Stop me if you’ve heard this one before — Apple says a new Mac Pro is coming. It won’t be here this year. But when it does arrive, Apple promises, it will be completely redesigned, it will be totally geared to pro workflows, and it will be very, very cool.
That’s the word, once again, from Apple HQ in Cupertino, where a handful of tech journalists were briefed yesterday about the company’s plans for pro users. As it did way back in 2012, the company acknowledged that existing Mac Pro machines are not keeping up with the demands of pro workflow and promised a new Mac Pro design is in the works, while specifiying that it’s not coming anytime soon.
For now, the company announced stopgap performance upgrades to the base configuration of the existing three-year-old Mac Pro design. If you need Mac Pros now, that’ll help. But if you can possibly wait, you certainly should hold out for the new revision, which we can hope to see in 2018.
For the complete details, check-out the first-hand reporting from the outlets who were in the room: Axios, BuzzFeed, Daring Fireball, Mashable, and TechCrunch. If you just want the summary, here are the key points from those articles.
- Don’t look for a new Mac Pro until 2018. Apple Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller said redesigning the Mac Pro will “take longer than this year to do.” That probably means 2018 — but Apple avoided specifying a date.
- The new Mac Pro will have a new pro display to go with it. Apple didn’t specify anything about the display’s resolution or other capabilities, but it’s safe to say 4K will be the baseline for any pro display released in 2018 — with a 5K or even-higher-resolution display probably just as likely from Apple.
- The current Mac Pro design is just too hot. Apple banked on a dual-GPU configuration built around a central heat sink as a way of dissipating the heat, but couldn’t accommodate more powerful graphics cards in the design. Revamping the current Mac Pro to handle larger single GPUs would have created a heat profile that the architecture couldn’t handle.
- Pro users have more MacBook Pros and iMacs than Mac Pros. Apple said the Mac Pro is third among pro users, making up less than 10 percent of all Mac sales. Overall, 80 percent of all Macs sold are notebooks, and only 20 percent are desktop systems. (This suggests that the Mac Pro makes up much less than 10 percent of all Mac sales.)
- As the Mac Pro stagnated, the iMac became the desktop priority. Apple saw the iMac as a priority in order to meet the needs of pro users who didn’t quite need the power of a full-on Mac Pro to handle their workflow. In fact, new iMacs will be coming out later this year in configurations aimed at pros.
- Apple is sorry. Four of the five stories specifically quote Schiller as using the S-word to describe its failure to satisfy customers who were waiting for an updated Mac Pro.