It’s been several years since we’ve seen any kind of considerable upgrade or update to Apple’s Mac Pro. However, almost a year ago, Apple acknowledged the outcry for support of the Mac Pro by teasing that it’s working on an ‘upgradeable’ and ‘modular’ Mac Pro for 2019.
Apple then supported this statement further with a press release for the new iMac Pro sale date in December 2017. So, we know that a Mac Pro is in active development, but unfortunately we won’t see it until 2019.
Still, this information raises more questions than answers – like what will the new Mac Pro look like, given its modular nature? What will you be able to upgrade? Will it look like a beefed-up HomePod?
Before we dive into these details over the next year or so, we need to lay out the 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 2018 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.
Therefore, it’s possible for the Mac Pro to be teased at WWDC 2018 in June. When the product will release to the public, however, is anyone’s guess, but we do know that Apple is going to make its fans wait until early 2019 at the earliest.
If the Mac Pro is a no-show at WWDC, the next likely time it would appear would be in October or November, to make room for the unavoidable September iPhone launch.
Mac Pro 2018 price
We have absolutely no Mac Pro 2018 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 2018 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.”
With that, we know that Apple intends to make at least some of the new Mac Pro design easy to manage, upgrade and set up in different orientations. If this is the case, this computer will have to work with a large variety of off-the-shelf parts – at least ‘off-the-shelf’ for business pros or IT managers. (Could the Mac Pro inadvertently be Apple’s first mining computer?)
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 (7680 x 4320) 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 would not be touchscreen, despite the likely possibility that iOS apps are on their way to Mac.
The other sliver information we know is that this Mac Pro could be one of the three Mac computers expected to launch this year with one of Apple’s new T series co-processors inside.
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) before them, these will likely offload key tasks from the Intel processors that will likely be inside the 2019 Mac Pro models.
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.
Beyond this, it’s difficult to forecast much of anything hardware-wise that will be found in the Mac Pro 2019, especially when factoring in conflicting reports that Apple won’t make any major changes to its Macs in 2018.
What we want to see in Mac Pro 2018
All of these rumors swirling around a potential Mac Pro 2018 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?
Apple was criticized in our Mac Pro review for not offering a dual-processor option. Surely, plenty of video editors and other media creators would relish the opportunity for twice as fast rendering and encoding power. A CPU with 16 cores is nice, but 32 cores is nicer.
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 2018 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. However, Apple needs to figure out how this will work on an Apple device without a touchscreen much less a trackpad.
- These are the best Macs that 2018 has to offer so far
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this report