2019 saw Apple release almost 10+ products and services. The company which was once known for iPhones now has a multitude of products and services that are growing rapidly. This was also the year when Apple started paying attention to what consumers wanted.
With an array of product launches from Apple this year, which was the Apple product of the year for me? The 2019 Mac Pro. Why not the iPhone 11 Pro, you wonder?
The iPhone 11 Pro was easily among the best, if not the best smartphone released this year. Great display, great camera, great battery life, great performance, and fast charging — the iPhone 11 Pro ticked every box.
If — only if — Apple added a USB-C port to the iPhone 11 Pro, it would have been by far my favorite Apple product of this year. And maybe bumped the storage of the base model to 128GB. Well, there’s always 2020 for that.
So, why the 2019 Mac Pro? Sure, it is a machine that is not for the average joe. Heck, most of us cannot even afford the machine and are not even its target audience. That’s not the point of the Mac Pro as well. It is meant for creators — the machine sits in the background doing its job and lets one’s creativity flow without any hitch.
The Mac Pro is a machine that’s unlikely to come from Apple. Over the last few years, Apple has taken a very non-modular approach to all its products. It is not possible to upgrade the RAM and storage of any MacBook released over the last few years. Worse, they all suffered from major reliability issues and despite all user complaints, Apple paid little attention to it until the very end of this year. If you go through iFixit’s teardown of all Apple products released over the last few years, you will see a common theme — RAM and SSD soldered to the logic board, almost impossible to carry an in-house repair.
In comes the 2019 Mac Pro with its modular design. Right from the RAM to the storage to the graphics card, every aspect of the machine is user upgradeable. Apple has even tucked instructions neatly inside the machine on how to upgrade the RAM and in which slot to put them for optimum performance. In fact, the mechanism to remove the covering from the RAM slots is simply outstanding. It is a design touch that PC cabinet makers should seriously look into copying.
Similarly, the plethora of PCIe slots means that upgrading Mac Pro down the line is going to be a relatively easy task, with one only having to make sure that there are no compatibility issues. The MPX module approach might be proprietary in nature but it will ensure that cards and other accessories for the Mac Pro are not limited in performance due to limited amount of power.
The easy upgrade path of the 2019 Mac Pro means that you should simply buy the machine from Apple with the required Intel CPU as per your needs and customize and install everything else on your own afterward. This way, you will end up saving thousands of dollars as well.
The excellent thermal performance of the Mac Pro acts as an icing on the cake. It is amazing what Apple has been able to do in terms of cooling on the Mac Pro. Passively cooling the CPU and GPU is no easy task but Apple managed to pull it off without a hitch. The Mac Pro has only 3 massive fans at the front pulling in air and cooling every component inside it. The entire thermal system works perfectly and the Mac Pro is almost always inaudible.
The Mac Pro is not the first of its kind machine for creators. Dell, HP, and other PC makers have been selling similar systems running Windows for years now. However, the Mac Pro is one of its kind when it comes to design, the easy upgrade path that it provides, and its thermal performance.
For 2020 and beyond, I can only hope that Apple takes further cues from the Mac Pro and follows a similar approach for all its other products. The 16-inch MacBook Pro already gives us a look at that as Apple made the device thicker and heavier to improve its thermal performance and battery life.