At Monday’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple turned from the standard software and operating system to introduce new products, including the iMac Pro. Dubbed the fastest Mac ever made, the new all-in-one desktop looks very cool, but what does this mean for the Mac Pro. Is it done and over with? Will there be a new generation of the best desktop system for pro users?
On one hand, the iMac Pro looks awesome. Baseline models will have an 8-core processor, but can be maxed out at 18-cores. With Apple’s Turbo Boost, speeds of 4.5GHz can be reached. Add in Radeon’s Pro Vega graphics card and the iPhone maker boasts that the iMac Pro is three times faster than previous iMac GPUs. The graphics card comes with either 8GB of memory or 16GB and offers 11 teraflops single precision performance. And RAM capabilities have been doubled. The new pro all-in-one can take up to 128GB. With four USB 3.0 ports, most users will find that their current external hard drives, printers, card readers, and other devices will plug right in, but the iMac Pro also boasts four USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports. This allows for the iMac Pro to run an additional 2 5K displays (the built in display is a 27″ 5K beauty) and two external drive arrays. There is also a 10Gb Ethernet connection.
On the other hand, it is an all-in-one computer. Upgrading is not really an option without buying a new computer. One thing about the Mac Pros, almost everything was upgradable. So as new video cards came out, or memory dropped in price, or a new hard drive was needed, like the Windows based desktop, it was easy to upgrade and keep going for years and years. For years, many professionals looked at all-in-one computers as jokes, not offering what they really needed, and not giving them the option to make it what they needed.
Right now, the iMac Pro looks like it is more than anyone could ever ask for. It is powerful enough to be a main computer for any pro for years. It has enough power for virtual reality (VR), in fact Industrial Light and Magic is already creating virtual worlds using the pro iMac. And game giant Valve is bringing the Steam VR SDK to Apple. The iMac Pro has more than enough power for VR creation and for VR gaming. Editing video should also be seamless for those shooting in full 4K, including HDR. For photographers, this machine could be a holy grail. Multiple layers with multiple large files open, this machine should burn through photos like their is no tomorrow.
This is not a machine for everyone. This is more than enough computing power for any professional, but for the non-pro, someone who is a part time photographer, or just needs a computer for family videos and paying bills, doing homework, one of the standard iMacs is more than enough. Many will find the standard 4k or 5k iMacs will be enough for everything they want to do. The iMac Pro is a hardcore computer and not for just an average user.
But what does this mean for the Mac Pro? Is it going to become extinct. Hopefully not, but only time will tell. An upgrade with USB-C ports and better graphics (four to six monitors would be nice) and a faster processor could be in the works. A while back, Apple CEO Tim Cook stated that they are not forgetting about the Mac desktop series. So, hopefully, in the near future not only the Mac Pro, but also the Mac Mini will be reintroduced with up-to-date Apple touches, like Thunderbolt 3 and much more powerful. Time will tell, and it could be as soon as this fall that the world finds out the Mac Pro’s fate.
By Cletus Dillwood
Photo Courtesy Apple