Beyond Apple asserting support of the new Mac Pro through a press release for the iMac Pro sale date nearly two years ago, we don’t know much about what Apple’s plans are with the computer. One of the very few things that we do know is that Apple has heard the public outcry for a Mac Pro 2019 and has hinted in early 2017 that it’s working on a ‘modular’ and ‘upgradeable’ Mac Pro – whatever that means.
We also know that this new Mac Pro is coming this year, though we can’t say exactly when it’s going to surface. Apple could potentially release it whenever, much like the iMac 2019, but we’re betting on a WWDC 2019 appearance, as rumors have previously suggested, alongside the much anticipated macOS 10.15 and iOS 13.
However, because Apple is often marches to the beat of its own drum, we could see the Mac Pro 2019 release whenever the tech company feels like putting it out there.
If the new Mac Pro 2019 is going to be modular, like Apple suggests, what will that look like? Will it look like a juiced up HomePod? And, what will be upgradeable? Before we dive into all the limitless speculation, let’s lay out some basics.
Mac Pro 2019 release date
Back in 2017, we expected with near certainty that the new Mac Pro was going to be one of the products Apple had slated to unveil in 2018. Obviously, we were mistaken. It turns out the new Mac Pro has been confirmed for a 2019 release date.
The current Mac Pro computer debuted at the June 2013 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), with a December 2013 final release date. Of course, many purchasers didn’t get their computers until April 2014 on account of backorders.
Before that, the original Mac Pro was revealed to the world at the August 2006 WWDC, getting into the public’s hands within the same month.
Rumors point to a WWDC 2019 announcement, and that would make sense since it’s a professional device, though we’re still not exactly sure what to expect. Either way, WWDC is almost here, so we won’t have to wait long to find out whether or not these rumors hold any water.
If WWDC 2019 comes and goes without any new hardware, much like it did last year, we could see Apple holding a special Mac Pro event, much like its October 2018 Mac event. Or, we could just see Apple release the new Mac Pro under the radar, much like the MacBook Pro or iMac 2019, especially considering that it is a professional computing device with a limited audience.
Mac Pro 2019 price
We have absolutely no Mac Pro 2019 pricing information from neither leaks nor Apple’s own remarks on the device. So, once again we’re left to speculate based on the pricing of previous Mac Pro models. That is, until Apple unveils it at WWDC on June 3 – if it does.
The current Mac Pro, largely unchanged since its 2013 release, called for a steep $2,999 (£2,999, AU$4,899) to start. The only other model available hikes the price up by $1,000, £900 and AU$1,600, respectively, for some slightly beefy component upgrades.
Given how long its been since the previous update to the Mac Pro, it would be unwise for Apple to drive the asking price any higher.
However, if the new Mac Pro’s “modular, upgradeable” nature turns out to be true, that could lead the firm to price the device accordingly, knowing that end users would no longer have to turn to it for upgrades.
Mac Pro 2019 specs
What will be inside the Mac Pro 2019 is, sadly, another unknown, save for a scant few details. For starters, we know that Apple is focused on issuing a Mac Pro with a modular and upgradeable design.
“In addition to the new iMac Pro, Apple is working on a completely redesigned, next-generation Mac Pro architected for pro customers who need the highest performance, high-throughput system in a modular, upgradeable design,” Apple wrote in a December 2017 press release announcing the new iMac Pro, “as well as a new high-end pro display.”
So, we know that Apple is intending to make at least some of the Mac Pro design easy to manage, upgrade and set up in different configurations. If true, the Mac Pro 2019 will have to work with a large variety of off-the-shelf parts – at least ‘off the shelf’ for business pros or IT managers.
Simply put, there wasn’t enough room in the last Mac Pro for storage expansion, and that needs to change in the 2019 model if it was going to be truly upgradeable.
We also know that Apple has a display in the works, presumably one designed to keep up with the performance of the Mac Pro.
As of last September, reports circulated that an 8K (7,680 x 4,320) resolution display was in development at Apple, and that it would compete with the 32-inch Dell UltraSharp monitor. It would come with either 10-bit dithering or native 10-bit colors as well. However, it reportedly won’t be a touchscreen, which isn’t surprising given Apple’s aversion to adding touch controls to the Mac.
The other sliver of information that we have is that the Mac Pro 2019 may launch with a co-processor. We could see Apple going with something like the T1 (which manages the MacBook Pro Touch Bar and Touch ID) and T2 (which manages the iMac Pro hardware security and allows for the automatic ‘Hey Siri’ command). Whichever role it fills, it will offload critical tasks from the Intel processors that will likely be powering the Mac Pro 2019.
How will this manifest inside the Mac Pro for 2019? The most likely scenario is the latter one: implementing the very same T2 chip inside the iMac Pro into this device. That would bring pro-grade security and on-demand Siri to the Mac Pro, the former of which is crucial for gaining traction in office environments.
However, the inclusion of the T2 chip might go against the Mac Pro’s ability to be serviced by users. It’s recently come out that Apple has locked out the iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pro, which both use the T2 chip, from being serviced by anyone other than Apple and its authorized service providers.
AMD’s new Radeon VII graphics card, although marketed to gamers, is out now. We doubt this specific card will make its way into the new Mac Pro, but it is now officially supported on Apple devices. So, we could see AMD supporting the new Mac Pro with a 7nm Vega II graphics card.
What we want to see in Mac Pro 2019
All of these rumors swirling around a potential Mac Pro 2019 release puts us in prime position for a well-crafted wish list. So, here’s what we hope to see Apple upgrade within the Mac Pro for 2019.
More internal expansion
Simply put, there wasn’t enough room in the last Mac Pro for storage expansion, and that has to change in the 2019 model. Words that Apple has used when talking about the Mac Pro, like ‘modular’, make us confident that this will, indeed, be the case. Hot swappable storage bays, anyone?
Back in our Mac Pro review, we criticized Apple for not including a dual-processor option. And, while it’s highly possible that Apple will include its T2 chip for “Hey Siri” functionality, we’re sure there’s a ton of video editors out there who could really use the speedy rendering and encoding power that dual processor options can give them.
Short of including the Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX, a dual processor option would be the best way of getting 32-cores of processing power in the new Mac Pro.
A keyboard and mouse included
The 2013 Mac Pro shipped without any Magic Keyboard or Magic Mouse included. Simply put, we’d like to see this change with the 2019 version. Shipping an Apple computer without proper inputs is like trying to sell a car without the steering wheel.
iOS apps on Mac Pro
Now that it has been bandied about for so long, the idea of iOS apps on a Mac computer has grown on us. We’d love to see our favorite iPhone and iPad apps make their way to the desktop.
After WWDC 2018, though, we now know exactly how Apple is going to handle this. Instead of just opening the App Store on macOS, we’ll be getting a limited selection of key iOS apps ported over. Apple’s macOS 10.14 has access to News, Stocks, Voice Memos and Home, with more eventually coming over in 2019 with the next version. These apps will be redesigned to fit naturally on macOS so that touchscreen isn’t essential.
Images Credit: Apple