Some might argue that Apple has left behind Pro Tools and other professional users a long time ago when they dropped the 'cheesegrater' Mac Pro 5,1, but with their pursuit of power saving features and the disabling of under-the-hood options, together with a change in hardware choices, is Apple making life hard for Pro Tools users and other audio professionals.
The remodelling of the Mac Pro form factor from a tower with pci-e slots, space for hard drives etc to a unit with no card space, no internal hard drives options and very little user configuration options, is surely a significant nail in the coffin for professional users.
Then take a look at the changes in the Mac OS that Russ highlighted in his article Pro Tools 12 - Yosemite And El Capitan Graphics Performance Compared And Our Advice and our discussions in Podcast 216, where our advice for Pro Tools users is NOT to go to the current OS El Capitan but to use Yosemite.
The desire for convergence of OS and iOS makes power saving king in a list of priorities, sometimes to the determent of other processes needed by more power hungry applications. Security is also way up the list too locking out users from implementing either basic preferences or workarounds to improve performance. Both are admirable and essential aims in a world that is acutely aware of limited resources and security threats.
Added together these two priorities in the OS make Macs a harder option for the average person wanting to maximise performance.
Software is one side of the coin and hardware the other. It seems that Apple are leaving behind the computer options that make the most sense to us. The new Mac Pro hasn't been updated since its launch in 2013. Moving onto the Mac Mini, it is a real shame that Apple discontinued the Mac Mini Quad core i7 server as that was a very cost effective and powerful solution for Pro Tools users. The iMac has some powerful options and was updated around 6 months ago, but with an integral monitor this isn't the most flexible Mac for Pro Tools users.
Now it may be that there are updates just around the corner for some of these older Macs, but when you take into consideration these other factors, it doesn't make me feel very optimistic.
So it pains me to say this, as a firm Apple user (even fanboy) who doesn't have a Windows device in the house, that it really looks as if on their current trajectory, Apple are making it harder and harder for the professional who uses applications like Pro Tools.
To continue to work and have a viable and efficient system we are going to have to use older hardware like Mac Pro cheese graters and Mac Mini servers, running older versions of the OS, all of which is getting harder to come by. For example, if you didn't buy Yosemite from the App Store, you cannot get it now. Apple only stocks the current OS in the App Store. If you did buy Yosemite then you are OK as you will be able to download it from the App Store.
What do you think? What are your solutions for running Pro Tools on a Mac platform? Do share your thoughts and views in the comments below...