Apple’s Mac Pro was introduced in 2019, and updates usually come out in increments—new graphics options here, SSD module upgrades, there, etcetera. But the Mac Pro will soon undergo a major update when Apple adds its own System on a Chip (SoC) to the workstation. This article keeps track of the reported updates for the Mac Pro, so return to this page to keep up to date with what could be coming.
2022 Mac Pro: The latest rumors
April 14, 2022: Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports that Apple is testing a Mac Pro with a “successor to the M1 Ultra,” with the codename J180. It is presumed that this Mac Pro will debut at WWDC22.
March 11, 2022: An unverified Twitter account for analyst Ming-Chi Kuo states that a Mac Pro will ship in 2023. He doesn’t offer specifics, however. It’s possible Apple could reveal the Mac Pro at WWDC in June and then say it won’t ship until the beginning of the year, though that’s a longer gap between reveal and shipping than Apple usually has.
February 6, 2022: In his PowerOn newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman stated that “several new Macs” will be revealed at WWDC22 in June, though he doesn’t state specifically what Mac models will be released. It’s possible that that event could include the Mac Pro. Gurman also that “at least one new Mac” could be unveiled at the rumored March 8 event for the new iPhone SE but we don’t think it’s the Mac Pro, which is more suited for a WWDC reveal.
August 1, 2021: In his Power On newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says a “revamped, smaller Mac Pro with Apple Silicon” is due to arrive “later next year.”
July 26, 2021: According to yuuki_ans on Twitter, Apple could release a Mac Pro that uses Intel Ice Lake Xeon W-3300 workstation processors in 2022.
July 23, 2021:9to5Mac reports that Apple is working on a new Pro Display with an A13 Bionic processor.
2022 Mac Pro: Release date
WWDC is where the 2019 and 2013 models were launched, with shipping later in the year, so we expect a WWDC preview of the new Mac Pro.
Apple said in June 2020 that it planned to transition all of its Macs to its own chips within two years. This can be interpreted as two years from June 2020, or two years from when Apple introduced the first M1 Mac: November 2022. So we can assume that, at some point before the end of 2022, the Mac Pro will gain a powerful Apple chip.
Will we see a new Mac Pro at WWDC in June then? While we don’t expect that Apple will be ready to start shipping a new Mac Pro in June 2022, we do expect that the company will take the opportunity to show off its plans for the machine at that developer event. So expect news about an even more powerful version of the M1 – or maybe a whole new chip.
However, there could be an even longer wait for the Mac Pro update. According to a tweet from analyst Ming Chi Kuo the Mac Pro and iMac Pro won’t arrive until 2023:
It’s no real surprise that the wait for Macs like the Mac Pro to start to use Apple Silicon would be so long: Apple’s high end desktops involve considerably complex development with Apple encountering more challenges. It would be no big surprised if Apple misses the deadline with the Mac Pro, especially as the industry is encountering component shortages and other delays.
2022 Mac Pro: Design and sizes
The current Mac Pro design was introduced in 2019 but we could see some changes when Apple unveils the Mac Pro with Apple silicon. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the Mac Pro that uses Apple’s own SoC will be “half the size” of the current Mac Pro, have an aluminum case, and could remind people of the Power Mac G4 Cube.
Of course those predictions came before the launch of the Mac Studio and it seems likely that the Mac Studio is what they referred to.
Gurman also reports that Apple won’t discontinue the current Mac Pro design. Given the problems Apple encountered the last time it made the Mac Pro smaller we hope that the company won’t be making the same mistake twice.
2022 Mac Pro: Processor
Those Mac users for whom the Mac Pro is targeted will be interested in the capabilities of the machine. Will Apple be able to make a processor to rival the workstation processors of Intel.
Right now the maximum CPU cores you can get in a Mac Pro is 28. It is an Intel Xeon processor. The Mac Studio can provide 20-core CPU.
In comparison AMD offers up to 64 CPU cores for some of its high-end chips for gaming PCs.
If we assumed Apple could combine two M1 Ultra we could see a 40-core CPU. This ties in with a 2020 Bloomberg report that claimed the new processor that Apple is working on for the Mac Pro will offer 32 high performance cores.
The M1 Ultra has 20 cores – 16 are high performance cores and 4 are high efficiency cores. So, combining two of these M1 Ultra could bring 32 high performance and 8 high efficiency cores, just as suggested in the Bloomberg report.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman echos these predictions in a May 2021 report where he suggests the Apple silicon Mac Pro could be available with 20 or 40 computing cores, with 16 performance cores and four efficiency cores in the former – which sounds a lot like the M1 Ultra (Apple’s codename for this SoC is Jade 2C-Die), and 32 performance cores and eight efficiency cores in the latter (codename Jade 4C-Die).
Another suggestion from Gurman is that, at least in the short term, Apple is going to have both Intel processors and Apple silicon available in the Mac Pro. Gurman has suggested that “Apple has indeed been working on an update to the Intel Mac Pro.” We assume that would be a model with the existing design but a faster processor and possibly update graphics.
According to yuuki_ans on Twitter, Apple could release a Mac Pro that uses Intel Ice Lake Xeon W-3300 workstation processors in 2022. Yuuki_ans has tweeted accurate leaks in the past but does not provide information on how this Mac Pro fits in with Apple’s silicon strategy. Brendan Shanks on Twitter has also spotted references to Intel’s Ice Lake processors in the Xcode 13 beta.
2022 Mac Pro: Graphics processor
The Apple silicon Mac Pro will use the graphics on the SoC instead of graphics cards by AMD, according to Gurman. The graphics could have 64 or 128 processing cores—that’s a huge increase from the eight graphics cores in Apple’s M1 SoC used in the Mac mini, 24-inch iMac, MacBook Air, and 13-inch MacBook Pro.
Since Apple has already launched the 64-core M1 Ultra this certainly seems probable, and if Apple is able to combine two M1 Ultra we could see a 128-core GPU in the new Mac Pro.
If Apple continues to sell an Intel-based Mac Pro models we can assume it will continue to use AMD graphics, but no reports have surfaced that cover what possible upgrades are in store if any. Nor do we know how long Apple will continue to sell non-Apple silicon Macs.
2022 Mac Pro: RAM and specs
RAM is an important consideration for creative pros. The M1 Max supports 64GB RAM (or unified memory as Apple refers to it) and the M1 Ultra supports 128GB Unified Memory. If Apple is able to combine two M1 Ultra we could see support for 256GB RAM.
However, the current Intel Mac Pro offers up to 1.5TB of DDR4 ECC memory in 12 user-accessible DIMM slots, which already places it ahead of where the new Mac Pro could theoretically be. But there is another issue that may lead pros to dismiss this machine: Apple doesn’t use typical, user-upgradable, RAM in M1-powered Macs. Instead it uses unified memory, which is quite different. This RAM isn’t just soldered onto the motherboard on the M1 MacBook and iMac—it’s built directly into the chip, making it faster and more efficient. There are certainly benefits to be had, but for users who demand customization options there may be a need to offer slots so that the RAM can be upgraded like the Macs of old. We don’t know if Apple will take such an approach with the Mac Pro, however.
But more likely is a dramatic rethinking of what a Pro desktop is. The unified memory is a big part of what makes the M1 Macs so fast, but tying the memory to the chip would drive up the purchase price significantly. The Mac Pro already starts at $5,999, but if you buy RAM through Apple it could add as much as $14,000 to the price. So if Apple doesn’t allow aftermarket memory, it’s also likely to limit the build-to-order options at checkout.
Apple currently offers up to 8TB of storage in the Mac Pro, and we expect the storage options to remain the same. The ports likely won’t change either, as Apple already offers four USB ports (two Thunderbolt 3 and two USB 3) and a pair of ehernet ports. However, the Mac Pro has eight PCIe x16-sized slots that support many different types of PCIe cards, so you can easily add more ports. We assume Apple will allow expansion slots on an M1 Mac Pro, but compatibility is a question.
2022 Mac Pro: Pro Display
When Apple launched the Mac Pro in 2019, it had a pricey companion to go with it: a $5,000 Pro Display XDR with an optional $1,000 stand. It is possible that Apple is working on an upgrade – which could be even more expensive.
Then again the rumours about a new display may just relate to the Studio Display which launched in March.
2022 Mac Pro: Price and release
The current Mac Pro starts at $5,999/£5,499 and we assume the Apple silicon-based Mac Pro will stick with that general price point. Apple’s M1 Mac prices haven’t fluctuated much from their Intel predecessors, so the new Mac Pro will almost certainly be a super-high-end machine for professionals.