macOS

Apple announces its new “real” Mac Pro and its Pro Display XDR

I remember buying my first and last Power Mac Pro many years ago. It looked gorgeous, it was blazingly fast and I used it for about eight years. Keep in mind that last figure as I take you on a city trip to the price level of the new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR.

First off, let me assure everyone who’s reading this that I would love to buy the new Apple products as soon as they are released — no, sooner, actually. Not that I need them, or could find a use for, even, but I admit to being a technology snob.

I sure would get a kick out of having a desktop workstation with Xeon processors with up to 28 cores, a memory system with a massive 1.5TB capacity, eight PCIe expansion slots and a graphics architecture that blows everything else out of the water. And, of course, Apple Afterburner, an accelerator card like only Apple can design that enables playback of three streams of 8K ProRes RAW video simultaneously. And then also the Pro Display XDR that features a 32-inch Retina 6K display with P3 wide and 10-bit colour, 1,600 nits of peak brightness, a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and a super wide viewing angle thanks to a nano-technology-based glass surface.

It would be my equivalent of owning a Koenigsegg Jesko; just as superfluous in my case, but just as prone to making others see green with envy. Especially as I would then own one of the most expensive workstations available at a total price of about $12,000 for the entry-level model (which I would, obviously, find to be too cheap).

From what I know of experience with Apple products, the reality will be somewhat more down to earth once these products are released. I have owned seven (7!) Macs since 1994 – that’s a whopping 25 years and so an average lifespan of roughly 3.5 years per Mac – and they’ve become better and better as time went by. My Power Mac Pro was the best machine I could wish for. It too had – for that time – ultra-efficient cooling, great GPU performance and formidable memory capacity. It too came with internals that Apple had designed to make it whisper silent and cooler than cool.

And it too was an expensive piece of kit, certainly when paired with the Apple Display – which was a bridge too far for my budget, leaving me with a second-choice LaCie LED-panel that gave up in the second year of its life.

My iMac mid-2011 gave up only after having served me well for eight (8!) years.

The difference between back then and now is that we find ourselves in a new era, the era of social media and a growing blur between what is our digital and physical life. This new machine – at least on paper – will allow the creatives among us to further blur the line between the two and create and develop new apps and experiences that we can’t yet imagine. And all that because this new Mac Pro is going to be so fast, there are already third parties thinking of what people will be doing with it.

With up to 28 core Xeon processors, 56 teraflops of graphics performance and the groundbreaking Afterburner card, the new Mac Pro delivers performance that will transform pro workflows. A number of pro app developers are seeing amazing results that have never been possible in a single workstation.

Blackmagic Design, for example, brings full CPU and multi-GPU accelerated 8K real-time editing, effects and colour correction in ProRes 4444 for the first time on any system.

Avid can enable support for up to six HDX cards, resulting in more IO, increased voice count and two times the real-time DSP processing than any other system can achieve in Pro Tools.

And Maxon’s Cinema 4D is seeing a 20% faster GPU rendering performance when compared to a Windows workstation maxed out with three NVIDIA Quadro RTX 8000 graphics cards.

As for the new Pro Display XDR, the specs put it on par with those of reference monitors. If you consider the price level in that perspective, the new Apple display is dirt-cheap. A Dolby Professional Reference Monitor PRM-4220 costs around $40,000.

The new products will be available in the fall.