At its March 2022 event, Apple confirmed that a new Apple silicon Mac Pro was in the works, in an extremely rare show of future insight from the company. But a new leak from a top insider has revealed that it could lack some of the major customization features that made its predecessor great.
In March last year, Apple, normally completely hush on its future plans and products, revealed that it had one more product to go, the Mac Pro, in its Apple silicon transition, which was supposed to be completed by the end of 2022.
We've since seen some pretty stunning new Macs including the recent new M2 Mac mini and M2 MacBook Pro for 2023, but the Mac Pro is yet to grace the stage of an Apple keynote, or even the newsroom by way of a press release. In a tweet overnight, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman revealed the Mac Pro might not actually be worth the wait after all, thanks to a lack of user-upgradeable GPU options alongside the previously reported lack of upgradeable RAM.
Mac Pro Oh No
The current Intel Mac Pro shines because of its modular design, with processor upgrade options of up to 28 cores of Intel Xeon W, a mind-boggling 1.5TB of RAM, and 10 different graphics card options, one of which costs more than $10,000. Oh, and 8TB of storage. And an Afterburner card. You get the picture.
While Apple silicon will undoubtedly smash Intel as a processor option, it comes with some significant restrictions. The Unified RAM of M1 and M2 are baked into the silicon chip, meaning you can't just buy a couple of extra sticks of RAM and stick them in for more juice. Now, Mark Gurman says the same is true of the GPU:
The next Mac Pro may lack user upgradeable GPUs in addition to non-upgradeable RAM. Right now Apple Silicon Macs don’t support external GPUs and you have to use whatever configuration you buy on Apple’s website. But the Mac Pro GPU will be powerful with up to 76 cores.January 26, 2023
Gurman says that as a result, storage will be "the main user-upgradeable component" in the new model.
This will be a massive disappointment to the Mac Pro's target audience, power-hungry users who seek the Mac Pro's unparalleled modularity and customization. According to Mark Gurman, the new Mac Pro will feature an M2 ultra chip with a 24-core CPU, a 76-core GPU, and up to 192GB of memory. A previously-rumored M2 Extreme chip with double those cores has apparently been scrapped, which leaves us wondering just what exactly is the point of the Mac Pro? Gurman says it will differentiate itself from the Mac Studio thanks to its design (same as the old one) and cooling. But Mac Pro is vastly more expensive and far less convenient than the Studio thanks to its huge size. Yes it might look cool, but the Mac Studio is almost certainly going to get the same M2 Ultra Processor, which begs the question, why would anyone want to buy a Mac Pro at all?
We might not have long to wait to find out, it emerged just two weeks ago that Apple is testing its new Mac Pro on macOS Ventura 13.3, which normally comes out in the spring, suggesting a launch could be just weeks away.
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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9