Every Apple user – professional users specifically – has known for a long time the situation with Apple’s most powerful Mac, the Mac Pro, had become entirely untenable. After years of utter silence on the matter, the company has finally opened up today. John Gruber, after a meeting with several Apple executive and three other members of the press:
Apple is currently hard at work on a “completely rethought” Mac Pro, with a modular design that can accommodate high-end CPUs and big honking hot-running GPUs, and which should make it easier for Apple to update with new components on a regular basis. They’re also working on Apple-branded pro displays to go with them.
I also have not-so-great news:
These next-gen Mac Pros and pro displays “will not ship this year”. (I hope that means “next year”, but all Apple said was “not this year”.) In the meantime, Apple is today releasing meager speed-bump updates to the existing Mac Pros. The $2999 model goes from 4 Xeon CPU cores to 6, and from dual AMD G300 GPUs to dual G500 GPUs. The $3999 model goes from 6 CPU cores to 8, and from dual D500 GPUs to dual D800 GPUs. Nothing else is changing, including the ports. No USB-C, no Thunderbolt 3 (and so no support for the LG UltraFine 5K display).
During the meeting, Apple almost-but-not-quite flat-out apologised for the silence and complete lack of updates over the past three years, almost calling the current Mac Pro a mistake, a miscalculation. Apple’s Phil Schiller:
We’re not going to get into exactly what stage we’re in, just that we told the team to take the time to do something really great. To do something that can be supported for a long time with customers with updates and upgrades throughout the years. We’ll take the time it takes to do that. The current Mac Pro, as we’ve said a few times, was constrained thermally and it restricted our ability to upgrade it. And for that, we’re sorry to disappoint customers who wanted that, and we’ve asked the team to go and re-architect and design something great for the future that those Mac Pro customers who want more expandability, more upgradability in the future. It’ll meet more of those needs.
I can’t stress how out-of-character this almost-apology and peek into the future Mac Pro roadmap really are. After more than three years of silence, Apple didn’t really have much of a choice, especially now that we know a successor to the Mac Pro is at least a year away.
Be sure to read Gruber’s entire article – it’s well worth it.