Apple Is Finally Revamping The Mac Pro

Image: Gizmodo

It won't ship until 2018, but if you're one of those people or know someone who has been toiling away with a machine that hasn't received an update since 2013, good things are coming.

In an intriguing briefing with the press, Apple has done two things. Firstly, senior VP of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller basically told a group of journalists that Apple was sorry for not doing anything with the Mac Pro.

The second is their response. Apple will be releasing a new Mac Pro with a modular design that will accommodate the latest generation of GPUs, CPUs a touch more modern than the 22nm Intel Xeon E5-1680 V2 that shipped in 2013, and a new external display. None of these parts will arrive until 2018, although Apple confirmed that it would be updating the Mac Pro's configurations later this year.

The external display won't be a touch screen, which will be of interest to those who were intrigued by Microsoft's Surface Studio. The redesigned Mac Pro will also be walking away from a dual GPU design, which Apple's VP of hardware engineering John Ternus said was limiting for users.

"I think we designed ourselves into a bit of a thermal corner, if you will," Techcrunch, one of the publications invited to the briefing, quoted Ternus as saying. "We designed a system that we thought with the kind of GPUs that at the time we thought we needed, and that we thought we could well serve with a two GPU architecture… that that was the thermal limit we needed, or the thermal capacity we needed. But workloads didn’t materialise to fit that as broadly as we hoped."

One of the pitches made for the Mac Pro was development for heavy 3D applications, virtual reality and GPU-intensive workloads, something the current iteration of the Mac Pro doesn't do well. Daring Fireball noted an Apple executive saying that software developers could be the largest "pro" audience (pro users being those who use a "pro" level application, like software editing, video creation and so forth at least a few times a month), although the Pro was the third most popular device among that audience. On top of that, the split between Mac laptops and Mac desktops was around 80/20, which is a decent figure given the marketing weight and brand loyalty of the Macbook line.

For developers, designers and studios in need of workstations on the level of the Mac Pro, it's good news. Whether the final product will be worthwhile we'll know next year, especially when Australian pricing becomes known. (Here's hoping it at least comes with a keyboard and mouse this time.)


    And now for the price of 7000$ you can have a brand new 2000$ computer.

      A product / consumer experience is so much more than a list of technical specifications.

    Now now, I have been "toiling away" with the same machine since mid-2011; it happens! Haven't updated it at all either... :/ Well apart from having the display card and the hard drive replaced, when both have screwed themselves once each...

    Wow, it's kind of crazy to think I've had the same desktop for six years now (an iMac) and it still runs just as well as it did then :/. I haven't installed Sierra on it though, still on Yosemite

    The external display won't be a touch screen, which will be of interest to those who were intrigued by Microsoft's Surface Studio. The redesigned Mac Pro will also be walking away from a dual GPU design, which Apple's VP of hardware engineering John Ternus said was limiting for users.

    And who's fault was that? Apple seems to be trying bury how they themselves put the limit there.

    Here's the breakdown; the Mac Pro may have had two ATi GPUs but OSX and its drivers were coded to use one for the display and the other for processing via OpenCL.

    It was not possible to do X-Fire (?) because it was not supported in the operating system itself.

    Install Windows with BootCamp though and X-Fire was possible.

    So, sorry Apple. We users don't see it as limited; you simply limited access to hardware a user purchased unless said users buy your competitor's OS.

      We had a handful of macs and were able to get 3 screens going on them. Our contact at the store was super stoked when my boss told him we found some software that would do it as he was facing the same issue. His face dropped when he heard what it was. Windows.

        By handful of Macs, you mean the MacBooks and iMac, right?

        If these are Mac Pros, I envy your pocket book.

        Regardless, OSX (I refuse to call it macOS) used to be a great operating system. The API was feature rich yet light weight that making it possible to stretch the limited hardware further.

        Now, it is slowly devolving into a re-skinned version of iOS when the two should have been separate system with the ability to augment for a greater experience. Not, as we have now, where everything is being dumbed down to fit the iPad.

        Not to get too far off topic but it is the reason I don't use the newer versions of the iWork applications. The newer versions are lacking features because there was no way to make them work on an iPad.

          Yeah, these were not the desktop trash cans, they were laptops. I work in IT and we got these in at work. So 'we' is not my pocket book.

    A friend of mine asked me what to get in a mac pro for photoshop/illustrator for his wife's design business last year. My head asploded when I saw what shit specs they come with. A similarly priced windows PC would have gotten them a system with an 8 core I7, top end quadro card and 5 SSD scratch drives.

      Neither photoshop nor illustrator need even a mid level graphics card, keep that in mind.

        Better CPU and GPU can significantly help when doing larger projects with lot of elements, particularly when ti comes time to render the image. Some files I have are 2-6GB in size and I can't work on those with my Surface Pro and require my desktop if I don't want to stop-start zooming in and out letting it re-render the image each time.

          Yeah CPU definitely, and RAM, but I guess it depends what you're doing with these programs. I'm a graphic designer as opposed to an artist so it's rare that i'd have hundreds of layers at once like a digital painter might. I know I have a 512mb graphics card in my main design computer that never causes issues for me.

    Any studio worth their salt has moved on from macpros a while ago now. They've completely lost a market they had cornered.

    The trash cans are complete shite. A mac mini runs H264 smoother than a full spec can - and dont get me started on the form factor. The old 2010 models are still better in terms of expandability and usability. In addition since 2010 the OS has suffered nothing but bloat - it struggles under industrial strength usage with the finder needing constant rebooting - I'm so pissed with apple and the way they shat on the users who kept them in business during the G3, G4 and G5 years. Too smart-phone for their own good.

    For the professional market, these things are a joke. We've been PC for years now simply because of the price, I won't pay that sort of money for a midspec system, and anyone who makes excuses to do so is simply kidding themselves.

    Been a professional video producer for over 10 years.

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