Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR Launched Three Years Ago Today
The current Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR launched three years ago today, marking Apple's return to a modular tower design for its flagship desktop Mac, as well as the company's re-entry into the external display market.
In April 2018, Apple uncharacteristically confirmed that a redesigned Mac Pro would be released in 2019 to replace the controversial "trashcan" model from 2013. The new machine was officially unveiled at WWDC 2019 alongside the Pro Display XDR, Apple's first new display since 2011's Thunderbolt display. The Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR finally launched on December 10 of that year.
The 2019 Mac Pro features a prominent lattice pattern originally designed for the Power Mac G4 Cube in 2000, and the internals can be easily accessed by sliding off the casing. The machine contains eight PCIe slots for expansion and was praised for its modularity and repairability. It can be purchased in a rack mount configuration or with wheels for an additional $400.
The Mac Pro includes three impeller fans to allow it to run at peak performance, and supports up to 1.5TB of memory, two AMD Radeon Pro GPUs, and Intel Xeon chips with up to 28 cores. It can also be configured with Apple's custom Afterburner card for accelerating ProRes. The Pro Display XDR shares the Mac Pro's lattice design and offers a high-resolution, 32-inch 6K panel that can replace a reference monitor.
The Mac Pro is priced starting at $5,999, but can reach almost $53,000 with configuration options. The Pro Display XDR starts at $4,999, but can go up to around $7,200 with options.
Three years after launch, the Mac Pro is one of the last Intel-based Mac models still on sale and the only remaining Mac product line with no Apple silicon chip options. An all-new model that finally brings Apple silicon to the company's top-tier Mac aimed professionals has now been anticipated for over two years. At its "Peek Performance" event earlier this year, Apple even directly teased the launch of the Apple silicon Mac Pro, saying "that's for another day."
Previously, reports about a smaller Mac Pro model placed somewhere between the Mac mini and the Mac Pro made it difficult to know what to expect from the future of the high-end Mac Pro line, but it is now clear many of these rumors related to the Mac Studio, somewhat clarifying what can be expected from the next-generation Mac Pro.
Multiple reports from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman about the Apple silicon Mac Pro's chip options and specifications provide a fairly straightforward picture of what to expect from the new flagship professional Mac. According to Gurman, users will be able to configure the new Mac Pro with "M2 Ultra" and "M2 Extreme" chip options.
Yet beyond its basic specifications, little is currently known about the device's design, ports, performance, and potential for modularity and customization, in real terms. Apple is expected to introduce the Apple silicon Mac Pro sometime next year, and it could come alongside a "Pro" version of the Studio Display with a mini-LED panel and support for ProMotion.