References to Intel's Latest Ice Lake SP Processors in Xcode 13 Beta Hint at Forthcoming Mac Pro Update
New Intel chips appropriate for a refreshed Mac Pro have been spotted in the Xcode 13 beta, and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has confirmed that Apple is indeed preparing an updated version of the Intel-based Mac Pro.
The chip data added to the beta is for Intel's third-generation Xeon Scalable processor, Ice Lake SP, which Intel announced back in April. According to Intel, the chip offers "advanced performance, security, efficiency, and built-in AI acceleration to handle IoT workloads and more powerful AI."
Bloomberg in January said that Apple is developing two versions of the new Mac Pro, one that's a direct successor to the 2019 Mac Pro and one that offers a smaller form factor that's about half the size.
Apple is working to transition its entire Mac lineup to Apple silicon, and the smaller Mac Pro will feature Apple silicon chips, but it appears Apple is planning to keep at least one Intel Mac Pro available for the time being.
Some of the high-end Apple silicon chips that Apple is developing feature 20 or 40 computing cores with 64 or 128 core GPUs, but it is not clear if the earliest versions of Mac Pro chips will be able to compete with Intel's Xeon processors for heavy duty professional workloads.
This Intel-based Mac Pro may be one of the last Intel machines as Apple has already started transitioning the iMac, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and MacBook Air lines to Apple silicon. Apple this year plans to release 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with higher-end "M2" Apple silicon chips, and there's also a larger Apple silicon iMac in development.