Mac Pro (2023) rumors: Everything you need to know

Inside of the 2019 Mac Pro
Mac Pro (2019) (Image credit: Apple)

It's fair to say that the current Intel-based Mac Pro has been outmatched repeatedly by some of the performance characteristics of modern Apple silicon-powered Macs, but that's all likely to change this year. A new machine is set to make the jump away from Intel for good, and it's expected to be a powerhouse, the likes of which we're yet to see.

The Mac Pro (2023) might not get the M2 Extreme processor

Apple M2 processor

Apple's M2 processor (Image credit: Apple)

The move to Apple silicon is one that has long been expected and the Mac Pro is the last Mac to move away from Intel and into something a little more speedy. That'll happen with the next revision, but what chip will we get?

The current Mac Studio is the fastest Mac Apple sells right now and comes with M1 Max and M1 Ultra chips inside. It's highly unlikely that a new Mac Pro will sport those, so the options are either something that will sit above the M1 Ultra or a new chip altogether. That chip would be based on the M2 that was announced during WWDC22, although specifications and naming conventions are anyone's guess at this point.

A recent report by Bloomberg claimed that a number of Macs are being tested, including a Mac Pro codenamed J180. That machine is said to sport the successor to the M1 Ultra, suggesting an M2 Ultra could be the chip to power what will surely be the best Mac Apple has ever made. Expect it to build on the M1 Ultra's 20-core CPU and up to 64-core GPU specs, too. One report from last year has the new Mac Pro offering up to 128 GPU cores and 40 CPU cores, essentially doubling that of the M1 Ultra Mac Studio.

One report by leaker Majin Bu suggests Apple will effectively bond two M1 Ultra chips together, although again, naming is unknown.

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Despite not knowing the name of the potentially new processor for sure, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman believes that it does exist and that it will be called the M2 Extreme. The journalist predicts that Apple has actually had an Apple silicon-based Mac Pro ready but held off on the release in anticipation of the new chip.

"They [Apple]... had an M1 Mac Pro ready to go months ago," said Gurman at the 27:56 minute mark. "But I guess they scrapped that to wait for the M2 'Pro' version," Gurman says he now believes that the new Mac Pro will be announced the end of the year and that it was supposed to be announced at WWDC 22. However, the new Mac Pro won't be released until 2023, along with a new iMac Pro also tipped for next year.

In December 2022, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman started to cast doubt on the idea of the M2 Extreme, saying that "the high-end machine has been held up for a number of reasons, including multiple changes to its features, a significant shift in the company’s plans for high-end processors and a potential relocation of its manufacturing."

By January, 2023, however, Gurman said that the new Mac Pro is only expected to feature the M2 Ultra chip and that Apple has abandoned the idea of a chip even more powerful like the rumored "M2 Extreme."

The Mac Pro (2023) could lose interchangeable RAM

Apple, when changing the Mac Pro over to Apple silicon, may actually remove one of the features the current Mac Pro enjoys: interchangeable RAM.

According to a January 2023 report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, the new Mac Pro will "lack one key feature from the Intel version: user-upgradeable RAM. That's because the memory is tied directly to the M2 Ultra's motherboard. Still, there are two SSD storage slots for graphics, media, and networking cards."

Will we get a redesign with the new Mac Pro (2023)?

Mac Pro mini concept

Mac Pro mini concept (Image credit: Jon Prosser)

We're expecting Apple's new Mac Pro to look largely the same as the one that's currently on sale. While cooling won't need to be quite so aggressive thanks to Apple silicon, expansion is likely to be part of the equation and that will require a tower-like design. That cheesegrater look is probably set for a return, too.

Mark Gurman is one of the leakers confirming this rumor. According to Gurman, Apple will reuse the design of the current generation Mac Pro for the new one. The reporter specifically said that "the new Mac Pro will look identical to the 2019 model."

How much will the Mac Pro (2023) cost?

Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR

Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR (Image credit: Apple)

This is one aspect that we have little information on, but given that the current Mac Pro starts at $5,999, the switch to Apple silicon could see that price fall. Although, on the flip side, Apple will still market this machine at the very top of the lineup and could give it a price to match. The M1 Ultra-powered Mac Studio starts at $3,999, so that should give us an indication of the kind of ballpark figure to expect.

When will the Mac Pro (2023) be released?

While hard information is difficult to come by for obvious reasons, a new Apple silicon-powered Mac Pro is expected to be announced before the end of 2022. There was a slim chance that June's WWDC could see the big announcement, but that's been and gone. One report claimed September as a likely release month, however.

No matter when it's announced, those looking to actually buy one might struggle to do so. We already see various Apple products with long delivery windows with those sporting the most capable chips seeing the longest delivery delays.

In January 2023, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman said that, according to those familiar with the project, Apple may release the new Mac Pro in the spring of 2023. Gurman said that the company is testing the next generation Mac Pro with macOS Ventura 13.3 and that .3 software releases for the Mac usually come out in the spring.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

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