Apple on Tuesday announced a mild refresh for the Mac Pro, but the biggest news concerned the future of the Mac line. All the pressure from fans worked, as Apple felt compelled to reveal details about products that aren’t even ready. The Cupertino-based company confirmed its commitment to the Mac by reassuring professionals that it’s working on new products.
The Mac Pro was the main topic of conversation with a few hand-picked members of the media, with Apple revealing that a redesigned Mac Pro is currently in the works, but won’t be released this year. On top of that, Apple is working on some products that may be even more exciting than the Mac Pro, including the iMac and a successor to Apple’s now-dead Thunderbolt Display line.
According to John Gruber’s account of the meeting, Apple insisted on the Mac Pro while acknowledging that very few of its buyers purchase the desktop. The company said only 30% of Mac users are in the “pro” category. Most pro users buy notebooks and then iMacs. The Mac Pro is third on that list and only accounts for a single-digit percent of all Mac sales. Most of the people who use desktops will buy iMacs, Apple revealed.
That’s why the company is working on a new line of iMacs that will debut at some point later this year. Will there be an iMac Pro in Apple’s stores this year? Apple didn’t say the name, but Phil Schiller made it clear that “configurations of iMac specifically with the pro customer in mind” are coming.
Craig Federighi said the iMac evolved over the years into a tool that can be used by professionals. “But there’s still even further we can take iMac as a high performance, pro system, and we think that form factor can address even more of the pro market,” he said.
One of the most interesting details of the meeting concerns Apple’s displays. Apple said that it’s working on “Apple-branded pro displays,” as Gruber refers to them, that will go along with the Mac Pro. However, Apple did not share any details about these computer monitors. It’s unclear whether the 2017 iMac and the new Apple display will offer the same hardware.
Touchscreen support, however, is not something on Apple’s radar. “Touch doesn’t even register on the list of things pro users are interested in talking about,” Schiller told Buzzfeed. “They’re interested in things like performance and storage and expandability.”
Furthermore, it’s unclear whether they will be launched alongside the new Mac Pro, or whether Apple will unveil them later this year when the new iMac and MacBooks arrive.
The company discontinued the Thunderbolt Display line last year, and rumors suggested that Apple will soon launch a display that will incorporate a graphics processing unit that could aid with GPU-intensive tasks on a MacBook. Apple, however, is far from confirming this rumor.
Soon after canceling its displays, Apple started selling LG’s UltraFine 5K displays in stores, without making them part of the defunct Thunderbolt line. The UltraFine displays aren’t compatible with current Mac Pro models but work with select MacBooks and iMacs.