Mac Pro will finally get a reboot! (The 3:59, Ep. 204)

Allan Goodman
April 5, 2017

Apple has announced it will release new versions of its iMac desktop computers this year, as well as revealing it is "completely rethinking" the Mac Pro, its most powerful computer.

Apple is sorry for making its Mac Pro so hard to upgrade and will attempt to rectify its mistakes next year by releasing a completely "re-envisioned" model, according to Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of marketing.

"We have big plans for the iMac", the company's senior vice president of worldwide marketing said in during a round table discussion at Apple's Machine Shop hardware prototyping lab. The little cylindrical desktop powerhouse hasn't gotten an update in more than three years, but Apple confirmed that a new one is coming in 2018.

But perhaps most importantly, Apple admitted that its flashy 2013 Mac Pro redesign was a mistake, and executives indicated that Apple intends to better support its professional users in the future.

While a new Mac Pro is in the works, and Apple plans to keep investing in its traditional computer products, it does not plan to introduce any touchscreen Macs, according to Axios.

He did, however, tell Buzzfeed that "You won't see any of these products this year", so those hoping for a full update to their aging Mac Pro still have a long wait.

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The technology giant took the unusual step of pre-announcing new products during a meeting with journalists in the U.S., and also apologised to users of the Mac Pro for not updating the device since it launched in 2013.

Apple's base-model Mac Pro, which previously featured a quad-core Intel Xeon CPU, dual AMD FirePro D300 GPUs, and 12 GB of DDR3 RAM, has been replaced with an upgraded base-model featuring a hexa-core (6-core) Intel Xeon E5 CPU, dual AMD FirePro D500 GPUs, and 16 GB of DDR3 RAM for the same price of $2,999.

"The current Mac Pro, as we've said a few times, was constrained thermally and it restricted our ability to upgrade it", he said. But after the tepid reaction to the latest MacBook Pros from hardcore fans, it seems to have felt the need to declare, months in advance, that it hears them. But the main message was about the Mac Pro: While Apple understands that today's update won't do much to comfort its pro customers, the company wants them to know they're not forgotten. Nvidia and AMD however have persisted in prioritising single GPU performance, leaving the Mac Pro (and many rather disgruntled users) without an upgrade path. And there will be a brand new Apple display to go with it. This is not a new model, not a new design, we're just going to update the configs.

Just as Microsoft has been since Windows 10 was launched, Apple is clearly keen to appear to be a company that listens to user feedback, and acts upon it.

In addition to the new Macs discussed, Federighi said Apple is committed to the Mac mini and that scripting and automation on macOS remain "super important" to Apple.

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