The Mac Experience and the Mac Pro Experience

There has been a lot of talk about the “future” of the Mac Pro — Apple’s beefiest Mac. I owned the first version of the Mac Pro, when Apple made the transition to Intel chipsets and I loved that computer. Now — as I think about my computing setup and where the different systems sit…

There has been a lot of talk about the “future” of the Mac Pro — Apple’s beefiest Mac. I owned the first version of the Mac Pro, when Apple made the transition to Intel chipsets and I loved that computer. Now — as I think about my computing setup and where the different systems sit — I can’t help but think that the Mac Pro offers a decidedly un-Mac-like experience for users.

Before you start emailing me, let me explain how I see the “Mac experience”, because only one half of that experience is software driven.

### The Mac Experience

Here’s how I see the current Mac experience from the non-software half:

– As few wires as possible.
– Sits on your desk, because it is gorgeous looking.
– Quiet.
– Truly designed to not be touched by the user. (Caveats have been made for RAM access and the like, but for the most part these are “sealed” systems.)
– As small as possible.

There are surely more things that make up the Mac experience from a hardware perspective, but these offer us a good, simple, starting point.

### The Mac Pro Experience

If you go through the above list of attributes you will notice that by and in large the Mac Pro goes against most of them.

– It begs for more wires to make use of the vast amount of ports.
– While gorgeously designed, no one in their right mind is putting it on top of their desk — it’s huge.
– Depending on what you are doing it can sound like a sedate ceiling fan or a 747 taking off.
– The entire side panel is easily — easily — removed allowing the user access to most all inner components of the machine. It was designed to be expanded upon from the hard drives and RAM to the PCI slots.
– It may well be as small as it can be, but it still ain’t small.

All of this is really the most undesirable part of Mac Pro ownership to me. I never could play video games on it, because the sound drowned out the TV in the next room — with the door closed. There was always a mess of cords surrounding it. I was always on the hunt for more RAM to add, swapping hard drives and various other things that I never think twice about with my MacBook Air.

In reading the new Steve Jobs biography I can’t help but think that the Mac Pro is decidedly the computer that he likes the very least. I know he used/had one, but that doesn’t mean that he did so because it was his favorite machine — given an unlimited budget, I’d have five.

As I think about everything that Apple stands for with its design and goals, I can’t help but suspect that the MacBook Air is the epitome of the Mac experience as Apple sees it. Small, quick, sleek, low-price, sealed.

The MacBook Air and the Mac Pro are polar opposites: one a marvel of engineering — the other a marvel of brute strength.

I don’t think the Mac Pro is going anywhere, but I also don’t think it is something that Jony Ive’s team has spent much time thinking about.

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