updated 04:00 pm EDT, Mon October 31, 2011
Plummeting sales trigger reconsideration
Apple is considering axing the Mac Pro after 2011, sources for AppleInsider claim. While the company has allegedly developed an updated Mac Pro, it may or may not be shipped, and Apple management has reportedly been mulling the fate of the computer since at least May. Sales executives at the company are said to agree that the product's days are numbered, largely because both consumer and enterprise sales have dropped so severely that Apple doesn't make much profit from the hardware.
Another topic supposedly raised during internal talks is the difference made by Thunderbolt, a port technology now common on Macs. The 10Gbps standard is expected to allow other Macs to assume many of the duties of the Mac Pro, which is often used by professionals and others wanting the speed of PCIe for peripherals and storage. Some problems with discontinuing the Mac Pro however would be the death of readily user-configurable hardware, and sheer performance, since the Pro can be ordered with up to 12 cores and 64GB of RAM among other options.
Another question is server offerings, since the Xserve is no longer available, and the only other Mac intended for server use is the substantially less powerful Mac mini. Apple may not have any interest in catering to the enterprise market at this stage, since the vast majority of its profits are made on mass-market products like the iPhone and MacBook Air.