Apple Announces Stunning Cylindrical Mac Pro for Late 2013 [UPDATE]

Originally posted at 2:20 PM, Updated at 6:10 PM

Apple announced the long awaited and highly anticipated new Mac Pro on Monday. This is a stunning device in a cylindrical form factor with 1/8 the volume of the company's long-running aluminum tower models.

[UPDATE: This article has been updated with more images and details from Apple's press release, as well as a little analysis just because we can - Editor]

New Mac ProTim Cook and the (real) new Mac Pro

In other words, it looks nothing like the image sent to several Mac sites (including TMO) on Sunday. It does, however, have dual GPUs and Thunderbolt 2, as that image said.

Fluff Quote

“With the latest Xeon processors, dual FirePro GPUs, ECC memory, PCIe-based flash and Thunderbolt 2, all built around a revolutionary thermal core, the next generation Mac Pro is the most radical Mac yet,” Apple senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller said in a statement. “All this performance and expandability is packed into a dramatic new design that’s one-eighth the volume, and best of all, it will be assembled here in the USA.”

Revolutionary Unified Thermal Whatsis

Apple said that the new Mac Pro was designed around a "revolutionary unified thermal core." Our best guess on what that actually means is that the device is cooled by a single hole in the middle that serves to cool all of the components (that's John Martellaro's educated guess, so props to him).

It's powered by, "next generation Intel Xeon E5 processors with up to 12 core configurations deliver double the floating point performance." This is coupled with two AMD FirePro workstation-class GPUs. It delivers up to 7.5 teraflops of processing power, which is roughly more than you can shake a stick at.

The New Mac Pro

The New Mac Pro


The device is 9.9 inches tall, a fraction of the height of the current Mac Pro aluminum tower. Apple does this in part because all expansion will be external through USB and Thunderbolt 2 ports, which you can see in the image below the fold.

According to Apple, this delivers up to 20Gbps of bandwidth to each external device, making it the anti-TARDIS. It's bigger on the outside than it is on the inside. Each of the six Thunderbolt 2 ports supports up six devices, too.

This should be more than enough to match the needs of current in-Mac expansion cards, but it will require the industry to deliver compatibility. If Apple sells enough of these Mac Pros, that shouldn't be an issue. If not...

The New Mac Pro from the Back

The New Mac Pro's Ports

Picture This

The dual workstation-class GPUs will support the emerging 4K technology for incredibly high resolution displays. Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of marketing, said the device will support three 4K displays out of the box. That is awesome, for those keeping score at home.

Storage will be a new form of SSD working off an internal PCIe bus. Apple said this is ten times faster than conventional hard drives, and faster even than the SSDs that ship in Apple's current Mac models.

Scarily, Apple didn't announce a price for the device. The company said it would be coming "later this year," and did not specify a date. Today's demonstration was billed as a sneak preview.

Apple has posted an amazing interactive website for the new device. Check it out.

Check out John Martellaro's analysis on the new Mac Pro (sneak preview: he loves it). We also have a in-person photograph taken at WWDC. Later, we'll be posting a full spec sheet that we are putting together even now.

Scarily, Apple hasn't announced pricing. We're hoping that's to keep competitors guessing, rather than because it's going to cost an arm and a leg. We'll see.

Apple didn't specify availability, either, but said to look for it later this year.