The company may have taken its time in getting around to addressing the existing computer’s shortcomings, but the new model, which will be launched “later this year,” announced Apple at its Worldwide Developers Conference, should hit the spot among the creative industries and power users -- where earlier versions of the PC helped to define everything from desktop publishing to video editing -- for the next ten years.
There had been a growing suspicion that, since the company’s newfound iPad-and-iPhone-driven fame, Apple had started to forget about its true fans, the Mac Pro users who had stuck by the company through thick and thin. But when Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller offered to give the assembled audience at Apple's WWDC a sneak peek of what the next Mac Pro will offer, the crowd quite simply went wild as Schiller revealed the desktop’s stunning design -- a hollow cylinder that looks like an aluminium jet turbine or the innards from a Dyson vacuum cleaner -- and reeled off a list of specs that sounded more like lottery jackpot totals, so vast were the numbers in terms of teraflops and outputs.
With next-generation Intel Xeon processors with up to 12 cores, it will feature the fastest ECC memory ever seen in a Mac with 60 GBps bandwidth. The Pro also features dual workstation GPUs powered by AMD FirePro. That will allow up to two and a half times faster graphics than the last generation, capable of driving three ultra-high-definition (4K) resolution displays at the same time.
Internal storage will be PCIe flash, with 1.25GBps reads, 1.0GBps writes -- in other words, the fastest-performing memory money can buy. The system will also feature Thunderbolt 2 support with 20 Gbps throughput, six devices per port, and backward compatibility with Thunderbolt 1.
But perhaps the coolest feature is its size. Despite all of that power, which Apple believes will keep it as the professional tool of choice for another decade, it is one eighth the size of the tower it replaces. And, where the old Pro had handles for lifting and turning for port access, the new one has a motion sensor so as it spins around, the ports automatically illuminate.
Not so long ago, the Mac Pro was the only desktop computing choice for people working in the creative industries. Whether graphic design, video editing or computer animation, its dual six-core processors and water-cooled system made light work of any task.
But with three years (a high-tech lifetime) since the last update of any sort, Apple’s natives had started to get restless, bombarding its CEO with emails, launching Facebook protest pages and openly courting Dell and HP as alternatives. Adding to the concern was the fact that the Mac Pro was withdrawn from sale in Europe altogether in March as it no longer meets EU regulations regarding electrical appliances -– a sorry state of affairs for a product from a company that prides itself on innovation and at being at the shock wave ahead of the cutting edge.
Therefore, the reveal on Monday, as part of the company’s keynote address at its 24th annual Worldwide Developers Conference, should come as a huge relief and as a clear signal that Apple has not deserted its biggest and longest-suffering fans. But, more importantly, the computer, which will be ready in time for Christmas and will be manufactured in the USA, underlines that Apple still knows how to change the game. As Schiller said when the computer was revealed:"Can't innovate any more my ass!"