Most of the fuss at today's big Apple announcement concerned the company's new iPad tablets (a much bigger improvement than the iPhone 5s, IMHO). But I was more interested in the news regarding Apple only remaining desktop computer apart from the iMac -- the super-high-powered and super-expensive Mac Pro.
Apple revealed that the new device will start at a cool $3,000 (OK, $2,999) when it ships in December. That's a lot of moolah for a machine in a declining category that pundits keep saying doesn't really matter anymore.
A home in the enterprise?
The device is clearly aimed at moviemakers and other creative professionals working with huge audio and video files, for example. But you can bet that plenty of corporate power users will be lusting after it as well. And not just because of the cool design, either.
The thing is one powerful computer, even if it's not yet entirely clear how to harness that power for enterprise applications. Despite that gap, and despite the hefty price tag, acquiring machines like this for select corporate users is actually a good idea for enterprises.
There are some device-specific reasons for this -- it's quiet, which makes life better for everyone in the office environment; it's power efficient; it looks great; and it's made in the U.S. -- but that's not really my point. In fact, the Mac Pro's industrial-strength specs aren't really the point either, though many of the numbers associated with this machine are fairly mind-boggling for a desktop: 7GHz quad core processing, 12GB DRAM, 20Gbps Thunderbolt 2 throughput, 528Gbps total bandwidth and up to 7 teraflops, support for three 4K displays, etc.
People cost more than computers
What I'm really getting at is the fact that equipping your best, smartest, most innovative, and most productive workers with top-of-the-line technology is almost always a good idea. $3,000 may seem like a lot of money for a computer -- because it is -- but it's nothing compared to the value of making a $250,000-a-year rising-star knowledge worker even a smidge more productive. Not to mention keeping her happy so you don't have to find an equally awesome replacement when she bolts because she doesn't feel appreciated.
And that's only the personal side of the equation. The other half is the fact that giving smart people the hottest technology has proven to be the best way to encourage them to come up with innovative new solutions and best practices to dael with existing problems, and to discover new ways to tackle opportunities that may not have even presented themselves yet.
Yeah, I sound like a cheerleader, but like most people in this business, I believe in the power of technology. But it's hard to stay positive if you're stuck on an ancient desktop running Windows XP. Computing power is always a good thing to have, and smart people will always figure new and productive things to do with it. There's no future in cheaping out on technology for key workers.