Apple's most controversial Mac design is still causing debate

For a company famous for its product design chops, Apple has dropped a surprising number of clangers over the last decade. From a mouse that can only be charged upside down to a Pencil that requires a dongle to charge, the company's 'it just works' philosophy has been tested lately – but perhaps never more so than in 2013.

The 'trashcan' Mac Pro proved so controversial that Apple offered up a somewhat uncharacteristic apology a few years later, admitting that its lack of upgradability was a huge flaw that prompted an entire rethink of the Mac lineup. But on its 9 year anniversary, are fans coming round to the 2013 Mac Pro? (For the latest and greatest, check out the best Mac Studio deals

Mac Pro

The 'trashcan' in all its glory (Image credit: Apple)

MacRumors recently marked the 9th birthday of the controversial design, remembering how the 'trashcan' "was a device that was unable to adapt to changing hardware trends," thanks to its lack of internal slots for upgrades. And even Apple didn't seem to know what to do with it, with the machine languishing without an update for over 6 years – until it was entirely redesigned.

Mac Pro

The 2019 Mac Pro looks very, very different (Image credit: Apple)

But many seem to have softened their stance on the 2013 model. With the benefit of hindsight, fans are appreciating that despite the hardware limitations, it was a pretty awesome design. "I never understood the “trash can” design criticism. This remains Apple’s most iconic Mac Pro design," one users tweets, while another adds, "I love this iconic thing from the day I bought it. Extremely silent and still powerful after all these years."

But many have also noted that the advent of the Mac Studio this year has put things into a little more perspective: was that the device Apple was trying to create back in 2013? That is, a hugely powerful desktop, but one that sits between the iMac and Mac Pro in terms of power? As one user tweets, "This was the Mac Studio Before the Mac Studio. The big mistake was to market it as a replacement for the Mac Pro since it had way less possibility for expansion. I guess they have learned their mistake, but I wouldn't mind this design in the current Studio."

A new Mac Studio sits on a desktop, wired up to a monitor.

Was the trashcan a precursor to today's Mac Studio? (Image credit: Future)

Of course, nostalgia is a powerful thing – it's easy to appreciate an iconic design when the hardware itself is long out of date. But unlike the trashcan Mac Pro, we have a feeling some of today's Apple products won't enjoy the same reappraisal in 9 years' time. (We're looking at you, Magic Mouse 2 and Apple Pencil dongle.)

Read more:

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.