Apple offers sneak peek of new Mac Pro, made in the USA

Apple offers sneak peek of new Mac Pro, made in the USA

"Can't innovate any more, my ass," was Phil Schiller's comment after introducing the new Mac Pro on a video at the WWDC keynote stage.

The Mac Pro has been completely reinvented - taking up one-eighth the volume of its milled aluminum predecessor, inside a tiny black cylinder. The new machine, due out later this year, features new Intel Xeon hardware with up to 12-core configurations. It utilizes a "central thermal core" and ECC memory that's twice as fast as before. It eschews internal hard disk drives for SSD that use PCIe - the fastest SSD drives Apple has ever put in a Mac and ten times faster than any Mac Pro hard drive.

The Mac Pro will also support Thunderbolt 2 - it includes six Thunderbolt 2 ports, USB 3.0, two Gigabit Ethernet ports and HDMI out as well. In fact, all expansion is external - no more PCIe slots for internal expansion. What's more, it uses dual AMD FirePro GPUs capable of driving up to three 4K monitors at a time.

Last year Tim Cook said that Apple would assemble a new Mac in the USA, and it looks like the Mac Pro is the one. Apple announced the new Mac Pro will be built here.

Phil Schiller says that WWDC attendees will get another sneak peek of the new Mac Pro at a special session tomorrow, where Pixar animators are expected to show off how the machine is helping them create new movie animations.

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Peter Cohen

Mac Managing Editor of iMore and weekend Apple Product Professional at a local independent Apple reseller. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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Reader comments

Apple offers sneak peek of new Mac Pro, made in the USA


cylinder MacPro is a flash back to the early iMac era with those clear Harmon Kardon Mac Soundstick speakers with the roundish Subwoofer

Very disappointed by the looks, and expansion only by cables. Now you have to have a desktop covered by various external drives, and tons of powercords. Love the smaller size though.

I prefer my cheese grater MacPro. The inside of the cheese grater MacPro is the most beautifully designed piece of engineering I've ever bought. The outside is OK, but the inside is a Masterpiece.

True, but it's a step more than most.

It gets hard to really figure out though, and most people get fooled. Like, the Tacoma (Toyota) being the most American vehicle, once everything is actually taken into accunt... yet a lot of die-hard 'buy American' folks drive around in vehicles that aren't nearly as American as some of the 'import' models.

Agreed. It is immensely better for it to show: "Made in the USA" versus "Assembled in the USA." How does one know for sure that 100% of ALL the components that will compose the redesigned MacPro will be engineered / designed, manufactured and finally built / assembled in house in the United States of America?

This cylinder piece of crap is going to make customers keep their current Mac Pros quite a bit longer. If Apple's goal was to increase iMac and Mac Mini sales, they've achieved it by making this. Reminds me of that Cube that didn't sell very well. Lack of expansion, lack of storage, but hey, it looks cool and lights up when you plug things in. The mojo most definitely left Apple when Jobs passed away...

At least Apple had mojo. You appear to have never had it nor does it appear like you know the industries that would need a Mac pro.

PCIe SSD is huge. You cannot get that performance in an iMac or a mini.

36 daisychainable Thunderbolt devices and you haven't touched a USB 3 port it awesome.

Dual Workstation level GPU

If you think internal expansion is key then you clearly have been asleep during the last decade as direct attached storage gave way to SAN and fast NAS devices. From a HA and collaborative standpoint external mass storage has been the way to go for a while now. Welcome to today.

The problem isn't so much what is possible, as it is what is realistically possible. PCs and Hackintoshes have had all this stuff for some time (though in far less cool, bigger rectangular cases). So, now we take an already expensive Mac Pro, and push all the external stuff out where it will cost many times more to make functional. Meanwhile, the PC guy just tosses in a card or two, hooks up an eSATA cable, and away they go. It's going to be hard for many pros to justify a nifty case design for several times the cost.

But, yes, it comes down to what 'Pro' means and what industry. Need a really fast FileMaker server? This probably won't be as good in the server room. Audio or video pro? PCIe cards, if needed will be too expensive to use. 3D or CAD? Depends on if your willing to be stuck with an old GPU after a couple of years, or pay tons to go external. Pro needing super fast server-based storage? Apple already shot their foot off on that one. Pro graphics designer or architect? They might love it. Pro-some-other-industry that just wants to have a cool, fast desktop? They will probably love it too.

I just think that when a lot of people think Pro, they are thinking if some of the high end media applications, for which this isn't the best way to head. It's unclear if Apple just doesn't care about these folks, or just is using a much more generic version if Pro. If pro just means someone who needs more computing power than an iMac, and works professionally and has some extra cash on hand... then it's spot-on.

You've always been able to roll your own Workstation at your own risk. Supermicro has made a nice living from other server/workstation motherboards and more. I think the DIY group is deluding themselves if they think they're going to build a system even remotely close to the new Mac Pro. OCZ's PCI Express SSD 1.2TB drive is 3499 dollars. We don't know pricing yet on the Mac Pro but it's doubtful to me that a substantially cheaper system can be built that comes anywhere close to the size that the MP offers with the cooling and power.

As for PCI Express cards. Pretty much fading out. If you're a hardware engineer do you really want to design your hardware around a platform (desktop PC) that was usurped by laptops in total sales years ago? Thunderbolt was created so that small devices like laptops can easily leverage very fast external devices. Many Pro need to be portable now and stuffing PCI Express cards in a desktop box isn't going to cut it.

Look at all the groundbreaking devices of recent note. Avid's Venue replacement in the S3L, Blackmagic Designs Cinema camera, Universal Audio's Apollo. All can be connected via a simple cable. No cards. It's where the smart money is going in design.

I don't mean exact same machine and specs, but similar enough in capability. My web site, for example, is hosted on a (several years old), quad Xeon with gobs of RAM, SSD main drive with eSATA based RAID, etc. Any such system with newer components is going to hold its own against the new Mac Pro. There is nothing really big here apart from the case design.

My beef is that IF a pro depends on various hardware THEY ALREADY HAVE, it will be super expensive to add to the new Mac Pro. And, even if they are buying new, it's going to cost a lot more to add what is missing from the old models (if needed), as well as find TB based hardware compared to throwing a card in.

I HOPE that you're right about the direction of things (cable vs card). Quantities need to rise to bring pricing down. And, the whole market needs to move that direction, not just Apple. Similar things were said about FireWire.

the very epitome of form over function. If pro users were still wondering if apple catered to them anymore, this should be the answer. that said, it is a beautiful piece of engineering and design.

Where is it missing in function?
Faster GPU - check
Modern wireless tech - check
Thunderbolt - check
Fast storage - check

The new Mac Pro looks like the ideal Pro computer when taken from the context of a real Professional that needs cutting edge performance.

The GPU seems to be the current big concern. If one can be added externally without compromise, than absolutely, this is a big hit.

Thunderbolt 2 is based on PCI Express 2.0. While 20GBps is very fast throughput it may make it infeasible to leverage the fastest of GPU. I suspect the next major iteration of Thunderbolt [3] will be roughly 40-50GBps and be fast enough for current external GPU.

That's another issue... current vs future. Currently, TB2 might be minimally fast, but by that time, other things will probably require more. like one of my friends said... I've been using PCIe3 for over a year now. And, that's probably in his far less expensive hackintosh.

I should have added.... price no object. One of the big problems here, is that putting all the stuff externally is super-expensive. It's one thing if the Mac is $3500 and the PC is $3000. It's quite another if the PC is $3500 and the Mac is $9000. Pros won't pay that much for a nice looking machine on their desk (if it looks nice with all the external boxes and cables).

It's a beautiful object, but it may very well be the first Mac tower I *won't* want to replace my current (2010) model with. The features it adds (and those it left behind) make it much more of a workstation for people who do lots more processor-intensive tasks than I ever have, and much less of a box that I could add to internally over time, to extend its useful life.

Looks like my next desktop might be an iMac after all.