I’m excited about the new iPad Pros, but the new 24” iMac took my breath away. I’ve long wanted Apple to return to the vivid colors of past Macs but wasn’t convinced the company would go that direction. Leading up to today’s event, mockups of iMacs in the pale color schemes of the iPhone 12 circulated. Today, however, Apple took the iMac in a wholly different direction with bright, saturated colors on the back of the new computer and paler hues on the front.
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Apple hasn’t made an official announcement the iMac Pro’s future, but the Mac’s product page speaks volumes. As first reported by MacRumors, the configurable models of the iMac Pro are no longer available for purchase. The only remaining iMac Pro on Apple’s online store is the $4,999 base configuration, which Apple notes prominently at the top of the page will only remain available ‘While supplies last.’
The iMac Pro was introduced by Apple at the end of 2017. The model has received minor updates over the past three years, but the hardware configuration has remained mostly unchanged. With the advent of the new Mac Pro and Apple’s M1 SoC Macs, speculation has been widespread that the iMac Pro might not survive the transition, which now appears to be the case.
With the iMac Pro gone, it will be interesting to see what becomes of the rest of Apple’s desktop Mac lineup. Will a more powerful M1-based iMac take its place, or will Apple introduce something entirely new like a smaller G4 Cube-inspired Mac Pro that Mark Gurman has said is coming? If Apple’s spring event schedule of the past few years is any indication, we could find out as early as the end of this month.
Update: Since this story’s original publication, Apple has confirmed to MacRumors that the iMac Pro has indeed been discontinued.
Today, Apple revealed an update to the 27-inch 5K Retina iMac with faster processors, updated graphics, more storage, and new display features. Although the new 27-inch iMac’s design is identical to the existing model, this is still a significant update compared to the iMac it replaces.
According to Apple’s press release:
“Now more than ever, our customers are relying on the Mac. And many of them need the most powerful and capable iMac we’ve ever made,” said Tom Boger, Apple’s senior director of Mac and iPad Product Marketing. “With blazing performance, double the memory, SSDs across the line with quadruple the storage, an even more stunning Retina 5K display, a better camera, higher fidelity speakers, and studio-quality mics, the 27-inch iMac is loaded with new features at the same price. It’s the ultimate desktop, to work, create, and communicate.”
Last updated in March 2019, the new iMac features 6 and 8-core 10th generation Intel CPUs that can reach speeds of up to 5.0GHz with Turbo Boost. Storage is all SSD now with transfer speeds up to 3.4GB/s when launching apps and large files. There’s also an 8TB SSD option for the first time, which is four times the storage available in the previous model. Until today, the standard configurations of the 27-inch iMac came with Fusion drives.
The new iMac has been upgraded to AMD Radeon Pro Series 5000 graphics. The display of the iMac is the same resolution as before, but now, it comes with a new nano-texture option first seen in the Pro Display XDR, which provides a low-reflection, matte finish, and it supports Apple’s True Tone technology. The new all-in-one desktop also includes a T2 chip for boot and data security, a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, and improved speakers and microphones.
Apple’s other iMacs received smaller updates today too. SSDs are now standard in the 21.5-inch model, although a Fusion Drive is still an option. Also, a 10-core Intel Xeon processor is now standard in the iMac Pro.
Today’s updates are in line with Apple’s statements during WWDC that the company had additional updates to Macs based on Intel CPUs in the pipeline. Although Macs with ARM processors are on the way later this year, Apple has not revealed which models will be converted to ARM first. Consequently, if you need a new desktop Mac, it’s still worth considering the Intel-based models, especially the new 27-inch iMac, which is substantially improved over its last iteration.
The recent iMac updates brought additional power and flexibility to Apple’s all-in-one desktop, but didn’t redesign or modernize the iMac as we’ve known it for many years.
As the 21.5- and 27-inch machines are here to stay for at least a while longer, I thought it would be a good time to look back at the first of their kind, introduced at a press event in October 2012. You probably can’t tell if the press image above is from 2012 or 2019.
Today, Apple has updated its online store with improved iMacs. Although the iMac Pro models were updated in December 2017, the non-Pro version hadn’t seen an update since June 2017, the longest time ever between iMac revisions according to MacRumors. The new iMacs, which were announced via a press release, include new base models and custom-build options for the 21.5 and 27-inch models that will allow customers to configure an iMac that rivals the specs of the lower-end iMac Pro models.
Apple has published a trailer and six short films by artists showcasing the power of the new iMac Pro. Apple also posted six behind-the-scenes videos explaining how each artist used the iMac Pro to create their film.
The videos each begin with the tagline ‘The Most Powerful Mac Ever’ followed by ‘Pushed to the Limit.’ The artists were tasked with creating a project that put the iMac Pro’s hardware through its paces. The six shorts combine CG effects, animation, and bring other techniques to bear using professional-grade apps with stunning results.
The behind-the-scenes videos explain how each film was created along with commentary by the artists who all walked away impressed by the iMac Pro’s capabilities.
Below is the trailer for the film series. The full videos and behind-the-scenes features are available after the break.
Before the iMac Pro was released, there was a lot of speculation that it was part of a trend toward creating a “hybrid Mac” that is driven by both an Intel processor and an Apple-designed ARM chip like those found in other Apple devices. The iMac Pro is definitely a hybrid of a sort, but probably not the one people were expecting. With the T2, Apple is using its chip-design prowess to take more control over parts of the Mac hardware that were previously outsourced to other controllers, and reaping the benefits of integrating them all together.
The iMac Pro isn’t running iOS apps, but it does get to take advantage of most of the work Apple has done to bolster the security of iOS devices and enhance the quality of photos and video taken by iPhone cameras. Apple will almost certainly continue to push this technology into more future Mac models, because it allows Apple to use the work it’s already done on iOS to improve the features and security of the Mac.
For years, the advancement of the Mac has been tied closely with the evolution of iOS. Many of the hallmark macOS features dating back to Lion originated on the iPhone and iPad, and came to the Mac – in part – to provide greater feature parity between the differing platforms.
While the iPhone’s influence on the Mac has previously played out primarily in the realm of software, that influence is clearly extending to hardware now. The 2016 MacBook Pro took the first step with its T1 chip powering the Touch Bar, but the T2 is another significant step forward. Though its benefits are largely invisible to the average user, Snell’s overview of the T2 and its extensive reach throughout the system makes clear that the Touch Bar was just the beginning of ARM-enhanced Macs.
As expected, Apple introduced of the iMac Pro today, and an update to its professional video-editing app, Final Cut Pro X. Companion video-editing apps Motion and Compressor received updates too.
Specifications of the new iMac Pro are in line with what was reported earlier this week. In its press release, Apple provides examples of the kind of performance increases that different professionals can expect:
iMac Pro takes Mac performance to a whole new level, even when compared to our fastest quad-core iMac.
- 3D designers can visualize huge 3D models and render scenes up to 3.4 times faster.
- Developers can run multiple virtual machines and test environments, and compile code up to 2.4 times faster.
- Scientists and researchers can manipulate massive data sets and complex simulations, visualizing data up to 5 times faster.
- Photographers can work with enormous files and perform image processing up to 4.1 times faster.
- Music producers can bounce (export) massive multi-track projects up to 4.6 times faster and use up to 12.4 times as many real-time plug-ins.
- Video editors can edit up to eight streams of 4K video, or edit 4.5K RED RAW video and 8K ProRes 4444 at full resolution in real time without rendering. The iMac Pro can also export HEVC video 3 times faster.
All that power comes at a substantial price. The iMac Pro starts at $4,999 but can be configured to over $13,000.
Apple also updated Final Cut Pro X, its professional video editing app for macOS. According to Apple:
new features including 360-degree VR video editing, advanced color grading tools and support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) video. Optimized to take full advantage of the incredible performance capabilities of the all-new iMac Pro, Final Cut Pro users can now edit full-resolution 8K video for the first time on a Mac. Apple is also extending 360-degree VR video support to Final Cut Pro companion apps, Motion and Compressor.
Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Apps Product Marketing said:
“With new features like 360-degree VR editing and motion graphics, advanced color grading and HDR support, Final Cut Pro gives video editors the tools to create stunning, next-generation content…. When combined with the performance of Mac hardware, including the all-new iMac Pro, Final Cut Pro provides an incredibly powerful post-production studio to millions of video editors around the world.”
The update to Final Cut Pro X lets editors create 360-degree video content and view those projects in real time using an HTC VIVE VR headset and SteamVR. Apple has also added professional color grading tools and supports popular HDR formats. Other features Apple touts include:
- Easily import iMovie projects from iPhone and iPad into Final Cut Pro for advanced editing, audio work, motion graphics and color grading.
- HEVC and HEIF support for importing and editing high efficiency video and photo formats from Apple devices.
- Updated audio effects plug-ins from Logic Pro X with redesigned, resizable interfaces.
- Faster, higher quality optical flow analysis built on Metal, Apple’s advanced graphics technology.
In addition to the update to Final Cut Pro X, Apple has updated Motion, which lets users create 360-degree VR titles and effects that are accessible from Final Cut Pro. Compressor has also been updated to let ‘users deliver 360-degree video with industry-standard spherical metadata.’
Final Cut Pro X, Motion, and Compressor are available on the Mac App Store as free updates to existing users. For new users, Final Cut Pro X is $299.99, Motion and Compressor are $49.99 each. Educational users can purchase the apps as a bundle for $199.99.
The iMac Pro was debuted on Apple’s online store today, but won’t be available to purchase until December 14th. Over the past week, the company provided test hardware to a handful of photographers, videographers, an aerospace engineer, and programmers. Each seems to have been given an iMac Pro with a 10-core 3GHz processor, 128GB memory, 2TB SSD, and the Radeon Pro Vega 64 graphics with 16GB memory. Although no one had time to put the machine through a thorough review, they each put the new iMac through a unique series of tests and real-world tasks to see how it performed.