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What do you think the future of the iMac Pro will be?

  • One more Intel-based refresh and then it will be discontinued following the Apple Silicon transition

    Votes: 5 15.6%
  • One more Intel-based refresh and then it will be given an Apple Silicon-based refresh

    Votes: 8 25.0%
  • The next refresh to the iMac Pro will be Apple Silicon-based

    Votes: 5 15.6%
  • The current iMac Pro is the first and last of its kind; it will not be refreshed at all

    Votes: 14 43.8%
  • Other

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    32

Yebubbleman

macrumors 601
Original poster
May 20, 2010
4,100
1,047
Los Angeles, CA
The iMac Pro was arguably made as a stop-gap release so that those that wanted an upgrade to the 2013 Mac Pro for performance could hold out until Apple was ready to release the 2019 Mac Pro. Aside from the horsepower inside of it and components therein, it's basically a space grey 27" iMac Pro with a T2 chip and two extra Thunderbolt 3 ports. Now that the 2019 Mac Pro is available (and isn't far off from the price of an iMac Pro, relatively speaking), and especially with the transition from Intel to Apple Silicon (ARM) looming, what do you guys think the future of the iMac Pro will be? Do you think there even is one? Or was the iMac Pro always intended to be a one-off machine to bide Apple the time it needed until it was ready to bring back the tower design of the Mac Pro?

Personally, I'm on the fence. I'd be shocked if there was another Intel-based iMac Pro unless Apple thought that the Pro customers actually appreciated the diversity of two different Xeon-based desktops in their lineup. On the other side of the transition to Apple Silicon, I couldn't even begin to speculate what the future would or wouldn't hold for the machine as we don't know too much about the processors that they're moving to other than that the first ones will be 5nm and based on the A14. By the time Apple is ready to move the higher-end Macs, we may be looking at something A15 or A16 based. But whether or not something like that will go into an "iMac Pro" I totally couldn't say!
 

Moonjumper

macrumors 68020
Jun 20, 2009
2,489
2,354
Lincoln, UK
I think there will be an update as it is one of the machines those wanting to hold onto using an Intel Mac will want, but not to buy with the outdated specs. The Xeon to i-series distinction will not exist in Apple Silicon, so I do not see it continuing after the transition. Unless there is a new difference such as miniLED screens, but that would only be temporary.
 
Comment

iindigo

macrumors 6502a
Jul 22, 2002
772
42
San Francisco, CA
I figure the iMac Pro will get at least one more Intel refresh, because we know that the regular 27" is getting at least one more.

If we take a look at the specs of the rumored 27" refresh…
  • 10th gen 10-core i9 max CPU option
  • No more fusion drives
  • Probably 5700 XT variant, maybe with HBM, as top-end GPU option
  • Probably easily user upgradable RAM (if it's the same chassis as before)

…the lower half of iMac Pro configs and even some of the high end BTO options will be blown away by a maxed out 27", likely at a cost that's at least $1-$2k less than the entry level iMac Pro (more if counting aftermarket RAM). For people doing massively multithreaded things, there's the 14 and 18 core configs, but I suspect that now-old 14-core Xeon has minimal margins over the 10 core i9, and with the 18-core you've pushed the price up far enough that a Mac Pro should start being a consideration. In other words, if the iMac Pro remains as it is, they won't be selling very many!

If it turns out the iMac Pro is getting discontinued, I would expect its motherboard design, cooling, etc to be absorbed into the higher end models of regular 27" iMac with the upcoming refresh.
 
Comment

MBHockey

macrumors 601
Oct 4, 2003
4,000
242
Connecticut
I figure the iMac Pro will get at least one more Intel refresh, because we know that the regular 27" is getting at least one more.

If we take a look at the specs of the rumored 27" refresh…
  • 10th gen 10-core i9 max CPU option
  • No more fusion drives
  • Probably 5700 XT variant, maybe with HBM, as top-end GPU option
  • Probably easily user upgradable RAM (if it's the same chassis as before)

…the lower half of iMac Pro configs and even some of the high end BTO options will be blown away by a maxed out 27", likely at a cost that's at least $1-$2k less than the entry level iMac Pro (more if counting aftermarket RAM). For people doing massively multithreaded things, there's the 14 and 18 core configs, but I suspect that now-old 14-core Xeon has minimal margins over the 10 core i9, and with the 18-core you've pushed the price up far enough that a Mac Pro should start being a consideration. In other words, if the iMac Pro remains as it is, they won't be selling very many!

If it turns out the iMac Pro is getting discontinued, I would expect its motherboard design, cooling, etc to be absorbed into the higher end models of regular 27" iMac with the upcoming refresh.

Yeah, this new rumored 27" iMac would really outperform most iMac Pros. The current 2019 i9 iMac is already pretty even with the bottom two iMac Pro configs.

But while i would love to see a new imac pro, i think they are just going to let it fizzle out and assume that people who need more than this next 27" non-pro iMac will just go with a Mac Pro, given a 2020 imac will also be nipping at the heels of the base Mac Pro.
 
Comment

CWallace

macrumors G3
Aug 17, 2007
8,493
5,043
Seattle, WA
My vote - and money - is on one more Intel-based refresh and then it will be given an Apple Silicon-based refresh. Kuo has stated that iMac Pro will get a 27" MiniLED display so that alone is strong evidence that there will be a new model since Kuo's contacts are in Apple's supply chain so they tend to be correct on such rumors.

Intel has new upgrade CPUs available (Xeon W-2200) and AMD has new GPUs available now (RDNA 1 / Navi 10 and 10+) and even better GPUs coming in the next six months or so (RDNA 2 / Navi 22-23). So no real reason for Apple not to refresh the model as it is still a real value compared to lower-spec Mac Pros.
 
Comment

Boil

macrumors 6502a
Oct 23, 2018
831
629
I figure the iMac Pro will get at least one more Intel refresh, because we know that the regular 27" is getting at least one more.

If we take a look at the specs of the rumored 27" refresh…
  • 10th gen 10-core i9 max CPU option
  • No more fusion drives
  • Probably 5700 XT variant, maybe with HBM, as top-end GPU option
  • Probably easily user upgradable RAM (if it's the same chassis as before)

…the lower half of iMac Pro configs and even some of the high end BTO options will be blown away by a maxed out 27", likely at a cost that's at least $1-$2k less than the entry level iMac Pro (more if counting aftermarket RAM). For people doing massively multithreaded things, there's the 14 and 18 core configs, but I suspect that now-old 14-core Xeon has minimal margins over the 10 core i9, and with the 18-core you've pushed the price up far enough that a Mac Pro should start being a consideration. In other words, if the iMac Pro remains as it is, they won't be selling very many!

If it turns out the iMac Pro is getting discontinued, I would expect its motherboard design, cooling, etc to be absorbed into the higher end models of regular 27" iMac with the upcoming refresh.

RDNA1-based GPUs use a GDDR6 memory controller, even on the W-series GPUs, and they might be a bit hot / power hungry for the iMacs.

Even though I voted for "next iMac Pro is Apple Silicon", I do see where a refresh for better specs / newer CPUs & GPUs might benefit Apple. Not everyone wants to pony up for a Big Chungus Mac Pro & hyper-expensive XDR monitor & US$1k stand (plus the extra US$1k for that Nano-Etched matte finish on the panel); so the "lower cost" iMac Pro might be a sale Apple would have missed. New CPUs, new GPUs (RDNA2 / Big Navi), & lower the RAM / storage costs some; that might get some missed sales.

On another angle, Apple could do something ridiculous and put out a 32" iMac Pro, with upgraded CPU & GPU, and using the XDR display panel...!!! Apple would probably be cutting their margins a good bit to get a decent 'entry-level' iMac Pro XDR out the door for US$9,999.00...

I do not think (aside from the improbable iMac Pro XDR above, which is actually just a blending of two existing designs) Apple will make any "new design" chassis changes with any of the remaining Intel products in the pipeline (Tim said there were a few), they will wait for all new designs to sync with the Apple Silicon products...
 
Comment

gnasher729

Suspended
Nov 25, 2005
17,980
5,549
There are users who _need_ an Intel processor to run virtual machines etc. I would think that Bootcamp for the Mac Pro isn't really relevant (it's not the kind of machine that you would reboot to play some Windows game), but VMs would be likely more relevant than for other machines.

I think Apple will keep enough Intel models around for quite a while to keep these people happy. I assume these would all be high end machines. That would be the high end Mac Pro, possibly one high end MacBook, and either a high end iMac Pro or Mac Mini. Possibly a Mac mini with more cores than the six it has today.

Apart from that, Apple will know what the target market for the Mac Pro is, and will release an ARM Mac Pro when they have chips that make it an improvement not for everyone, but for a significant number of customers. There are also 80 core ARM servers available right now (not from Apple), and Apple could use that as the basis for a Mac Pro for customers who need CPU power and nothing else. And if there is no ARM chip that would mean a significant improvement, there will be no ARM replacement.
 
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iPadified

macrumors 6502a
Apr 25, 2017
880
811
The iMac Pro is what the iMac should have been years ago. Would be wiser to keep the iMac Pro with new and cheaper (!) W2200 and corresponding GPU and transform the iMac into a AS machine that starts inexpensive just like the G3 and scale almost to iMac Pro. I am positive of the AS capabilities but iMac Pro and MP performance takes time to achieve.
 
Comment

Boil

macrumors 6502a
Oct 23, 2018
831
629
I think Apple will keep enough Intel models around for quite a while to keep these people happy. I assume these would all be high end machines. That would be the high end Mac Pro, possibly one high end MacBook, and either a high end iMac Pro or Mac Mini. Possibly a Mac mini with more cores than the six it has today.

Apart from that, Apple will know what the target market for the Mac Pro is, and will release an ARM Mac Pro when they have chips that make it an improvement not for everyone, but for a significant number of customers. There are also 80 core ARM servers available right now (not from Apple), and Apple could use that as the basis for a Mac Pro for customers who need CPU power and nothing else. And if there is no ARM chip that would mean a significant improvement, there will be no ARM replacement.

Apple is transitioning to Apple Silicon (AS), across the board. I believe Tim Cook said the first AS Mac would come before the end of the year & the entire Mac line-up would make the transition over the next two years following that initial release. I would expect the AS Mac Pro to be announced at the very limit of that two year period, available for pre-order about three months after that, then actually shipping three months after that!

Q4 2020 - First AS Mac released
Q4 2022 - AS Mac Pro announced / previewed
Q1 2023 - AS Mac Pro available for pre-order
Q2 2023 - AS Mac Pro shipping

As far as Apple continuing to produce Intel Macs, each Intel model will stop once it's 'matching' AS Mac model is released. Apple will not continue to produce special Intel models to appease a niche market. And all Intel Macs up to the transition point will continue to function for many years to come!

Regarding Apple using third-party 80 core ARM CPUs, or even 'as a basis for', Apple will be designing their own SoCs & designs, that is the whole idea of a complete transition to Apple Silicon!

My thoughts towards Mac Pro-level Apple Silicon:

32 P cores / 4 E cores / 48 GPU cores / 16Gb HBM2e UMA
48 P cores / 6 E cores / 64 GPU cores / 24GB HBM2e UMA
64 P cores / 8 E cores / 80 GPU cores / 32GB HBM2e UMA

DDR5 RAM & NVMe storage on logic board
 
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xWhiplash

Contributor
Oct 21, 2009
3,740
2,424
I figure the iMac Pro will get at least one more Intel refresh, because we know that the regular 27" is getting at least one more.

If we take a look at the specs of the rumored 27" refresh…
  • 10th gen 10-core i9 max CPU option
  • No more fusion drives
  • Probably 5700 XT variant, maybe with HBM, as top-end GPU option
  • Probably easily user upgradable RAM (if it's the same chassis as before)

…the lower half of iMac Pro configs and even some of the high end BTO options will be blown away by a maxed out 27", likely at a cost that's at least $1-$2k less than the entry level iMac Pro (more if counting aftermarket RAM). For people doing massively multithreaded things, there's the 14 and 18 core configs, but I suspect that now-old 14-core Xeon has minimal margins over the 10 core i9, and with the 18-core you've pushed the price up far enough that a Mac Pro should start being a consideration. In other words, if the iMac Pro remains as it is, they won't be selling very many!

If it turns out the iMac Pro is getting discontinued, I would expect its motherboard design, cooling, etc to be absorbed into the higher end models of regular 27" iMac with the upcoming refresh.

Thats the thing that is very concerning for me with the 10th gen i9 on the current iMac design. My i9 2019 iMac gets WAY too loud WAY too fast. I thought $1,000 would not make the iMac Pro worth it, but I am regretting my decision not getting the cooler system.
 
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