Apple Discontinues iMac Pro
It looks like the iMac Pro is not long for this world. As of this writing, the iMac Pro is still available to purchase, however the purchase page has the words "While Supplies Last" on it. While you can still purchase an iMac Pro, you can only get the base model. This means that you are not able to customize it in anyway and there are no upgrades available.
Let us travel back to 2017 briefly. The highest end Mac was the Mac Pro. It was introduced in 2013 to much fanfare and had a radical design. Even though there was a new design, the machine had remained largely unchanged since its introduction. Given that there had not been any updates, many speculated that Apple had given up on the higher-end of the Mac market.
In April of 2017 Apple held a roundtable with some journalists to indicate that they were in fact re-dedicating itself to the Mac. According to TechCrunch, "And later this year we’ll see improved iMacs that Apple feels will appeal to a segment of Pro users, as well." While they did not have anything to share at that time, the product would be announced quite soon.
At Apple's 2017 World Wide Developer Conference, they announced a Mac that was aimed at professional users. It would not be a modular machine. Instead, it would be called the iMac Pro. The machine would become available in December of the same year.
The iMac Pro was truly designed for professionals and came with a professional price tag that starts at $4999. However, for this you would get a Intel Xeon processor, 32GB of ECC memory, and 1TB of storage. Plus, it would come in Space Gray with matching accessories.
The current base model of the iMac Pro comes with the following specifications:
- 3.0GHz 10-core Intel Xeon W processor with Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz
- 32GB 2666MHz ECC memory
- 1TB SSD storage
- Radeon Pro Vega 56 with 8GB HBM2 memory
- 10Gb Ethernet
- Four Thunderbolt 3 ports
- 27-inch Retina 5K 5120-by-2880 P3 display
While the iMac Pro is still a good machine, it is not being updated. It has not seen any significant updates in its three-years on the market. There have been some processor bumps, and additional options, including an additional graphics card option, but nothing major in the time. The iMac Pro was designed to allow users who have higher-end needs to be able to have an all-in-one machine.
I think Apple is retiring the iMac Pro line for two reasons. The first is that there is another machine, the Mac Pro, which can also fill these needs. The Mac Pro provides even more power than the iMac Pro; however not in an all-in-one machine.
The second reason I think Apple is discontinuing the iMac Pro is because now is a good time to do so. Apple is refreshing the entire Mac line with their own Apple Silicon processors. Apple has indicated that it will take two years to make the complete transition.
The only machines that have been updated thus far as the MacBook Air, the Mac mini, and the lower-end MacBook Pro. The higher-end 13.3-inch MacBook Pros, the 16-inch MacBook Pro, the 21.5-inch iMac, 27-inch iMac,, and the Mac Pro still need to get the new processors.
With the eventual release of an updated iMac, I suspect that there will be significant changes on the iMac. This includes thinner bezels, a redesigned body, and redesigned internal structure. I also suspect that with Apple Silicon there will not be as much differentiation between the iMac lines. With not nearly as much differentiation, there is no need for the iMac Pro. I suspect that the iMac line will have a wide range of customizations, including those that would meet the needs of iMac Pro users.
Furthermore, I suspect that there will be some surprises with the iMac line. I am not sure what they might be. Maybe one of them will be an option for selecting either silver or space gray, but that is merely a wild guess.
It will be interesting to see what Apple will with the iMac line, and given that the look of the iMac has remained the same since 2012, it may be time for a complete re-thinking. Again, this makes it the perfect time to eliminate the iMac Pro. I hope Apple continues to provide an option for professional users. What I would really like to see is a cheaper stand-alone monitor, but that is a whole separate topic.