Having been unveiled in June at Apple’s developer conference, the iMac Pro is squarely aimed at Apple-using creative professionals who until now have had to make do with the ageing and comparatively cheap (£2,999) Mac Pro or the even cheaper consumer version of the £1,749 5K iMac.
John Ternus, Apple’s vice president of hardware engineering said: “[The] iMac Pro combines the incredible design of the iMac with the most powerful workstation architecture we’ve ever built. [The] iMac is the most popular desktop for our pro users due to its amazing display and elegant design, so we completely re-engineered it to deliver performance far beyond what anyone thought possible in an all-in-one.”
The iMac Pro is essentially the 27in 5K iMac with the processor, graphics chips, memory and storage turned up to 11. The base model is available costing £4,899 and comes with an 8-core Intel Xeon processor, 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. But options include up to 18-core processors, where most machines are either dual or quad-core, AMD’s workstation-class graphics cards such as the Radeon Pro Vega 64, up to 128GB of RAM and up to 4TB of SSD storage, all of which read like computer Top Trumps cards. The top-spec machine costs £12,279.
According to Apple, it’s people working with “real-time 3D rendering, immersive VR, intensive developer workflows, high megapixel photography, complex simulations, massive audio projects and real-time 4K and 8K video editing” who need that kind of processing power.
The iMac Pro also comes with a new space grey finish shipping with matching keyboard and mouse.
The iMac Pro represents Apple’s attempt to appease creative professionals who have long been Mac users, which has driven a wealth of bespoke software key to industries such as film, TV, photography and engineering. But Apple’s neglect of its professional workstation the Mac Pro, which was last updated in 2013, has seen the company lose favour, with some sections of its user base switching to Windows and rival software packages.
Apple also reiterated that it was working on a new version of the Mac Pro, which will return to some form of modular PC-like design, plus a new high-end “pro” display.
Whether the iMac Pro is bought by the people who actually make movies, or just the people who want to think they make movies and must have the newest machine going, remains to be seen. It is certainly a very powerful computer, but like a consumer-grade machine it is not upgradable. Apple said it would deliver the iMac Pro in December, and it has by a whisker.