Apple is finally refreshing the Mac Pro – here’s everything we know so far

Mac Pro 5
Once upon a time, Apple made a professional-grade desktop called the Mac Pro, which looks like a high-tech waste basket yet delivered world-class performance. Then, Apple decided not to speak of it again.

Until now. It’s been more than three years since Apple refreshed, updated, or even addressed the Mac Pro. Thankfully for Mac Pro die-hards, its modular pro-grade PC is slated for a big upgrade in 2018, or 2019.

What we know

Discussed as part of a conversation about Apple’s desktop computers, Apple’s engineering chief Craig Federighi and vice president Phil Schiller gave the Mac Pro some much needed attention.

“We are in the process of what we call completely rethinking the Mac Pro. We’re working on it. We have a team working hard on it right now, and we want to architect it so that we can keep it fresh with regular improvements, and we’re committed to making it our highest-end, high-throughput desktop system, designed for our demanding pro customers,” Schiller said, speaking with John Gruber, Ina Fried, and a few other tech journalists in a small, roundtable meeting.

The discussion continued along those lines, with Federighi and Schiller admitting the current Mac Pro was a bit problematic, if not exactly a “mistake.” To that end, it looks like the biggest change we’ll see from the new Mac Pro will be an entirely new chassis, with an emphasis on modular components.

So, why the delay? Well, it looks like the current Mac Pro wasn’t really designed to handle the kind of heat put out by its powerful internal components. Federighi mentioned during the discussion that Apple engineers didn’t really anticipate just how much heat the upgraded internals would put off.

That heat issue was the chief culprit behind Apple’s decision to ignore the Mac Pro for more than three years, rather than dole out incremental upgrades over time. It’s a problem Federighi hopes the new Mac Pro will address.

“I think we designed ourselves into a bit of a thermal corner, if you will,” Federighi said. “The current Mac Pro, as we’ve said a few times, was constrained thermally, and it restricted our ability to upgrade it,” Schiller added.

What we don’t know

Though Apple did speak of the Mac Pro, it didn’t provide any indication about the hardware that would be found inside. That’s not surprising, given that it won’t be released for some time.

Still, it’s not hard to guess the general equipment. The Mac Pro will likely include an Intel processor of the Xeon variety, alongside up to 64GB of EEC RAM, and hard drive options up to a NVMe solid state drive.

The biggest question is whether Apple will choose to pick AMD or Nvidia graphics. The latter’s hardware is currently more efficient, but Apple has worked more closely with AMD in recent years. There’s also a new GPU architecture, Vega, slated to arrive from AMD in 2017.

When can you get it?

It’s hard to say. According to MacRumors, development on the new Mac Pro started just weeks before the roundtable interview earlier this month. During that interview, Schiller stated only that customers wouldn’t see the new Mac Pro “this year.” It’s possible we could see it hit store shelves in 2018, but given how early on in development it is, we might be waiting a bit longer.


Amazon takes $300 off Intel Core i7 Surface Pro 6 in latest sale

If you're looking for savings on the Surface Pro 6, Amazon is the place to shop. It currently is discounting the Intel Core i7 variant of Microsoft's latest 2-in-1 by $300, though no Type Cover is included.

Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro: Which console is more powerful?

Far from cooling down, the console wars are only getting more intense. We compare Microsoft's Xbox One X to Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro to help you decide which premium console is right for you.

Microsoft Surface Pro 6: Everything you need to know

The Surface Pro 6 is officially here, though it's not as big of a redesign as you might have hoped. With a new coat of black paint and an 8th-gen processor, this is a small update. If you've been eyeing a Surface Pro, you may want to wait…

Snatch Apple’s 2017 15-inch MacBook Pro for up to $1,200 off at B&H

The latest deal at B&H is offering up 2017 15-inch Apple MacBook Pros, in space gray and silver, with Intel Core i7 quad-core CPUs, 16GB of RAM, and AMD Radeon Pro 560 GPUs with up to 2TB of SSD storage.

Latest Facebook bug exposed up to 6.8 million users’ private photos

An API bug recently left an impact on Facebook users. Though the issue has since been fixed, some of the apps on the platform had a wrongful access to consumers photos for 12 days between September 13 and September 25. 

You can now get a Surface Laptop 2 for $800 at the Microsoft Store

Along with deals on other variants, starting configurations of Microsoft's Surface Laptop 2 are now going for $800 online at its retail store, cutting $200 from its usual $1,000 starting price. 

You’ll soon be able to scribble all over PDFs on your Chromebook

Chrome OS users may soon be able to doodle all over their PDF documents with the possible addition of a new feature in Chrome OS' PDF viewer. The annotation feature is expected to allow users to hand draw or write over their documents.

Need a monitor for professional photo-editing? These are the very best

Looking for the best monitor for photo editing? You'll need to factor in brightness, color accuracy, color gamut support and more. Fortunately, we've rounded up the best ones for you, to help you make an educated purchase.

HDR monitors are beginning to have an impact. Here are the best you can buy

HDR isn't the most common of PC monitor features and is often charged at a premium, but the list of available options is growing. These are the best HDR monitors you can buy right now.
Virtual Reality

Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Prices drop, but our favorite stays the same

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the two big names in the virtual reality arena, but most people can only afford one. Our comparison tells you which is best when you pit the Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive.

Microsoft’s Windows 95 throwback was just an ugly sweater giveaway

Microsoft's "softwear" announcement wasn't what we had hoped for. Thursday's announcement was not the new line of wearable tech or SkiFree monster sweater we wished for. But it did deliver the 90s nostalgia we wanted.
Home Theater

Confused about LED vs. LCD TVs? Here's everything you need to know

Our LED vs. LCD TV buying guide explains why these two common types of displays are fundamentally connected, how they differ, what to look for in buying an LED TV, and what's on the horizon for TVs.

Canada’s winters inspired a startup to warm homes with cryptomining heat waste

Cryptomining may be the key to untold riches and the future of currency, but it’s also an environmental nightmare. Heatmine, thinks it has the answer, but it could mean bolting a mining rig onto every home and business in the country.

The best MacBook deals for December 2018

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.