The New Apple Mac Pro Computer Can Cost More than a Tesla Cybertruck—Is It Worth It?

The new Apple Mac Pro hit the tech news headlines this week for two reasons: undisputed levels of power and an eye-wateringly overwhelming price tag.

The computer, which became available to buy Tuesday, is advertised with a base price of $5,999, but as commentators note, the top configuration will actually set you back over $52,000. And that's before you add the "Pro" monitor or "Pro" stand, which will cost an additional $6,000.

With a top price greater than the base version of the Tesla Cybertruck, which costs $39,900, is the Mac Pro worth it? For its audience, the answer may be yes.

For its part, Apple has been clear about who the device is for. Spoiler: Netflix gazers, casual shoppers and Facebook addicts may not need the one of the world's most powerful graphics cards and 28 CPU cores.

Newsweek subscription offers >

As marketing executive Phil Schiller noted in the June media release debuting the return of the cheese grater-style aesthetic, the powerhouse is designed for those who require "extreme performance, expansion and configurability" from their desktop.

The Tim Cook-led company said those who will benefit from the modular computing beast include users who need to analyse large datasets, run multiple "pro" applications, animate 3D film assets, construct complex 3D environments or have a workflow that demands fast rendering.

Many of the initial reactions to the Mac Pro have been emerging this week from content creators who have been toying with the premium Apple product prior to its full release.

Lewis Hilsenteger, a creator who runs popular YouTube channel Unbox Therapy, released a video on December 10 discussing its pricing, and why it may be shocking to some consumers.

Newsweek subscription offers >

"Once you start getting into the weird 'pro' realm you get some crazy price points... its a smaller volume marketplace and so the margins have to be a little higher," Hilsenteger said.

"The reason Apple takes so much heat for this type of pricing is because people don't perceive Apple in the same framework as other professional types of products, because we are used to Apple as a consumer brand," he added. "So you can't help but filter this as if its another consumer product... it's going to be a small market thing, it's not going to be for everyone."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, social media reactions to the pricing came in thick and fast, with defenders noting it's far from the only pro-level computer to come with a massive cost-of-entry.

"It's easy to hate on Apple, but anyone on the PC side would be reasonable and logical and say 'of course it can get that high when you add every single thing possible and the kitchen sink," said tech content creator M. Brandon Lee, while discussing the Mac Pro in a Twitter thread.

Still, at least at first glance, Apple's pricing gave critics plenty of ammunition for ridicule. Adding wheels to the device costs $400. A monitor stand costs $999. A mount adapter costs $199.

The Mac Pro offers up to a 2.5GHz 28‑core Intel Xeon processor, 4TB storage, 1.5TB of memory and two Radeon Pro Vega II Duo graphics cards. The result? According to one test conducted in a video by Marques Brownlee, it can render video packages in "faster than real time."

For comparison, Brownlee, said the same render test took about 20 minutes on a new MacBook Pro and 11 minutes on an iMac Pro. The Mac Pro took just 4 minutes, 20 seconds. For users who need a machine that is capable of pushing out fast video content, the appeal is obvious.

Apple has been contacted for comment.

At this stage, it's unclear if the Mac Pro will fly off the shelves like Apple's other consumer ranges, the MacBook, iPhone or iPad. Commentators say that's probably missing the point.

"I think it's fair to say that most people would have gasped at the price of the new Mac Pro, but for a small percentage out there, that's a figure that wouldn't make them bat an eyelid," Jordan Ash, a content creator who reviews technology products on YouTube, told Newsweek.

"For the average consumer, it's something way out of reach. However, if you work in a production company or you're an established filmmaker, for example, processing high bitrate video day after day, you're likely to agree that you can't put a price on a fast and reliable workflow.

"No matter how many 'you could make a PC for X cheaper' comments we see, Apple has built the Mac into an absolute workhorse," Ash said. "I think for the right kind of person, this would be an amazing investment into their workflow, and that's coming from a PC guy."

Apple Mac Pro
Apple's new Mac Pro sits on display in the showroom during Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California on June 3, 2019. BRITTANY HOSEA-SMALL/AFP/Getty
The New Apple Mac Pro Computer Can Cost More than a Tesla Cybertruck—Is It Worth It? | Tech & Science