by Jim Lynch

Apple spills the beans about a new Mac Pro, iMac Pro and pro displays

Apr 04, 2017
Computers and PeripheralsConsumer ElectronicsMacBook

A new and redesigned Mac Pro is on the way from Apple. The company also noted that an iMac Pro and Apple-branded pro displays are in the works.

These have been grim days for fans of the Mac, Apple has not updated the Mac Pro in almost four years. The Mac mini has also languished for almost three years, while the iMac hasn’t been updated in almost two years.

But all that might be about to change, according to a report on the popular Apple blog Daring Fireball:

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).

But more good news, too:

Apple has “great” new iMacs in the pipeline, slated for release “this year”, including configurations specifically targeted at large segments of the pro market.

More at Daring Fireball

All of this is fantastic news for Mac users. I have to admit that I was shocked when I saw the report on Daring Fireball. It was far, far more than I had hoped for given Apple’s taciturn silence about the Mac Pro in recent years.

I think the company finally realized that something had to be done, given the outpouring of anger and disgust on so many sites about the Mac Pro. Numerous comments and posts have been made by folks saying they were either abandoning the Mac outright or were close to doing so in the near future.

Apple’s meeting with Gruber and other writers should go a long way toward calming the company’s Mac customers down and should reassure them that Apple still cares about the Mac. The news about pro displays is also very welcome indeed!

Of course it would be much better if a redesigned Mac Pro, pro displays, and new iMacs were already shipping, but let’s take what we can get from this and be as happy as possible.

Whither the Mac mini?

The Daring Fireball post talked at length about the Mac Pro and iMac, but there was just one tidbit about the Mac mini:

Near the end, John Paczkowski had the presence of mind to ask about the Mac Mini, which hadn’t been mentioned at all until that point. Schiller: “On that I’ll say the Mac Mini is an important product in our lineup and we weren’t bringing it up because it’s more of a mix of consumer with some pro use. … The Mac Mini remains a product in our lineup, but nothing more to say about it today.”

I have to admit that I’m somewhat disappointed that the Mac mini didn’t get more discussion. But it looks like Apple is at least acknowledging that the Mac mini has an important spot in its product offerings.

I would have felt better though if Apple had confirmed that new Mac minis are on the way. But I guess we’ll have to take what we can get, keep our fingers crossed and hope that we get a fantastic new Mac mini at some point in the near future.

Mac users can smile again

I’m so glad that Apple finally acknowledged the problems with the Mac Pro and reconfirmed its commitment to the Mac in general. It feels like the company is ready to…dare I say it?…MAKE THE MAC GREAT AGAIN.

It must have been hard for Apple to do it this way though, the company usually keeps everything under wraps until an official release announcement. But I think Apple’s management team has been feeling the pressure from angry Mac users, and did the right thing by releasing this information about new Macs.

Although I’m currently happy with my 5K iMac, I am very much looking forward to hearing what the new iMacs will offer in terms of hardware changes. I am hoping that Apple finally dumps the mobile video cards and offers a desktop class video card in an iMac Pro.

We’ll have to wait and see, but it looks like Apple has finally gotten off its rear end and decided to get moving on improving its Mac product offerings.

What people are saying about Apple’s Mac news

The news about a new Mac Pro, iMac Pro, and Apple pro displays hit the MacRumors forum and folks there shared their thoughts in a long thread. I’ll leave you with this selection of comments from the discussion:

Sfwalter: “Now Apple this is courage. You like to be very secretive. This must have been hard to swallow. Telling your users (and competitors) about future plans. ”

Fsmbp: “It is very odd for them to ‘announce’ this but I guess it had to do with growing backlash and lack of a ‘roadmap’. It is refreshing to have them announce this…I’m sure it may slightly dip current sales but that will be offset by their goodwill.”

Phonzoxd: “Wow this is a huge middle finger to those who bought the current Mac Pro. To see it only get 1 iteration before its scrapped for another design.”

Kazmac: “Now this is “courage” they can be proud of, 1) admitting that :apple: made a machine which did not meet the needs of the community, 2) and more importantly the mention they are redesigning the Mac Pro and a display to go with it, but these will take time.

Excellent news.”

Snipper: “So Apple waited 3 years before giving thought to a serious Mac Pro update and now it’s going to take another year, so 4 years for an update? I’ve waited long enough for the Mac Pro 7,1. I’m in the middle of investigating / picking parts for my Hackintosh project at half the price or less. And I’m not going to wait for another year.”

Wowereit: “Think they really forgot that Mac mini still exists.”

Porco: “Really quite encouraging news.

The sad part is that if they had asked like… anyone… in 2011-2012 who used a Mac Pro, they could have told them that a tiny, albeit beautifully engineered computer you couldn’t tinker with at all was not what typical MP users really wanted. But Apple will be Apple. Just so happy about this news. Best Mac news for a long time IMHO, for multiple reasons.”

iMcLovin: “Wow, apple being pressured to tell whats coming in the future, thats quite shocking news in itself. Guess they must have felt the pressure of customers disatisfaction. Anyway, it is good new nonetheless. No point playing the silent game with professional hardware… at least when you never update it.”

Wowereit: “The Mac Pro never was about sales. It was about strengthening the Apple ecosystem and getting content creators and developers onto their platform.

They’ve probably made the announcement to prevent people from switching. Pro customers and corporations put lots of work into their networking, corporate integration etc. Once they are gone, they won’t come back easily. Instead of leaving, some or even most will wait what Apple is going to release before abandoning the platform. ”

Shaunp: “What would serve Apple well here is to actually have a product road map for pro customers, for those of us that use our computers to make money. We don’t need to know all the details as we understand that something has to be kept back for competitive reasons, but we would like to know in advance whether we should invest in new kit or not. We can’t run a business effectively when we are guessing whether or not the platform we are using will be supported in future.

Not having a roadmap is the quickest way to get users to jump to commodity hardware – we like to know where we stand. This announcement goes some way towards this, but Apple need a bit of a culture change and need to start publishing this stuff in advance.”

More at the MacRumors Forum

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