. . . the point is:
Will bloggers persuade a lot of potential users that the system lacks something they need?
As they say, perception is reality.
I believe they should have gone with a dual CPU option, to get the extra PCIe lanes for a second SSD (with higher performance) etc. The price will go up and most people will not exploit the 24 cores, but that's beside the point.
I believe that the point that will decide for me is related to the graphics card: Can it be updated ? even if it means buying from Apple?
My impression is that the primary target market for this product is the trade — the larger commercial video shops, for the most part, which make volume purchases. Apple has been losing market share to the WIntel market in this segment during the long hiatus between Mac Pro refreshes and, wholly aside from the revenue involved, Apple is an image-conscious company that has always been concerned about its professional (that's why they brand it "Mac Pro") constituency.
Of course, I'm sure Tim Cook will be delighted with whatever small business or consumer orders the company gets, including onesies from amateur photographers, like me, who are MS-Windows-averse. But we don't provide the cachet of the volume market and, given that many of us are very price-sensitive and it almost always is possible to get comparable performance at a lower price-point with a WIntel machine, we're not a big revenue-generator.
Now the thing about volume desktop computer purchasers — I used to be one — is that we don't often if ever upgrade the hardware components in our machines. When you consider the labor cost of even a simple upgrade on, say, 2.5K boxes, it rarely makes sense unless the benefits in measurable
end-user productivity, are huge. And it's rarely practical to measure the benefits. And when you do go to the time and trouble to do so rigorously, they usually are disappointingly small.
No inside information, but I would be quite surprised if Apple didn't survey some of its customers with large installed bases of older Mac Pros before proceeding to manufacturing with this radical new design. My guess is they found most of them were running the same hardware configurations they originally had purchased, and that reducing power consumption, limiting heat dissipation and — yes — even minimizing noise were much more important functional requirements than internal expansion or upgrade capability.
Apple, along with OWC and other suppliers, will surely offer memory and flash mass-storage upgrade options. Apple, and possibly some other supplier(s), may offer graphics upgrades for the 2013 product some years from now.
But my advice to anyone who is concerned about drinking the Apple Kool-Aid (and, again, I should point out that I will be ordering a Mac Pro, if not tomorrow then within a couple of weeks when I know what memory upgrades OWC is offering), is buy or, if you have the ability, build a WIntel machine
. You will almost certainly spend less for comparable performance and you will be able to tinker with the hardware as much as you want for as long as you like.