In a recent Q&A session with reporters, Apple said that it was 'rethinking the Mac Pro,' and announced that it would be bringing another display to market, along with a high-powered iMac.
In a recent meeting with a group of reporters in Cupertino, CA, Apple executives admitted that they had taken the wrong direction with the 2013 Mac Pro model and promised a new modular Mac Pro system, a new external display, and a new iMac model geared toward professional users.
Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, noted that some 15% of Mac customers use "pro" apps multiple times during a given week. However, only a "single digit percentage" of Mac customers are Mac Pro customers, Schiller said, according to a report from TechCrunch, which was present at the meeting.
As such, Schiller said that Apple is "'completely rethinking' the Mac Pro." The new Mac pro will be a modular system (addressing one of the biggest complaints with the 2013 model), and it will be available alongside a new external pro display as well. According to Schiller, as quoted by TechCrunch, the display will not be a touch screen, and the new Mac Pro won't be available until after 2017.
Apple's vice president of hardware engineering, John Ternus, pointed out that the dual GPU architecture worked well for certain tasks and workflows, but it wasn't broad enough to fit the needs of all pro users. So, Apple will be rebuilding the Mac Pro from the ground up to be more highly configurable and to fit more needs.
Since the new model will take some time to make it to market, Apple is bumping up the configurations of the current model at the same price point. Now, the $2,999 model will come with a 6-core processor and dual GPUs. But, the $3,999 model that offers an 8-core processor with dual GPUs is listed as "currently unavailable."
Another Apple desktop mentioned was the iMac. Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, said that the company has seen some pro users migrating to iMacs, as they fit their specific needs. To appeal to those users, Apple will be releasing new iMac models later in 2017 with improved performance for pro users.
Apple rarely, if ever, lets the public in on its plans for new products. This announcement was especially interesting, as it had Apple leaders doing something that many tech companies tend to avoid: Admitting that they were wrong.
Still, the renewed focus on the desktop market seems to clarify that, even in the mobile-centric world, Apple still sees some value in the Mac. "The Mac has an important, long future at Apple, that Apple cares deeply about the Mac, we have every intention to keep going and investing in the Mac," Schiller said.
The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers
- Apple has announced that it will be introducing a new, modular Mac Pro system that will be available sometime next year, alongside a new external pro display.
- Apple is also revamping its iMac line, with a new, pro-level iMac to be debuted later in 2017.
- The announcement solidifies Apple's investment in the Mac, despite the continued growth of the mobile market.
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