Mac Pro, iMac Pro, and Who Apple ‘Pro’ Hardware is Really For

Mac Pro, iMac Pro, and Who Apple ‘Pro’ Hardware is Really For

At WWDC 2019, Apple unveiled the new Mac Pro. It’s a beastly machine with an equally impressive display. But should tech professionals focus on it?

During some downtime at WWDC, I popped across the street to see Apple’s new Mac Pro for myself. The company isn’t allowing any hands-on time with the machine yet, but staffers were on-hand to discuss the prowess of Apple’s latest desktop marvel. During this tour, an interesting trend emerged.

Each point of contact with the Mac Pro showed how well-suited it was for ‘creative’ professionals. Video editors and audio engineers in particular are Apple’s focus.

If you’re mixing tracks for an album, or piecing together a big-budget Hollywood hot take on a comic book, the Mac Pro may be exactly what you’re looking for. Its top-end spec sheet is laughably amazing; it’s as if Apple asked these crowds what they wanted, then figured out a way to make it happen without making excuses for the form factor or thermal issues.

Plus, the Mac Pro is a return to the not-over-designed ‘cheese grater’ model. Apple iterated on it rather than try to revisit the ‘trash can’ design, which was flashy and exciting but ultimately terrible. It was specifically terrible for video editors and sound engineers, groups who complained loudly about how much money they sank into the then-new Mac Pro only to see it choke hard on its own design flaws.

In our first piece on the new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR, we noted it likely wasn’t for you. We’re not going to dissuade you from buying one; if you’ve got $12,000-plus laying around (and need a new desktop computer with a class-leading monitor), by all means treat yo self.

But you probably don’t, and your boss will likely laugh you out of their office if you try to requisition one for your desk. Now what?

The iMac Pro is still here, and probably a much cleaner fit for tech professionals. It’s an all-in-one with an impressive screen, the same dark keyboard/trackpad as the Mac Pro, and can be upgraded to suit just about anyone in the tech space. If we can take umbrage with any aspect of the iMac Pro, it’s that Apple didn’t design it to be upgradeable.

We’d like to think the excitement around the Mac Pro at WWDC shows Apple that the modularity of a ‘pro’ machine is enticing to developers and engineers, too. We’d also like to think the next iMac Pro will be ever-so-slightly redesigned to allow modularity and upgrading.