There hasn’t been much information about a new Mac Pro for quite a while. However, more than a year ago, Apple recognized the public outcry for a new Mac Pro by hinting that it’s working on a ‘modular’ and ‘upgradeable’ Mac Pro.
It doesn’t stop there – Apple has declared support of the Mac Pro through a press release for the iMac Pro sale date back nearly two years ago. So, a new Mac Pro is certainly in the works, and it looks like we’re going to see it this year.
So, when can we expect to see the new Mac Pro this year? Right now, we’d put our money on a mid-year launch, but we can see Apple holding a special event pretty much whenever – at least that’s been its M.O. throughout 2018.
If the new Mac Pro is going to be modular like Apple suggests, what will that look like? What will be upgradeable? Will it look like a juiced up HomePod? Before we dive into all the boundless speculation, let’s lay out some basics.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Apple’s first dedicated desktop since 2013
- When is it out? Early 2019 at the earliest most likely
- What will it cost? Likely as much as – if not more than – current models
Mac Pro 2019 release date
Now, while the new Mac Pro used to be the one Apple product we actually knew with absolute certainty could have been released in 2018, we were mistaken. It turns out the new Mac Pro has been confirmed for a 2019 release date.
The current Mac Pro computer debuted at the June 2013 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), with a December 2013 final release date. Of course, many purchasers didn’t get their computers until April 2014 on account of backorders.
Before that, the original Mac Pro was revealed to the world during the August 2006 WWDC, getting into the public’s hands within the same month.
However, after Apple’s roller coaster of a year in 2018, particularly with the MacBook Pro’s release, we don’t know what to expect. Apple’s strategy last year seemed to be ‘wait until it’s ready and then put it out there’. Whether that will extend to 2019 remains to be seen, but we’re sure we’ll see the Mac Pro 2019 soon.
If Apple is planning to reveal the new Mac Pro ahead of its release, we could see a special Mac Pro event, like the October 30 Mac event a couple months ago. Or, we could see Apple repeat its approach with the new MacBook Pro, and release the new Mac Pro under the radar – as it is a professional product.
Mac Pro 2019 price
We have absolutely no Mac Pro 2019 pricing information from neither leaks nor Apple’s own remarks on the device. So, once again we’re left to speculate based on the pricing of previous Mac Pro models.
The current Mac Pro, largely unchanged since its 2013 release, calls for a whopping $2,999, £2,999 or AU$4,899 to start. The only other model available hikes the price up by $1,000, £900 and AU$1,600, respectively, for some beefy component upgrades.
Given how long its been since the previous update to the Mac Pro, it would be unwise for Apple to drive the asking price any higher.
However, if the new Mac Pro’s ‘modular, upgradeable’ nature turns out to be true, that could lead the firm to price the device accordingly, knowing that end users would no longer have to turn to it for upgrades.
Mac Pro 2019 specs
What will be inside the computer is, sadly, another unknown regarding the Mac Pro for 2019, save for a scant few details. For starters, we know that Apple is focused on issuing a Mac Pro with a modular and upgradeable design.
“In addition to the new iMac Pro, Apple is working on a completely redesigned, next-generation Mac Pro architected for pro customers who need the highest performance, high-throughput system in a modular, upgradeable design,” Apple wrote in a December 2017 press release announcing the new iMac Pro, “as well as a new high-end pro display.”
So, we know that Apple is intending to make at least some of the Mac Pro design easy to manage, upgrade and set up in different configurations. If true, the Mac Pro 2019 will have to work with a large variety of off-the-shelf parts – at least ‘off the shelf’ for business pros or IT managers.
Simply put, there wasn’t enough room in the last Mac Pro for storage expansion, and that needs to change in the 2019 model.
We also know that Apple has a display in the works, presumably one that was designed with the performance of the Mac Pro in mind.
As of last September, reports circulated that an 8K (7,680 x 4,320) resolution display was in the works at Apple, and that it would compete with the 32-inch Dell UltraSharp monitor that we recently reviewed. It would come with either 10-bit dithering or native 10-bit colors as well, but not a touchscreen, which isn’t surprising given Apple’s aversion to adding touch to the Mac.
The other sliver of information that we have is that the Mac Pro 2019 may launch with a co-processor, which would likely hint at the Mac Pro 2019 being an early part of Apple’s rumored Kalamata initiative, which will see the Cupertino giant replacing all Intel silicon with its own by 2020. The fact that we won’t see it in 2018 on top of Apple hiring a bunch of ex-Intel engineers to work on Apple chips gives this theory more credence.
As far as the Co-processors go, we could see something like the T1 (which manages the MacBook Pro Touch Bar and Touch ID) and T2 (which manages the iMac Pro hardware security and allows for the automatic ‘Hey Siri’ command). Whichever role it fills, it will offload critical tasks from the Intel processors that will likely be inside the Mac Pro 2019.
How will this manifest inside the Mac Pro for 2019? The most likely scenario is the latter one: implementing the very same T2 chip inside the iMac Pro into this device. That would bring pro-grade security and on-demand Siri to the Mac Pro, the former of which is crucial for getting traction in office environments.
However, the inclusion of the T2 chip might go against the Mac Pro’s ability to be serviced by users. It’s recently come out that Apple has locked out the iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pro, which both use the T2 chip, from being serviced by anyone other than Apple and its authorized service providers.
AMD has announced its new Radeon VII graphics card, aimed at gamers, at CES 2019. And, while we doubt this specific card will make its way into the new Mac Pro, we wouldn’t be surprised if AMD supported the Mac Pro with a new 7nm Vega II GPU.
What we want to see in Mac Pro 2019
All of these rumors swirling around a potential Mac Pro 2019 release puts us in prime position for a well-crafted wishlist. So, here’s what we hope to see Apple upgrade within the Mac Pro for 2019.
More internal expansion
Simply put, there wasn’t enough room in the last Mac Pro for storage expansion, and that needs to change in the 2019 model. Good thing, then, that words like ‘modular’ make us confident that this will, indeed, be the case. Hot swappable storage bays, anyone?
Back in our Mac Pro review, we criticized Apple for not including a dual-processor option. And, while we’re sure that Apple will include its T2 chip for “Hey Siri” functionality, we’re sure there are a ton of video editors out there that could really use the speedy rendering and encoding power that dual processor options can afford. Short of including the Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX, a dual processor option would be the best way of getting 32-cores of processing power in the new Mac Pro.
A keyboard and mouse included
The 2013 Mac Pro shipped without any Magic Keyboard or Magic Mouse included. Simply put, we’d like to see this change with the 2019 version. Shipping an Apple computer without proper inputs is like trying to sell a car without the steering wheel.
iOS apps on Mac Pro
Now that it has been bandied about for so long, the idea of iOS apps on a Mac computer has grown on us. We’d love to see our favorite iPhone and iPad apps make their way to the desktop.
After WWDC 2018, though, we now know exactly how Apple is going to handle this. Instead of just opening the App Store on macOS, we’ll be getting a limited selection of key iOS apps ported over. MacOS 10.14 will have access to News, Stocks, Voice Memos and Home, with more eventually coming over in 2019. These apps will be redesigned to feel natural on macOS – so, no touchscreen necessary.
- These are the best Macs that 2018 has to offer so far
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this report