It took Apple six years, but it’s finally here – a modular Mac Pro that strikes the perfect balance between towers of yore and maligned “trash can.” At the annual developers’ conference on June 3rd, 2019, Apple announced the insanely powerful new Mac Pro.
I pity the unfaithful who gave up on the long-neglected trash can (2013 Mac Pro) and bought the upgraded iMac. Well, repent now sinners because Apple has finally created a Mac Pro, worthy of its name, even though it looks like a cheese grater. The new Mac and Cheese, if I may! Believe it or not, the current design harkens back to the design used on the previous generations’ Mac Pro. And yes, to answer your question, Apple’s top machine once looked like a huge ass cheese grater.
But, no one can argue that new Mac Pro is nothing short of a beast. And it addresses many of its predecessor’s drawbacks, such as lack of expandability, poor thermal performance, and the trash can lewk!
WWDC keynote presenters usually shy away from talking about the specs, but Apple peppered this year’s keynote with enough stats and numbers. The event touted the details of graphics cards and brightness nits in the monitor indicating that Apple took notes from its professional users. Of course, they would. These are precisely the kind of details the pro crowd gives a hoot about.
And as Mac Pro’s arrival was supposed to be worth the delay, Apple went a little cray cray when it came to specs. Trust us when we say some of them are totally insane.
The Mac Pro is what you’d expect an extremely powerful, work it like you mean it machine targeted for hardcore professionals working with music and videos.
Apple’s new money minting toy comes with an Intel Xeon processor with up to 28 cores and up to 1.5 terabytes of RAM – yup 1.5 terabytes of RAM (Told you it is a work machine). Graphics on this thing are up to Radeon Pro Vega II Duo. And according to Apple it’s the world’s most powerful graphics card (and Apple’s offering your Mac Pro two of those btw) and will lend you enough power to play three simultaneous streams of 8K videos.
Apple is also touting a new hardware acceleration card called the “Afterburner.” It’s the magic behind the Mac Pro’s ability to decode those three simultaneous streams of 8K ProRes RAW footage or 12 streams of 4K ProRes RAW videos in real time. With the graphics card handling the video playback, all the primary CPU cores will handle creative effects and other processing tasks.
It’s powered by a 1.4kW power supply, which yes might earn a gasp (as it did from the audience) since it’s Apple. But honestly, it isn’t anywhere near gasp-worthy by today’s standards.
As far as the expansion goes, the Mac Pro is packed with eight PCIe expansion slots, twice more than the previous iteration. In terms of ports, the Mac Pro has two USB-C ports and two USB-A ports right there on the front.
Yes, I know cook went all out and crazy. But hey, at least no one will crib about how the Mac Pro is not powerful enough. And as if specs weren’t enough to show off the powerful hardware, Apple’s presenter loaded up a thousand audio tracks into Logic Pro. And? The computer didn’t even flinch.
All About the Display
Even the best of the video editing systems are nothing without an equally impressive display. And Apple knew that. Hence, the unveiling of a new Pro Display XDR, a 32-inch LCD monitor with a Retina 6K monitor, true 10-bit color with over 1 billion colors, 1,000 nits of full-screen brightness and a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. Phew! In case you aren’t an expert in monitors, the last contrast ratio puts the new hardware in the class of what people call “reference displays” aka the displays that are used in high- end production shops. These displays are immensely expensive, so much so that a Pro Display XDR’s $4,999 (INR 346297) price tag would probably sound like a fire sale to them. The monitor comes with a special “nano-texture” anti-reflective coating.
On the design front, the Pro Display XDR has tiny, almost non-existent, 9mm bezels. And, if you love attaching and detaching and rotating your monitor into portrait mode, you wouldn’t mind going broke by an extra $999 for the Pro stand.
Since we are on the topic of going broke, here’s the price list.
The new Mac Pro starts at $5,999 (INR 415557), with more ordinary specs like an octa-core Intel Xeon processor, 32GB of RAM, a Radeon Pro 580X graphics chip and a 256GB SSD. The new Pro Display XDR starts at $4,999 (INR 346297), and the Pro Stand costs $999 (INR 69190).
Now, while the new hardware may be worth every penny they sure are a lot of pennies!
Let’s Talk Software!
Where will the new macOS go from here? Sailing, apparently.
Apple unveiled that the new macOS (10.15) will be called as Catalina. Yup, Catalina, the scenic island.
And as predicted, the new macOS 10.15 isn’t a reinvention of the 18-year-old OS. It’s still the same old familiar macOS that we love with a few upgrades and augments, thanks to the iPad apps. So, get ready for iPad apps to flood your macOS and hopefully revitalize Apple’s aging desktop computing platform.
Oh, and this is the version that breaks up the software formerly known as iTunes and divides them into Music, Podcast, and TV. Although I am still rummaging for details about how it’ll all work, Apple certainly appears to be giving farewell to iTunes by dissecting it into three apps!
As for other new features, macOS Catalina will be able to use iPads as secondary displays thanks to Sidecar, Voice Control that lets you command your OS and thus, PC with…well… your voice. And if you’re worried about your privacy, heave a sigh of relief. The voice processing happens on your Mac, instead of on the cloud.
Surprisingly, Apple didn’t say much about bringing over iOS apps on Mac, especially when it was a significant addition in last year’s macOS Mojave. But then again we’ve still got plenty of time before macOS 10.15 hits the market. Maybe Apple will add some more features to the OS before its release. Fingers crossed!