Mac ProApple is said to be mulling over the future of its longstanding Mac Pro desktop line. Due to the advent of Apple's new Thunderbolt connectivity standard, the once superior flexibility and architecture of the Mac Pro is being cannibalised by notebook, iMac and Mac mini popularity. Even with Intel's new Sandy Bridge processors hitting early next year, it may not be enough to convince Apple exes to keep moving forward with Mac Pro updates.

With no refreshes since mid-2010, sales of the high-end towers are said to be slumping so substantially that the line is no longer a profitable operation for the Cupertino-based company, according to AppleInsider. During their latest quarterly earnings call, CFO Peter Oppenheimer revealed that Apple's notebooks made up 74% of computer sales, with the iMac making a respectable showing among desktops.

Because Apple's notebook and desktop refreshes contain Apple's Thunderbolt standard, consumers have the option for faster external storage, support for multiple displays and the ability to connect a PCI Express slot houaing, a feature the Mac Pro line was popular for.

Apple's current iMac and Mac mini offerings, while unable to compete spec-for-spec with a Mac Pro, are becoming more than capable machines for mass market use. Throw in the incredible success of the iPad (tablet sales outnumber all Mac sales combined), it's no wonder the high-end market is shrinking like it is.

A possible solution for Apple would be to offer a beefed up iMac and Mac mini to perform at Mac Pro-like levels. This would not only save the company from having to supply and maintain their tower line, but allow them to focus more prominently on their friendlier, more popular desktop lineup.

As technology moves to smaller, thinner and more portable, it's only a matter of time before the tower desktop market – for all companies, not just Apple – disappears completely. The Mac Pro had a good run, but it seems the powerful beast is going to be discontinued in favor of it's smaller brothers.

Would you miss the Mac Pro line if these rumors prove to be true?


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