Apple working new Mac Pro models; one half the current size with Apple Silicon

Apple is working on a pair of new Mac Pro desktop computers, including an all-new design powered by Apple Silicon. One model, which will likely use Intel processors, is a direct update to the current Mac Pro and will continue to use the same design as the version launched in 2019, Bloomberg News reports.

Mac Pro, the world’s best pro desktop, and Pro Display XDR, the world’s best pro display
Mac Pro, the world’s best pro desktop, and Pro Display XDR, the world’s best pro display

The second Mac Pro model, however, will use Apple Silicon and be less than half the size of the current Mac Pro (above).

Mark Gurman for Bloomberg News:

The [Apple Silicon Mac Pro] design will feature a mostly aluminum exterior and could invoke nostalgia for the Power Mac G4 Cube, a short-lived smaller version of the Power Mac, an earlier iteration of the Mac Pro.

As part of its revived Mac desktop efforts, Apple has started early development of a lower-priced external monitor to sell alongside the Pro Display XDR. Apple’s current monitor debuted in 2019 and costs $5,000 — before factoring in the $1,000 stand.

The cheaper monitor would feature a screen geared more for consumer than professional use and wouldn’t have the brightness and contrast ratio of the top-tier offering. Apple last launched a consumer-grade monitor called the Thunderbolt Display in 2011 for $999 but discontinued it in 2016.

MacDailyNews Take: Of course, some pro workflows will require Intel processors for awhile longer, but what’ll really be interesting is obviously the new, smaller Mac Pro with new Apple Silicon. It’ll offer a new design and its benchmarks vs. the Intel Mac Pro will be intensely scrutinized. And, finally, Apple will be giving us a monitor “for the rest of us” – belatedly rectifying a sad situation about which we’ve been kvetching about for many years!

Apple should make their own Apple displays… so that other companies’ logos on frankly ugly products that do not match Apple design sensibilities are not in users’ faces all day long.MacDailyNews, January 6, 2017

25 Comments

      1. You’re right of course, miniaturization usually increases the price, though Apple will benevolently keep “the same great price!” while “investing” the savings of using their own silicon on your behalf into 5g modems, non-white scholarships or some other bullsh*t.

    1. I always thought with a complete computer, if you build it smaller it goes up in price due to the miniaturization factor. That is, if you intend to keep the same amount of processing power as the larger model. I could definitely see Apple selling the smaller version for the same price as the larger version and say it’s due to R&D costs. I might be wrong, but that’s how I see it.

      1. … the G4 cube was, in my opinion, pure jobsian.., yes I’d underperformed., a slouch, yet it design it was awesome….elegant simple…. totally Apple 🍎…..

        1. I agree a friend had one and only stopped using it a couple years ago when it finally gave up. It was always style over substance but now that we have Apple silicon I see no reason why that would any longer be the case with by what we have seen only a very modest hit at most as a result of such a form factor.

          One interesting point that might be core to its logic would be if it could by its power to size ratio allow true modular computing to be realised so that those internal very often unused bays can be replaced by external (hopefully designed to match where possible) devices can be added as and where possible without the performance hit seen with Intel Pro Macs. For many pros that flexibility could be a better fit to their work load if the advantages aren’t overrun by some of the inherent disadvantages we see presently.

    2. My first thought exactly!

      Saving money on both physical materials (size), packaging, shipping costs and not paying the Intel tax — indeed the price should come way down.

      Also, a smart future strategy to get more MacPros in more hands reducing the Windows dominance in Pro computers that are much cheaper and some much faster, top of the line MacPro excluded.

      It’s the price and performance that give Windows switchers pause. I know several former Mac diehard pros that went to Windows during the six year Pro drought citing high cost and lower performance of the Trash can.

      Apple’s best shot to make it so…

      1. The problem with Apple hasn’t been the price, but they haven’t been building a variety of desktop computers or monitors that people would buy if available, and yes desktop machines are a niche product these days.

        But there is a need for faster more powerful upgradeable machines for developers and power users that need more speed and I’m not talking about gameplay.

        Servers are another area many need or want to have Apple designed (OS) servers instead of the other, and the same goes for routers.

        1. Disagree it is all about high price with lower performance. Pros want bang for the buck and could not care less about how many hardware industrial design awards drive up the cost.

          Agreed on the server issue Apple half heartedly supported the effort and gave up on XServe a STUPID MOVE. That said, with all their money can not figure this out?…

  1. In terms of function, it sounds like the Trashcan Mac again – which itself was very much reminiscent of the G4 cube. The point of a “pro” computer is that you can put everything inside, instead of having a rat’s nest of cables on your desk. And I agree with Marcus that Apple’s Pro macs are ridiculously overpriced given what you actually get. (Hence the Hacintosh market.)

  2. One more iteration of a Mac Pro with an Intel processor at its center (with maybe an an Apple Silicon M2/M3 as a “co-processor”) makes a lot of sense. Then, by 31 December 2022 Apple can ship a Mac Pro that is 100% Apple Silicon without any Intel CPU at all.

    Intel recently announced production volumes have been reached on the most recent version of its Xeon processors. Apple uses Xeons in its Mac Pro machines. So the question becomes, “Will Apple ship a new Mac Pro with the new Xeon processor within a few weeks of Intel’s announcement, or will Apple follow its lame, old habit of shipping Macs several months, sometimes years, after Intel starts shipping relevant chips?” I hope it’s the former, but all too often it is the latter.

    While having a smaller “Mac Pro mini” makes a lot of sense to many, I suspect, if it becomes a reality, that it will not allow much, if any, customization after it ships to your door. It will likely be no more upgradeable than iMacs or MacBook Pros are. I don’t know how many Mac users who are not satisfied with iMacs will want one. Several people for sure, but a large enough base to justify its development and shipping?

      1. Intel will be around for next 10 years to support industry use. Apple HAS to support it. If Apple is gonna make a Mac Pro they better not Charge such a high price for it. It’s totally ridiculous the price. The M2 Chip better be astounding powerful to blow the M1 away to justify the cost. If people are falling over each other to buy the new macs they are being dumb, Eveeyone has to BUY new Software. It’s an excuse for the Software makers to make money, Apple too. So Like I said, make a hackintosh to save yourself some money, it’ll work fine till the software rotation has completed in 2-3 years, Apple will finally come up with better mac lineups and you’ll save yourself money to afford it when it comes around. then use your “old” pc to play games on.

        1. Would that be a $3500+ Alienware gaming PC or something actually cheaper then. ‘Old’ in speech marks rather than more traditional quotation marks just muddies the clarity of what you are actually adding (if anything). Added to the time cost and effort to make a reliable Hackintosh for most people as costly as the MacPro is its probably not a great alternative.

          I do however see the logic in waiting as long as possible to make the change if you are a serious creative pro (as opposed to the 75% it won’t seriously effect) so that you get the best, flexible and cost effective set up for the buck. And hopefully Apple will go a little easy on the price of those top systems once they arrive to cover the early adopter tax.

  3. What I’d like is a Mac mini Pro, not a Mac Pro mini. The current M1 Mac mini has a lot of empty space inside. Add a new high-end Mac mini option. When the round bottom is opened, it has user accessible sockets for the standard blade SSD. Maybe up to four of them. These are for high-speed internal data storage and can be configured as RAID. It still has the “integrated” (on motherboard) storage for OS and apps. Not every “pro” needs to add huge expansion cards internally. More internal data storage is the crucial need.

  4. I have delisted Apple as a supplier of any of my computer needs, though I love their products, until they stop violating my Terms of Acceptance. Their “violations” have become very egregious and more frequent in the past two weeks, so for each week the violations continue, I will extend the delist of Apple purchases an additional 60 days. I won’t tolerate a company that violates my Terms of Acceptance.

  5. Apple silicon will beat intel but how about AMD threadripper.

    3990X Cinebench R20 – Multi-threaded

    AMD Threadripper 3990X = 24,763
    Intel Xeon W-3175X = 12,975
    Apple M1 = 7760

    Its Interesting that AMD and Apple both use TSMC to fab their silicon. If Apple really wants to take high end pro content creation then they need to top AMD and Nvidia.

    Apple needs to compare their performance to AMD not intel. AMD is years ahead of intel. I do think Apple will be the leader in performance and power usage/heat but in terms of all out performance (majority of pros) AMD is the leader. Apple dose not need to put top priority on small form factor. Most pros will be happier with a larger box as a trade for faster speed.

    1. I agree interesting and intelligent take. That said I read a long article by a processor expert (who was caught out himself by what had been achieved) on the inherent advantages the M1 family has over the the X86 family that goes back to what Arm did on their request for Apple some ten years ago to provide the foundations to enable its scaling up. It also claimed this also explains why its Arm competitors have struggled to compete too for the time being at least.

      The ability to use multiple cores (as one example of Apples designs) efficiently is in their argument seriously greater than what is possible with the x86 instruction set and design where without serious re working throughout loses efficiency exponetially with multiple cores whereas the M1 series inherently can almost endlessly take advantage of large increases in and exploitation of, extra cores to add speed without a barely notable hit on efficiency at all. This is greatly complicated by the legacy requirements of the x86 design too not just the actual design which coming together creates a clusterfuck of issues to solve. Obviously the superior fab of AMD silicon ameliorates a part of that efficiency/heat drag but the inherent design problem still exists. So while it will no doubt take time for Apple to match those fission reactors of chips that Intel/AMD create at the top end (and there is little need to even do so for the most part) the potential to do so is not only there but unless unseen problems arise go well beyond them over time without having to sit them in a fridge or a wind tunnel.

      Now this only one take (even if present indicators support it) but it will be interesting if his evaluation is fully realised as time passes, but the present state of affairs we see with Intel in particular, certainly shows they are having serious set backs in solving the problems involved in improving their processors. The emphasis on low power cores they are presently betting the bank on will only be tampering around the edges from what I read it doesn’t solve the inherent debilitating problem with the design and the ability to change the design is sorely limited as things stand.

    2. You are comparing an Apple M1 with a tiny power/thermal footprint to an AMD Threadripper? Seriously?

      Per their website: “AMD Ryzen™ Threadripper™ processors with up to 280W TDP require the type of robust cooling solutions provided by premium liquid cooling.”

      I believe that Apple will soon field Mx versions with more cores that will provide much more performance than the M1. I am also curious if you can gang 2, 4, 8, or more M1 SoCs into a parallel architecture. Regardless, Apple will provide this performance at much lower TDP.

      Looking forward, I could see server farms using Apple SoCs to greatly reduce operating costs (driven by electricity costs for powering thousands of servers and removing the waste heat).

  6. With all due respect, MDN, Apple never made their own displays. They branded displays made by other companies, such as Sony. Granted, they often demanded superior specs for the Apple-branded versions, but they were designed and produced by monitor manufacturers, not Apple.

    1. Apple is the Architect and the manufacturers are the builder/contractor, Apple curation means better design higher spec, and performance.

      That is what people will pay a higher price for. Not the typical LG or Samsung junk…..

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.