Apple started to sell the iMac Pro in December 2017 – more than three years ago, but it first introduced the iMac Pro at WWDC 2017. More than three years later you might be thinking that the iMac Pro has been forgotten – or even worse: that Apple might discontinue the iMac Pro!
Is Apple discontinuing the iMac Pro?
As we have previously reported, Apple seems to be working on an upgrade and a redesign for the iMac, but the future of iMac Pro looks much less certain – and even less so following Apple’s decision to remove all but the entry-level model from sale.
The £4,999/$4,999 model is now only on sale “while supplies last,” so this may well be your last chance to get an iMac Pro. In addition, it is no longer possible to choose anything other than the standard model, so if you want more memory or increased storage space, you must add it yourself.
We’re going to assume that this means that Apple is discontinuing the iMac Pro. However, this doesn’t mean that Apple is turning its back on the creative pros for whom this model was designed.
Will Apple launch a new iMac Pro?
We don’t think we will see another iMac Pro, but we do think that Apple is designing a new machine that will be ideal for those who require a Mac that sits somewhere between the iMac and Mac Pro.
There are rumours about a new Mac Pro – but, more interestingly, there are also rumours about a new smaller, entry-level Mac Pro (via Bloomberg). That latter product may well be the future of the iMac Pro.
What is/was the iMac Pro?
Before we discuss what new features a replacement for the iMac Pro might have, a quick run through of what the iMac Pro is – or rather was – on the assumption that it will not return when stocks run out.
The iMac Pro was the first new creative pro-focused product to arrive after Apple’s admission in April 2017 that it had let its dedication to creative pros slide. The company promised that it would launch an iMac Pro that year, and then later on a Mac Pro and a dedicated display.
The iMac Pro arrived at the end of 2017 and it was an impressive beast. It originally offered Intel’s Xeon W processors (8-cores as standard, but up to 18-cores), (32GB RAM as standard, up to 256GB) and better graphics (Radeon Pro Vega 56 as standard). Apple later discontinued the entry level model and replaced it with the 10-core model. The iMac Pro price starts at £4,899/$4,999.
However, as impressive as the iMac Pro was when it launched back in 2017, since its arrival the standard iMac has become even more powerful – closing the gap between the standard and pro machines.
While the iMac was nipping at the iMac Pro’s tail from one side the Mac Pro was at the other end. The Mac Pro starts at £5,499/$5,999 – which isn’t that different to the price of the iMac Pro (from £4,999/$4,999) – although the latter does at least include a display.
On that basis, is there even any need for the iMac Pro? We think there is. The iMac Pro caters for a group of people who need the ultimate machine, but don’t need the Mac Pro.
It’s seems that Apple recognises this, if the rumours about a new smaller Mac Pro coming in 2022 are true.
While we think it is unlikely that we’ll ever see the iMac Pro again, it is possible that it could be updated.
In a note to investors at the beginning of March 2020, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in an investor note that he expected Apple to release an updated version of the iMac Pro in Q4 2020.
That clearly didn’t happen, but it does look like there are plans to release a successor to the iMac Pro – or at least a machine targeted at the same audience.
We think that this rumoured smaller Mac Pro – which some are suggesting could be reminiscent of the G4 Cube – could arrive in 2022.
What can we expect from this successor to the iMac Pro? Read on to find out.
We know that it won’t have an Intel processor. In 2020 Apple revealed that it was moving from Intel to its own Apple Silicon processors. The first of these was introduced in November 2020 when Apple unveiled three new Macs, powered by its M1 chip.
The version of Apple Silicon destined for a successor to the iMac Pro will be much more powerful than the M1 Chip though.
According to a Bloomberg report, Apple’s at work on a number of new Mac processors. First up we can expect to see the M1X. But Apple is also said to be developing in-house CPUs that boast 16-core and 32-core GPUs.
This new smaller Mac Pro could therefore offer 32 high-performance cores. The ultimate Mac Pro desktop maxes out at 28-cores currently.
Apple is said to be working on a 32-core graphics option, and by 2022 we could see 64 and 128 dedicated cores in Apple’s highest-end machines, according to Bloomberg’s sources.
If the iMac Pro is revived, the screen could see a redesign.
We believe that Apple intends to increase the screen size of the iMac, and the iMac Pro might be the first to see the new look, read about what we expect from the 2020 iMac here.
If the new iMac Pro is more like a Cube and less like an iMac then perhaps Apple will release a new screen? Read about the new Apple display rumours.
iMac Pro 2: Price
The iMac Pro price currently starts at £4,999/$4,999.
That might seem like a high price, but when you consider that the current top-of-the-range 27in iMac can be specced-up to the tune of £4,544/$4,849, there are two similarly priced machines aimed at a similar audience.
And the price comparisons don’t stop there. The entry-level Mac Pro, starts at £5,499/$5,999. Apple may choose to further differentiate the prices of these three Macs by dropping the iMac Pro price slightly, but it is unlikely.
Want to buy the original iMac Pro before it is no more? You may see some deals on the older 8-core model – such as this Currys/PC World deal where you can get the 8-core model for £3,299.
Alternatively, check out these deals below for the 10-core model, usually £4,999/$4,999.
iMac Pro 2: Design
We can only speculate right now on how Apple might redesign this Mac that is targeted at pro creatives.
However, if Apple actually maintains the iMac Pro design philosophy this is what we think we can expect:
When it launched in 2017 the only outward design change for the iMac Pro was the Space Grey colour and this is unlikely to change (unless Apple does replace the iMac Pro with an entirely new Mac).
The 2017 iMac Pro might have maintained the iMac look, but Apple made changes to the inside. These changes helped accommodate a cooling system that included a high-capacity heat sink and extra venting to allow 75% more airflow and an 80% increase in thermal capacity, as well as using 67% less power than the standard 27in iMac.
With Apple having reduced the bezels on the MacBook Air, iPhone and iPad in the last few years, we think it’s time that Apple reduced the bezels of the iMac Pro. It’s feasible that we could see a 30in display on a similarly sized iMac if Apple did reduce the bezels.
We’ll update this article as soon as we learn more about the future components of the iMac Pro.
For more information about what Apple will launch in 2021 read: New Apple products guide to what’s coming out in 2021