With all of the FCP X stuff going on, people seem to have lost faith in Apple's ability or desire to make the next Mac Pros good and "pro".
Umm... here's why I think they won't go low-end. They'll be damn good. And the 2012 Ivy Bridge ones will be good too.
2K IPADS: If the next iPad really is 2048x1536 resolution as rumored... Apple's going to want to make a machine that prosumer-level folks can use to make 2K resolution movies for it on FCP X without breaking a sweat. Sure, us pros can make 2K stuff now with low-end hardware and software - but that's because we do clever manual steps, caching, have fancy RAID cards, etc. But the Mac Pro is gonna have to be fast enough for the average fruit moron to get fluid 2K output EASILY- which means we can likely push it to 4K if we're clever :)
TALKING OF 4K: All of those high-res icons in Lion, plus the fact that FCP X is targeted towards output straight from the gfx card... don't you think that fits in well with a very high-res display for a Mac Pro?
THUNDERBOLT: Up till now, a huge weakness of Mac Pros has been lack of expansion. Thunderbolt really helps fix this. The fact that high-end iMacs had 2 Thunderbolt ports is extremely encouraging.
GREATER GPU EMPHASIS: Do you really think Apple has spent all of this time on OpenCL, FCP X, etc... and isn't planning to allow some half-decent gfx cards on it? Sure, previous Mac Pro graphics cards have been mostly pathetic - but these are good signs.
TRADITION OF VALUE (RELATIVE TO OTHER WORKSTATIONS): Historically, when they're released, they've been good value vs the PC workstations. Sure PC desktops beat them for price/performance... but the expensive Dell and HP workstations get beaten too!
THE MAIN CPUS ARE STILL GOING TO BE FAST: Sandy Bridge is damn fast and Ivy Bridge will be even better. No way Apple's not going to put the best Intel has in there.
Back in 2007 folks criticized me because I said that the folks screaming for 4K onlines on a Mac were being unrealistic. But now it's 2011. Personally I might skip this generation - I'm in the "writing / storyboarding / working my ass off to raise funds" stage of work right now. But at the very least, come 2012 I am getting an Ivy Bridge Mac Pro. And I damn well will make something good in 4K in 3D, 48fps. On my desktop :)
I'm not sure what I'll edit it in (likely Avid but honestly - whichever editing package copies the best features from all of the other ones wins :). Not sure what I'll be doing the effects on (Nuke - or my old favorite After Effects if they suddenly fix their problems). I'm pretty sure I'll be grading it in Resolve though and doing sound in Pro Tools. And pretty sure I'll be using a Mac Pro.
What do you guys think?
Of course, might still use some cheap PCs with gaming GPUs for 3D rendering. Plus I'm watching to see if nVidia can really build that "ARM plus CUDA supercomputer-on-a-chip" thing they're working on. But I don't see anything beating a Mac Pro as a general purpose post workhorse for a while...
Of course quite a lot of this is thanks to Resolve. If they make a PC version of Resolve, then it'd be quite possible to move.