Apple will release an updated Mac Pro desktop in 2019, and it will be a complete redesign
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It’s official: the long-awaited sequel to Apple’s radical Mac Pro from 2013 will be released sometime in 2019, according to Tom Boger, senior director of Mac Hardware Product Marketing. In a (somewhat) surprising move, Apple will be designing the 2019 Mac Pro from scratch and (even more surprising) will be actively working with outside contractors to receive and act on feedback prior to the official release.
Boger and several other Apple executives held a series of roundtable interviews and demonstrations for select creative professionals, among them a professional photographer by the name of Matthew Panzarino, who wrote of his experience for TechCrunch earlier today. In it, Panzarino described the new direction that Apple is taking with their Pro line of desktop computers. The Cupertino Colossus has formed a new “Pro Workflow Team” dedicated to improving its professionally oriented products, including both hardware and software. To that end, the Pro Workflow Team has hired on outside creative professionals in both full- and part-time consulting positions to get external feedback on these products.
The ultimate goal is to make a well-refined product that will meet the needs of its target audience seamlessly, in true Apple fashion. However, it’s surprising that the normally-insular company is listening to outside criticism; the Apple of the past few years has marched on in a defiant manner, ignoring criticisms like a child plugging their ears. Apple integrated wireless charging into the iPhone line, something that consumers have been requesting for years, only this past fall. The company also came under heavy fire for controversial design decisions, like removing the headphone jack with no real purpose other than “courage” and introducing the highly-contested “notch” design to the mainstream.
However, a new Mac Pro is something that Apple has desperately needed. The last Mac Pro desktop was released five years ago in 2013, and while its design was novel and radical at the time, its internals have aged poorly. This has alienated several legitimate professionals who rely on cutting-edge components to drive their workflows and caused several creatives to grumble in mediocrity at best and jump ship at worst.
This could explain why Apple is appealing to outside consultants. Apple knows that they’ve lost a lucrative market by having very little to offer creative professionals. Music makers, movie editors, and photographers are more than willing to pay premiums for powerful and sleek hardware, but Apple hasn’t had much to offer outside of the MacBook Pro line. In a similar fashion to the iPhone, recent choices for the direction of the portable Pro have been polarizing.
Apple needs a win in the professional space if they want to gain back that lost market share. While smaller creative-driven businesses have been happy to settle for the MacBook Pro, larger studios are chomping at the bit for something new. If anything, the recent success of the iMac Pro shows that there’s a market lining up for beautifully crafted devices that don’t skimp on power.
In another surprising move, the upcoming Mac Pro will have an emphasis on “modularity.” While that term is ill-defined at the moment, it could mean that Apple is returning the Pro line to its former upgradeable roots, which would be very enticing for creative professionals that love to sit on the bleeding edge. However, it could take another direction. As Panzarino wisely points out in his write-up, it could be a shift to external connections, such as eGPUs, via Thunderbolt 3. Apple could even begin to fully integrate its devices; a sound engineer could control the mix via an iPad while recording and rendering the music on his Mac Pro.
Whatever Apple develops, we now have a better time frame for when to expect their next professional-grade system. And, knowing Apple, it’ll be sure to make waves upon its release.