Were you worried that Apple wasn’t going to ship the iMac Pro before the end of 2017, as the company had promised it would? Put your worries to rest, since Apple has now updated the iMac Pro’s Web page to indicate that it will be available on 14 December 2017. The new machine is aimed at professional Mac users, especially those editing video or creating virtual reality content.
The iMac Pro starts at $5000, and besides coming in a cool space gray design, it has serious specs, including:
- 5K Retina Display
- Intel Xeon CPU with 8, 10, or 18 processor cores (the 18-core model won’t ship until 2018)
- 32, 64, or 128 GB of 2666 MHz DDR4 ECC memory
1, 2, or 4 TB SSD
Radeon Pro Vega 56 graphics processor with 8 GB of HBM2 memory, which can be upgraded to a Radeon Pro Vega 64 graphics processor with 16 GB of HBM2 memory.
Also, it features four USB 3 ports, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, 10 Gbps Ethernet using RJ-45 connector, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, a SDXC card slot, and yes, a 3.5mm headphone jack. There are four microphones on the case, along with stereo speakers.
For input, it comes with a Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad and a Magic Mouse 2, with the option of exchanging the Magic Mouse for a Magic Trackpad. All accessories are space gray, even the optional Magic Trackpad, but choose carefully, since you cannot yet buy them individually.
As seems to be Apple’s preference lately, some of the first people to get review units were YouTubers.
In Jonathan Morrison’s video, he inexplicably set his iMac Pro up outside, without any sort of cover or weather protection, as one does with a $5000+ machine. After that, he talks at length about the space gray finish and how the various accessories he has arranged around the iMac Pro complement it aesthetically (or not).
Marques Brownlee more sensibly put his iMac Pro indoors, and his video is a pretty good analysis of how it works for video production with the latest version of Final Cut Pro X.
Brownlee points out a major drawback of the iMac Pro: it is completely sealed and not upgradeable. Unlike the regular 27-inch iMac, you can’t even upgrade the RAM. However, he also points out that for the hardware you get, “I don’t think the price is that insane.” He also praised the iMac Pro’s low noise and temperature.
If you’re hoping for an upgradable professional machine, your best bet is to hold out for the promised modular Mac Pro redesign, which Apple said would appear sometime after 2017. The company has given no hints as to what it will look like, how much it will cost, or what its specs might be.
London-based video editor Thomas Carter wrote up his initial impressions for Randi Altman’s postPerspective. In short: “These tests really blew me away. They aren’t necessarily going to be everyday scenarios for most people, or even me, but they make it possible to imagine editing workflows in which you’re working at close to the highest quality possible throughout the entire process… on a desktop computer.…While I really haven’t had enough time to do a deep dive, it’s clearly the best Mac I’ve ever used — it’s stupidly powerful and great to work on.”
At least one developer received an early iMac Pro: Craig A. Hunter of Hunter Research and Technology, who tested the iMac Pro with a number of NASA tools for aerodynamic design and development. He sums his review up with:
There’s an old saying about money burning a hole in one’s pocket. Every once in a while, a product comes along that has a similar but reverse effect on me — it’s a product that’s so compelling, so exciting, so gorgeous to look at, that it causes my wallet to heat up and maybe even burst into flames. The new iMac Pro is one of those products.