It was almost live. Almost? Some members of the audience were tweeting about new features before they were announced or displayed on Apple TV so there was an obvious delay. Speaking of delays, did you hear the one about Apple’s new Mac Pro?
Assembled In The U.S.A.
Of all of Apple’s new product announcements, the one that I’m most interested in is the Mac Pro, that crazy cylinder shaped digital powerhouse.
The Mac Pro ships in December (I think it is December of this year, but, hey, this is Apple) so there’s time to salivate for awhile.
Somehow Apple figured out a way to stuff more power than any previous Mac Pro model into a black aluminum cylinder not even 10-inches high, not even 7-inches in diameter, and barely 11-pounds.
Mac Pro comes in two configurations– $2,999 for a Quad Core CPU model, at $3,999 for a six-core CPU model, but with additional options for storage and RAM.
The low end model (which just doesn’t sound right considering it starts at $2,999) comes with an Intel Xeon E5 with 10MB of L3 cache (the more expensive model has more cores, more cache).
For graphics, the entry level Mac Pro uses dual AMD FirePro GPUs, the D300 model, while the high end version uses the D500 (more vRAM). Both models are sufficiently powerful enough to drive three 4K displays (as in Ultra HD video), or six standard resolution Thunderbolt displays.
Each model comes with 256GB of PCIe flash storage with options to 512GB or 1TB total. Ports? You need ports? 4 USB 3 ports, 6 Thunderbolt 2 ports, dual Gigabit ethernet ports, and a lonely HDMI 1.4 UltraHD port. There’s also 802.11 ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
No new Mac ever hits the streets (or, the streets in late December when the Mac Pro is scheduled to ship) without a few things we want, but Apple has decided we don’t need. Yet.
Where’s the 4K display? Driving a 4K UltraHD display, or in the case of the Mac Pro, three of the monsters, requires serious hardware and a serious outlay of cash.
Apple is still stuck with the Thunderbolt display (the one that looks like an old iMac, circa 2011), so doing 4K video will require one or two or three of the few 4K models available.
I want to say Apple is also missing an aggressive pricing posture with the Mac Pro. $2,999 doesn’t seem particularly aggressive to me, considering there’s no display, no keyboard, no mouse or trackpad, and no special applications (Final Cut Pro X users will lap this puppy up), but it does come with OS X Mavericks, iLife apps, iWork apps.
What’s also missing are some benchmarks which compare the Mac Pro to previous models on typical tasks– graphics rendering, video rendering, that kind of thing.