Apple upgrades Mac Pros, signals radical new Modular Mac Pros next year with Apple Displays

Apple has told Daring Fireball’s John Gruber that it is continuing the Mac Pro line, and will be releasing a ‘completely rethought’ model with a modular design intended to make the machine more upgradable.

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. 

The company is also updating the existing Mac Pro today – and will be making new Apple Displays to go with next year’s model …

The company admitted that its 2013 model approach hasn’t been as upgradable in practice as it had hoped.

At some point you came to the conclusion that the 2013 Mac Pro concept was fundamentally flawed. It was tightly integrated internally, which allowed for some very nice features: it was small and beautiful (a pro machine that demanded placement on your desk, not under your desk) and it could run whisper quietly. But that tight integration made it hard to update regularly. The idea that expansion could be handled almost entirely by external Thunderbolt peripherals sounded good on paper, but hasn’t panned out in practice. And the GPU design was a bad prediction. Apple bet on a dual-GPU design (multiple smaller GPUs, with “pro”-level performance coming from parallel processing) but the industry has gone entirely in the other direction (machines with one big GPU).

Apple said that as the new machine won’t be available until next year, it is today upgrading the existing model, albeit in modest form.

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)


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