's many cores, handl...

One designer went and redesigned the cheese-grater Mac Pro

You’ve got to admit, whether you like or dislike the Mac Pro 2019, there’s no ignoring it. Especially if you’re from the design community. As a designer (turned writer) myself, here’s a couple of things I’ve learnt the hard way. There’s a general air of designers “knowing what they’re doing”. I’m just as complicit, when I defend my design to a client, or to a marketing team. Sometimes criticism, even if its constructive, can often deliver a slight blow to our ego, which comes from the philosophy that designers make the world a better place. Another very strong behavior that I’ve tried hard to unlearn is the fact that designers tend to look at everything through the lens of a designer… which means everything is a potential redesign project. With my negative feedback of the Mac Pro’s “disgusting” grille, I, for a second, became that person. I still think that Jony could do better (or different), but hey, he operates in a world of unlimited potential, zero constraints, and zero answerability (a part of me is jealous too, yes). My appreciation (or the lack of appreciation) has zero bearing on Ive’s strangely secretive design process. That being said, feedback for the Mac Pro has been extremely divisive, and Hasan Kaymak’s put together a design that he believes captures everything good about the Mac Pro’s 2006 and 2013 editions.

Hasan’s Mac Pro 2020 doesn’t deviate from the silhouette of the 2019 Mac Pro. In fact it embraces it, and comes in the 2013 Mac Pro’s black color, giving us the best of both worlds. The most noticeable change is the absence of the dual-side CNC machined grille detail, which Hasan replaced with a much more traditional slot and mesh. While the revised design detail isn’t particularly eye-catching, it plays it safe… and considering the grille never really faces the user, a relatively normal design detail seems like a fairly logical way to go. Besides, playing it safe would also bring down the relative cost of the Mac Pro by a couple of hundred bucks (given that you don’t have to have a complex CNC machining task), making it slightly less of a pocket pincher. On the opposite side of the grille, Hasan’s added 8 USB-C ports, for connecting all sorts of devices, from hubs, to the iPad Pro, to any other compatible devices you may have. Two audio jacks also sit right above the ports for good measure.

Another design detail change is the vault-lock mechanism on the top of the Mac Pro, which seems absent in Hasan’s concept. Rather than corrupting a clean surface with a fairly large clamp and handle, Hasan goes for something much more discreet, allowing you to simply remove the upper body by pressing down on the stainless steel rods on the top.

The redesign touches upon a common public sentiment, that the Mac Pro doesn’t need to be outright revolutionary. Unlike the iMac or any of the laptops, Mac Pros usually either sit behind monitors, or under tables, or even in render farms. As a device, the Mac Pro has always aimed to look beautiful, but its intent has always been to be functional first… especially given that people are shelling out large sums of money not for looks, but for raw computing power. It doesn’t need to be made using a complex, thick, two-way machined aluminum grille. But hey, who am I to express distaste? I’m just a guy who uses WordPress on a Windows laptop.

Designer: Hasan Kaymak

We cut down Apple’s 2-hour WWDC keynote to under 30 minutes

To say Apple's WWDC 2019 keynote was jam-packed would be an understatement. Apple offered its usual previews of the next versions of iOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS, but it also broke some new ground. The iPad now has its own operating system, for...

Apple’s revamped Mac Pro uses new Radeon Pro Vega II GPUs

Apple's revamped Mac Pro isn't just a showcase for the company's industrial design chops -- it also marks the introduction of new AMD graphics technology. The new system will use the Radeon Pro Vega II, a GPU that's built on the 7-nanometer archite...

The latest Mac Pro is proof that Apple needs to step up its Design Game.

The first time I stumbled upon an image of the new Mac Pro, I honestly thought it was a photoshopped meme. Touted as Apple’s most professional high-performance offering, the Mac Pro isn’t new to ridicule. Its previous avatar was compared to a trash-can, thanks to its cylindrical shape. This time, the design team went back to a CPU-esque cuboidal form factor, like in the beloved 1st generation of the Mac Pro… but I’ll be honest. Something is definitely amiss.

Here are a few thoughts as a product designer who’s followed Apple’s journey as a fan as well as an industrial designer myself. Apple’s ‘behind-locked-doors’ design team is finally truly feeling the effects of this isolation. Touted as one of the most secretive companies when it comes to product launches, Apple tries hard to escape leaks from manufacturing plants, and from whistleblowers… but most importantly, it has a blatant disregard for public feedback. That disregard saw itself manifesting multiple times… in the release of the dustbin Mac Pro, the removal of the headphone jack from the iPhone, and more recently, in the introduction of the notch (the iPhone was the first to do so, remember?).

The new Mac Pro looks like it functionally fulfills every single one of its needs… and it does. It’s infinitely customizeable, has what Apple calls the world’s most powerful graphics card, and a new fan layout system that is capable of cooling all components swiftly and quietly. The components themselves sit within a steel framework that’s reminiscent of the old 1st generation Mac Pro from 2006, but there’s something about the design that leaves us wanting more. It feels too industrial, with its pipe-based structure, and it comes with an aluminum clad that features what I’d consider one of the most awkward looking grilles that look less “computing behemoth” and more “$5,999 cheese grater”. The grille is virtually purely utilitarian, with its layered circular makeup that’s complex to manufacture, but seems less worth the trouble, from a visual stand-point. Move over to the vault-esque locking mechanism on the top and one must wonder even more, whether the design team at Apple truly can design/create beautiful products in this void of theirs where nothing goes in or comes out.

“Our preoccupation with utility and function defines the design of the Mac Pro”, says Ive. He couldn’t be more right. The Mac Pro has gone from being a powerful, beautiful beast, to an evolved goliath of computing power… but in the process, has lost the beauty we once saw, perhaps a decade ago.

Designer: Apple

Apple dropped the price on several expensive Mac upgrades

Apple's iMac updates weren't the only changes the company made today. With less fanfare, it also lowered the cost of SSD upgrades for the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac mini. It lowered the cost to upgrade the 2013 Mac Pro RAM, too. These changes w...