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Three Paths Apple Could Take the Modular Mac Pro, Part 2

In April of 2017, Apple announced that they were working on a new “modular” pro Mac. Beyond their mea culpas on the current state of the Mac Pro, they essentially said “we’re working on it” without providing much insight into what “modular” means.

Join Mike H. as he explores some concepts on what could be the best Mac ever made, as he’s been dreaming of a “modular” Mac for years.

In this two-part series Mike explains what’s wrong with the current Mac Pro, provides an intriguing look into three paths Apple could take, and compares them all. (See Part 1 of the series here).

About the Video
This video was shot in UHD 4K using Panasonic LUMIX G7 mirrorless cameras at our design and engineering studios in beautiful downtown Austin, Texas. The video was edited in Adobe Premiere Pro on a Mac Pro upgraded with 64GB of OWC memory and OWC drives.

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  • Mike H. has some interesting and logical ideas. The skeptic in me thinks that when Apple used the term ‘modular’ they meant simply that the display would not be integrated. As I recall, they were discussing the not-yet-released iMacPro. The term ‘modular’ was used to differentiate between the all-in-one iMac design and the monitor-not-included MacPro. I hope I’m wrong. I’d love to see something as cool looking as the current MacPro with features more like the previous Silver Tower MacPro models.

  • External components linked via Thunderbolt isn’t the great idea that many people think it is. For example, on the existing Mac Pro 6.1 “Black Trashcan”, you have to be careful to balance the load across the three T’bolt buses.

    Also, I’ve had reliability issues with boot volumes connected via T’bolt…problems I NEVER experienced with my internal drives connected via the PCI bus in any of my Mac Pro 5.1 silver tower machines.

    Actually, I’m surprised that Apple is even willing to admit how badly they muffed it with the Mac Pro 6.1. But I don’t expect them to provide pro users with anything like the configurability of the Mac Pro 5.1 ever again.

    One of the things that re-earned my loyalty to the Mac platform when Steve Jobs returned in the late 1990s was better user configurability. Alas, the recent tendency at Apple is increasingly AWAY from better user configurability.

    I would be delighted if Apple reversed that unfortunate trend with the forthcoming “modular” Mac Pro…but I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • How about re-rendeing all your videos without the dreadful music in the background. It’s like trying to concentrate with a moron next door blasting noise.
    Hopefully a new Pro won’t just be another design fantasy for Jony Ive.

  • I have an “Entry Level Mac Pro”.

    Mine look exactly like a Late 2012 Mac Mini with 3 USB hubs attached which have hard drive docks and at total of 4 hard drives attached, one Superdrive, a joystick, a multifunction printer, and free USB connection for charging and backup of an iPad Mini and am iPhone.

    So, Mike H.’s idea is not so crazy after all!

  • Will never happen. Unless someone drastically change Apple’s philosophy, the modular concept (int or ext) is probably not even on their list of possibilities. They’re in the business of providing a one stop closed ecosystem of software/hardware. Best we can hope is a liquid cooled solution is a smaller box with upgradeable ram and GPU. Thanks for posting your ideas though.

  • That’s an excellent summary of what hopefully will be coming sooner rather than later. I love the totally modular concept, allowing not only upgrades to keep modern, but the ability to upgrade your mac as your skills change. Excellent video

    • If it’s a well thought out product; and they get the bugs out of HIGH SIERRA … I’ll buy one. Right Now, I’m holding firmly to my Apple Pro Tower (mid 2012), with fevor … and slightly paranoid :-)

  • It is good to think “öutside of the box” and even better to share that with Apple and Apple’s customer base!

    How could we upgrade our current existing hardware pieces and further integrate them? Are there not some mix and match advantages not yet discovered and put to use by OWC?