We haven’t seen much in the way of Mac Pro updates or upgrades in a long time. However, nearly a year ago, in April 2017, Apple recognized the public outcry for Mac Pro Support by hinting that it’s working on a ‘modular’ and ‘upgradeable’ Mac Pro.
It doesn’t end there. Apple has actually come out and declared its support for the new Mac Pro in a press release for the iMac Pro sale date back in December. So, a new Mac Pro is going to happen, we know that, we just have to wait until 2019 to get our hands on it. The bigger question, then, is ‘when will we see it?’ Well, Apple is gearing up to refresh its Mac lineup with a new Mac Mini alongside new MacBooks, according to famed Apple analyst Ming Chi Kuo, so we could see it then.
But, given its modular nature, what will it look like? What will be upgradeable? Will the Mac Pro 2019 look like a beefier 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 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, the release of the MacBook Pro 2018 kind of throws all of our expectations off. Apple’s strategy for 2018 seems to be ‘wait until it’s ready and then just release it’. Whether that will extend beyond the 2018 iPad and MacBook Pro remains to be seen, but we could end up waiting until next year to see the new Mac Pro.
However, if Apple is going to show the Mac Pro 2019 off at an event, we may see it at the iPhone reveal event next month. Apple could do a major hardware event where they cover Macs, iPhones and iPads – especially following the news that Apple has become the world’s first trillion dollar company. If so, we could see the Mac Pro 2019 there. We won’t know anything until next month, of course, but we’re hoping to see it there.
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.
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 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?
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 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.
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Gabe Carey has also contributed to this report