A new Mac Pro debut at WWDC?

A new Mac Pro debut at WWDC?

Summary: The tea leaves get a sharp look-see every year around the time of Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference. Many see signs of a new Mac Pro.


The wish for a refresh of the Mac Pro line is a constant refrain from content-creation professionals and sci-tech consultants. Last summer, rumors circulated of a major new model and then fizzled. The speed-bump introduced almost a year ago was considered a non-grade. Some saw signs in Apple's pledge to make machines in the U.S., but the latest word is that this isn't the Mac Pro. Then again, until a new Mac Pro is announced, there's no certainty.

With WWDC arriving in a week, there are new signs. Or to be more accurate, new signs discerned.

MacTrast Managing Editor, J. Glenn Künzler, took a look at the diminishing stock of Mac Pros in advance of WWDC. He called it a "remarkable shortage."

Stock-outs and diminishing retail supplies are a key sign that Apple may be preparing to release new models of a product – something which Mac Pro users have been awaiting for a very long time. It’s also worth noting, however, that other models of the Mac Pro aren’t facing as significant of stock limitations – although all models are out of stock at at several major resellers.

A good sign.

MacNN reports that the forthcoming OS X 10.8.4 update adds support for the NVIDIA Geforce GTX Titan graphics card, which the company is pitching to gamers but which will also appeal to the professional 2D/3D and 4K video content market. According to reviews, a three-way Scalable Link Interface (SLI) setup (costing $3,000), the cards can support 5,760-by-1,080-pixel resolution across three monitors.  

The update is also said to have a number of improved NVIDIA graphics card drivers to correct display flaws, and the current beta -- version12E55 -- also includes drivers for the Geforce GTX Titan, though it is possible some of these changes will not appear in the final release and are simply being "test bed" deployed before formal inclusion in a future build.

Mac professionals want a powerful, integrated machine. The question continues whether Apple is committed to it, despite the promises by CEO Tim Cook that "something really great" is coming in 2013.

Some are concerned that Apple now sees Thunderbolt as a way to avoid manufacturing a replacement for the Mac Pro. Instead of an integrated, powerful tower desktop with super-fast bandwidth and internal bays for expansion, users would be asked to make do with an iMac, and Thunderbolt for external expansion, even for video cards. PCIe card cages with this capability have arrived with support from several vendors.

This question may, or may not, be answered next week.

Topics: Apple, Hardware, Operating Systems, Storage

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  • The bells toll for thee

    Mac Pros will eventually be discontinued, as Apple has made it clear time and time again how little it cares for its enterprise/business customers. Just take a look at what happened to Xserve — after that got shafted, Apple told us to transition to Mac Minis or Mac Pro Server. And let's not forget how terrible security is for OS X network services.

    This shouldn't be all that surprising either. GUI and compact form factors just aren't a large focus for most workstations and servers. It's performance, reliability, and security that are critical for these markets, and Apple just doesn't bring anything competitive to the table. The Mac Pro doesn't even ship with professional graphics solutions (e.g. AMD FirePro or Nvidia Quadro), and in some cases there's not even clearance for such solutions in the chassis.

    Thunderbolt's current generation (4x PCIe 2.0) isn't anywhere near to providing the necessary bandwidth for modern coprocessors and GPUs. To even suggest that an iMac equipped with Thunderbolt could suffice for media professionals is a cruel joke.

    There's a pattern with this dodging here we know all too well. Apple is going to slowly and silently withdraw from this market and shift resources to its forte, which is mobile devices. And I would expect no less of them, because it's just more profitable. The only reason the Mac Pro lineup still exists is to save face. If there is any offering during WWDC, it will be mediocre.
    • Thunderbolt is NOT Pcie 2.0!

      Current Thunderbolt is NOT Pcie 2.0 x4 -- It's PCIe 1.0 x4.
      Stop spreading misinformation.
  • The THINNEST Mac Pro Ever...

    ...it will be beautiful.

    Compromised, but beautiful.

    "For our customers who are living in the past and still want a desktop tower with upgradability... We give you the all new Mac Pro".

    End cynicism.

    Yep, they'll do it, but somehow annoy/insult part of their core pro users in the process.
  • OMG The MAC MINI PRO is coming!

    I agree with "BELLS TOOL FOR THEE". APPLE does not want or need to be in market supporting a relatively small professional market...just the high end consumer, and early professional market, as well as mobile devices. It seems also they like to stick to the core hardware/devices and sells spin-off apps and services (Itunes etc) that need this hardware. They don't want to worry all different kinds of hardware and software not directly under their control - technical support must be a cash drain for them.
    • Relatively small professional market

      marty2014 you underestimate the size and needs of both film and music industry. And your comment about tech support... Read a bit about customer satisfaction/loyalty & branding. Your opinion overall reads as borrowed from someone else: that absorbed piece of intel shared in a party that some may take as the truth without further investigation.