Is the Mac Pro worth the $5,999 price tag for professionals?

Apple's latest Mac Pro comes with some impressive specs, but it may not be worth the price tag. Find out why.

WWDC 2019: Everything Apple announced and what really matters to business TechRepublic's Karen Roby and Bill Detwiler break down the important news from Apple's 2019 WWDC, but more importantly, they discuss why certain applications are important to business users.

Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) kicked off in San Jose on Monday, June 3, beginning with the usual keynote presentation from Apple executives. Hosted by Tim Cook, the keynote had a lot to offer, announcing a slew of new hardware and software updates for Apple users.

SEE: Boost your Mac productivity with these 10 techniques (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

One of the most exciting hardware announcements was the new Mac Pro, a long-awaited update to Apple's flagship desktop computer. The Mac Pro hasn't had any major updates since 2013, and Apple executives had previously alluded to a new version finally coming in 2019.

The new Mac Pro blows the old version out of the water, featuring a redesigned, modular, stainless steel frame with 360-interior access. While the new version does admittedly resemble a cheese grater, many have said it is more aesthetically pleasing than the old "waste bin" look of the 2013 Mac Pro.

The most impressive part, however, is the specs, said Ray Wang, principal analyst and founder of Constellation Research. The entry-level 2019 Mac Pro sports an eight-core Xeon processor, a Radeon Pro 580X graphics card, 32GB of Ram, and 256GB SSD. This powerhouse of a device can also be configured with impressive add-ons and components, based on the user's needs.

However, there is one less enjoyable component of the new Mac Pro: The painful price tag. The entry-level Mac Pro, alone, starts at $5,999—and this is without a monitor or stand. The Pro Display XDR monitor, which does feature a 32'' LCD Retina 6k display and 20 million pixels, costs an additional $4,999. The Pro Stand follows suit, tacking on $999.

Many users are wondering if the new Mac Pro is worth the high price. When doing a cost-benefit analysis of the product, it really depends on what you would use the computer for, according to Wang.

"For creatives, this is the machine. The processing time for video editing and content creation makes it worth it," Wang said. "The ROI in being able to edit 60-75% faster makes it all worth it. Also the options on graphics processing and raw speed and power is impressive."

While designers and programmers would benefit from the processing-time and large monitor of the Mac Pro, basic computer users probably won't experience the same pay off, said Forrester analyst Andrew Hewitt.

"Five to 10 years down the line, 20% of computing tasks will take place on a heavy client machine, while 80% will take place on lighter form factors, such as laptops, mobile devices, wearables, etc.," said Hewitt. "This Mac Pro falls within the 20%. It's not worth the price for consumers with basic computing requirements (even light gaming or music recording), but there will always be a subclass of enterprise workers that will benefit from a machine like this."

The 2019 Mac Pro was made for use cases including video editing, artificial intelligence (AI) processing, music recording, and software design, Hewitt said, but the device isn't necessary for basic uses.

"People initially balked at high price tag for iPhone, and that didn't stop people from buying it," Hewitt added. "This device is a little different because it's not general purpose, but I do see certain enterprise workers having interest in this."

For more, check out TechRepublic's Mac Pro cheat sheet.

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Image: James Martin/CNET