Does Thunderbolt fortell the end of the line for the Mac Pro as we know it?


Xsan integrator Meta Media has an interesting series of posts on its Empowering Creativity blog about what it sees as the future -- or rather the lack of a future -- for Apple's Mac Pro line.

The arrival of the Thunderbolt interface, Meta Media says, will allow Apple to return to its beloved sealed-box model of computer production with no user-serviceable parts inside, just like the original Macintosh. No expansion cards, no hard disk upgrades, just Thunderbolt (aka Light Peak) interfaces to connect ... well, to connect anything you like really.

"The new Mac Pro will probably look something akin to the current Mac Mini, except slightly taller, more powerful, and with Thunderbolt ports," the thinking goes. "In fact, all of us need to grapple with the prospect of a Mac product line without any capability of expansion beyond USB, Firewire and Thunderbolt."

The latest MacBook Pros were the first to sport Thunderbolt connectors, and Meta Media argues that the rest of the Mac lineup will follow. The post points to the arrival of devices such as Promise's SANLink Thunderbolt to dual-port, 4 Gigabit Fiber Channel adapter as heralding this change; the post forecasts that this is just the start.

"This means that at any time now, Apple can pull the plug on the current Mac Pro and not shock an entire industry. Add to that the near-production offerings of Thunderbolt-driven capture devices from AJA, Blackmagic Design, Matrox and MOTU, and we have our new-age video workstation clearly in sight," Meta Media says.

You'll find the blog posts here, here, here and here -- have a read and let us know what you think. Would you be sad to see the Mac Pro range disappear into a giant Mac mini case? Will you be happy just plugging everything into Thunderbolt ports? Let us know in the comments.