Talking to reporters at its headquarters in Cupertino, California, Apple has said it’s working on new iMac models and they will arrive later in 2017. It also noted that the Mac Pro, released at the end of 2013 had run its course, and an update was long overdue.
Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller and senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi were both on hand to provide information on Apple’s desktop Mac line going forward. It’s an interesting move for Apple, pre-announcing the release of new products, but it highlights the fact that these announcements are a long time coming.
In an article on TechCrunch, Schiller said about the Mac Pro:
“If we’ve had a pause in upgrades and updates, we’re sorry for that — what happened with the Mac Pro — and we’re going to come out with something great to replace it.”
Schiller and Federighi acknowledged that pro users of its desktop hardware have been left in the dark regarding what’s on the horizon for the Mac, introducing their relaxed press conference with:
“We’ll talk about what’s going on and frankly be a little more transparent with some of the things we’re doing, some of the places we’re going, because our pro users desire that and we care deeply about them and we’re dedicated to communicating well with them and helping them understand what we’re doing and what we’re up to.”
The Mac Pro is a highly stylized desktop Mac – but Schiller said the device’s “trashcan” aesthetic has made it a victim of its own design, hampering its development. Apple also noted that sales of the Mac Pro across the entire Mac line, including MacBooks, only account for a single percentage figure, which might explain why an update hasn’t surfaced in the last 3+ years.
But Schiller also says it’s the design that makes it hard to upgrade. It’s cylindrical design houses a three-sided chassis, but even when it was launched, questions were raised about its configurability.
He goes on to confirm Apple is working on an upgrade, and an Apple-branded Pro display to go with it. However, it won’t arrive in 2017.
“We think it’s really important to create something great for our pro customers who want a Mac Pro modular system, and that’ll take longer than this year to do.”
But what will arrive, is a refresh to the iMac line. The iMac is the all-in-one desktop solution, incorporating all the internals and screen in one unibody housing.
While it’s not designed to be as powerful as the Mac Pro line, Federighi acknowledged that it’s powerful enough to cover a certain portion of the pro market. As a result, Apple will give this line a spec bump, set for later in 2017.
No further details were given on what that bump will be, but it might tide some users over that find it good enough for their needs while still waiting for a new Mac Pro.
Learn more about iMacs on apple.com.
Mac Pro price drop
Apple also revealed a price drop for the Mac Pro. While an update might be a way off, they are ensuring customers that wish to buy the machine in the interim will get far more for their money.
For $2,999, customers get a 6-core Intel Xeon processor, dual AMD FirePro D500 GPUs and 16GB of memory – a drop of $1,000. While for the previous price of $3,999, users can get an 8-core processor and dual D700 GPUs – previously only a built-to-order option.
It’s interesting to hear Apple talk candidly, particularly around the Mac Pro. It’s worth reading the article on TechCrunch, which quotes Schiller and Federighi extensively. It really gives the impression that Apple is acknowledging that in someways, the Mac Pro failed for a large subset of users and it’s taking its time to reset the project.
This is the first time an update to these lines has been officially confirmed as happening and it looks like the next few years might prove very interesting for Apple’s desktop solutions.
Learn more about the Mac Pro on apple.com.