Last week, the news broke that Apple would be ceasing sales of its last high-end workstation, the Mac Pro desktop. Rumors of the product’s demise have been floating for the past several years, lent credence by the fact that Apple has gone several years without any sort of design upgrade to the product line; the current case was first employed back in 2003, when it still contained an IBM PowerPC G5 CPU.
When Apple discontinued its last serious server hardware a few years ago, many wondered if the Mac Pro was next on the chopping block, but Apple continued to sell the platform – even as the iMac grew to match, and in some cases, surpass, the capabilities and performance of the high-end, high-priced, workstation.
Still, when it came out that Apple was cutting Europe off from the Mac Pro entirely, it came as something of a surprise to Apple fans; regardless of its limited utility for most customers, the Mac Pro is a gorgeous bit of kit, a glittering aluminum gem that sits at the apex of Apple’s product offerings.
As it turns out, however, Apple has good reason for pulling the plug. Regulators in the EU have recently enacted a series of safety regulations that the iMac fails. The regulations at issue deal with the fans on the machine, and exposure to digits and other body parts – the fans need to be re-engineered with new guards; the amount of power sent to the machine’s ‘unprotected’ IO ports also requires reworking.
It doesn’t mean that the desktop is unsafe, especially considering that many or most of the regulations would snag rollout of many PCs bought in the past decade. What it does mean, however, is that the Mac Pro is no longer worth selling in the EU – on such a low-volume product line, it isn’t worth Apple’s time to built an EU-specific version of the Mac Pro just to keep abreast of the new guidelines.
Don’t worry, however, as a completely redesigned Mac Pro (possibly made in the United States!) is due out later this year. Since it isn’t yet on the market, it’s easy enough for the company to rejigger a couple of fans in order to push the desktop into compliance with the new regulations. When is the model expected to make an appearance? That much is difficult to say, but we’d be surprised if the new models aren’t shown off at the company’s annual developers’ conference in June.