Many Apple users and fans have been hoping that the company would finally release a new version of its Mac Pro desktop PCs this year. The most recent Mac Pro was introduced in December 2013, featuring a distinctive cylindrical design, but while Apple has since introduced several new generations of its iPhones, iPads and Mac notebooks, the Mac Pro line has stagnated over the last few years.
The frustration over Apple's apparent lack of commitment to its pro-users intensified last year, when Microsoft unveiled its Surface Studio all-in-one PC, targeting creative professionals, which led some to declare that Microsoft had "out-Apple'd Apple".
Today, Apple clarified its position on the Mac Pro, reaffirming its commitment to the machine, and promising great things to come - but they won't be coming anytime soon.
The company gathered a small group of journalists for a discussion on the Mac Pro, at which it apologized for its lack of progress in developing the machine. "We're sorry for what happened with the Mac Pro," Apple's Phil Schiller said, adding: "We are going to come out with something great to replace it."
As Axios reports, Schiller also said that "the Mac has an important, long future at Apple", and emphasized that the company has "every intention to keep investing in the Mac."
Significantly, though, Apple also admitted that the current design of the Mac Pro is no longer suitable for customers' needs. Apple's Craig Federighi explained:
I think we designed ourselves into a bit of a thermal corner, if you will. We designed a system with the kind of GPUs that at the time we thought we needed, and that we thought we could well serve with a two GPU architecture. That that was the thermal limit we needed, or the thermal capacity we needed. But workloads didn’t materialize to fit that as broadly as we hoped.
Being able to put larger single GPUs required a different system architecture and more thermal capacity than that system was designed to accommodate. So it became fairly difficult to adjust. At the same time, so many of our customers were moving to iMac that we saw a path to address many, many more of those that were finding themselves limited by a Mac Pro through next generation iMac. And really put a lot of our energy behind that.
As John Gruber noted on Daring Fireball, Schiller added to that:
As we’ve said, we made something bold that we thought would be great for the majority of our Mac Pro users. And what we discovered was that it was great for some and not others. Enough so that we need to take another path. One of the good things, hopefully, with Apple through the years has been a willingness to say when something isn’t quite what we wanted it do be, didn’t live up to expectations, to not be afraid to admit it and look for the next answer.
Apple is now working on a completely new version of the Pro, with a modular design that will allow users to easily swap key components for newer, more powerful versions. On top of that, the company said that it is working on new Apple-branded displays to accompany those machines. Many believed that Apple had withdrawn from the monitor market when it unveiled 4K and 5K displays designed "in partnership" with LG - and LG-branded - at its MacBook Pro event last year.
But while this will come as welcome news for those eagerly anticipating a new Mac Pro and professional-class display, there's a long wait ahead for those new products to arrive. "You won't see any of these products this year," Schiller said. "It's important to do something great. That will take longer than this year to do."