Apple Promises New Mac Pro and iMac Refreshes, Touch Bar Could Come to iMac Magic Keyboard from MacBook Pro 2016

Mac Pro 2018 and iMac Refreshes 2017

This week Apple did an unusual thing. It put three of its key executives in front of the media and had them talk the group though changes to the Mac Pro, and specs bumps on new models of the iMac coming out in 2017. In an separate post by Patently Apple contributor Jack Purcher, we also learned that the Touch Bar – so far only seen on the MacBook Pro 2016 lineup – could be coming to a new “Keyboard with an Adaptive Input Row” for iMacs.

Regarding the Mac Pro, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi and Vice President of Hardware Engineering John Ternus addressed a group of media representatives and spoke at length on how the current Mac Pro wasn’t suited to many “pro” users, and how they would – this very week – push configuration updates that would optimize the Mac Pro’s performance for existing users.

Launched in 2013, the Mac Pro had a revolutionary cylindrical design with dual GPU architecture. The trio of executives highlighted the fact that a lot of users running resource-intensive processes found that a larger single GPU worked better. But the Mac Pro isn’t designed for that.

As a result, Apple is going to pushed out updates this week that will optimize the configs on the Mac Pro, but they’re also working on a new version that’s still months away from being developed.

“We’re working on it,” says Schiller. “We have a team working hard on it right now, and we want to architect it so that we can keep it fresh with regular improvements, and we’re committed to making it our highest-end, high-throughput desktop system, designed for our demanding pro customers.

“In the meantime, we’re going to update the configs to make it faster and better for their dollar. This is not a new model, not a new design, we’re just going to update the configs. We’re doing that this week.”

The updated Mac Pros will be priced as follows:

  • $2,999 for the model featuring a 6-core Intel Xeon processor, dual AMD FirePro D500 GPUs and 16GB of RAM, and
  • $3,999 for the model with an 8-core processor and dual D700 GPUs.

In other Apple news, Patently Apple has showcased an Apple patent that shows a keyboard with Touch Bar strip right where it is on the current MacBook Pro 2016 – above the numbers row on the keyboard. The new keyboard will possibly come as an optional upgrade for the new iMacs that Schiller promised will come this year during the media gathering at Apple’s Product Realization Lab, or PRL.

magic keyboard with touch bar

The new Magic Keyboard incorporates Touch Bar functionality, but it may not be unveiled until the company is read to release the promised iMacs this year. The Magic Keyboard can also be paired with older MacBook Pro models, MacBook Air and MacBook.

For more on this, you can view Daring Fireball’s full coverage of the media gathering at Apple’s PRL, and Patently Apple’s coverage of the recently published patents.

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