Apple is notorious for keeping all of its cards very close to its chest.
We, the public, are often kept in the dark until the very end, fed along by speculation over potential leaks and tidbits of information.
Which is why it was so strange for Apple to step forward recently and pre-announce major new products, confirming that it will release new iMacs later this year and a “completely rethought Mac Pro” at some point in the future.
The company stepped forward, acknowledged the complaints from users, and essentially apologised to Mac Pro users for the neglect of the product line that has gone three years without an update.
It was way back in December 2013 when Apple first released the Mac Pro. Different to almost anything else on the market, it was a sleek black cylinder that was supposedly designed to create minimal noise and to be expanded predominantly by external means with six Thunderbolt 2 ports.
However, the design wasn’t tailored for the future and created quite a few roadblocks for users.
Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi spoke with Apple blogger, John Gruber, on the record about how the design eventually tied up their hands.
“I think we designed ourselves into a bit of a thermal corner, if you will,” he told Gruber.
“We designed a system with the kind of GPUs that at the time we thought we needed, and that we thought we could well serve with a two GPU architecture. That that was the thermal limit we needed, or the thermal capacity we needed. But workloads didn’t materialise to fit that as broadly as we hoped.”
Being able to put larger single GPUs brought on the need for a different system architecture and more thermal capacity than their system was designed to accommodate.
“So it became fairly difficult to adjust,” Federighi says.
Which is why rather than remaining silent for another year, they stepped forward to announce just what was happening – Senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple, Phil Schiller stepped in here.
“With regards to the Mac Pro, we are in the process of what we call ‘completely rethinking the Mac Pro’,” says Schiller.
“We have a team working hard on it right now, and we want to architect it so that we can keep it fresh with regular improvements, and we’re committed to making it our highest-end, high-throughput desktop system, designed for our demanding pro customers.”
In the shorter term, Schiller confirmed that Apple is working on an update to the iMac, still the computer used by the majority of Apple desktop users, including the majority of professional users.
“We have big plans for the iMac,” he said. “We’re going to begin making configurations of iMac specifically with the Pro customer in mind.”