Apple officially introduced the 2019 Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR at its Worldwide Developers Conference back in June but left their release date and other details ambiguous. Today, the “fall” launch became more concrete: The high-end desktop machine and its monitor will hit stores in December, with online orders beginning that month — so, not quite yet.
The “modular” Mac Pro looks like a small but bespoke tower, replacing a thermally constrained cylindrical design that resembled a small trash can. Unlike its predecessor, the 2019 model is hugely expandable, thanks to an aluminum chassis that slides open using a top-mounted handle, revealing a multi-chambered logic board with spaces for two large graphics cards, multiple solid state drives, 12 RAM DIMMs, and Intel Xeon CPUs with up to 28 cores. A custom cooling system and 1.4-Kilowatt power supply are included with every Mac Pro, while an Afterburner module for high-speed video editing is optional.
All of the new hardware will come at a price — actually, an array of prices. Apple’s entry-level 8-core model starts at $5,999, including a Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, Magic Mouse 2, power cord, and USB-C to Lightning cable. With customization, 12-core, 16-core, 24-core, and 28-core models up the tally. Users can choose from 32GB to 1.5TB of RAM, 256GB to 4TB of SSD storage, and Radeon Pro 580X, Vega II, or Vega II Duo GPUs, though the prices for the non-stock configurations remain ambiguous.
Since even the most basic model will be Apple’s most expensive stock machine, the new Mac Pro is likely to appeal to fairly limited audiences: video professionals, wealthy “prosumers,” and scientists and engineers requiring maximum computing performance. Those have been Apple’s key Mac Pro constituencies for years, but in the absence of a modular Mac tower, many have opted to purchase iMac Pro all-in-one computers for $4,999 and up, or flee to PC-based video editing platforms instead. Dune Case has already cloned the new Mac Pro’s chassis and is offering it on a crowdfunding site for only $279.
Apple will also begin shipping the Pro Display XDR, a 32-inch Retina display with a 6K resolution at 218 pixels per inch, claiming professional-caliber individual calibration across 576 LED backlights. The “XDR” name refers to “extreme dynamic range,” or high dynamic range with increased brightness and contrast, promising a peak 1,600 nits of brightness — 1,000 nits typical — and a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio — the latter comparable to an OLED screen.
Marketed as a substantial across-the-board upgrade to Apple’s since-discontinued 27-inch Cinema and Thunderbolt Displays, the Pro Display XDR carries a $4,999 price tag. It is sold without its arguably necessary Pro Stand, which for $999 actually holds the monitor above the surface of a table and enables it to be rotated in landscape and portrait orientations. Attaching the Display to the Stand requires nothing more than magnets, which can alternatively be used to place the screen on an optional VESA Mount Adapter.