Sunday 23 July 2017

Apple unveils new top-end desktop computer 'iMac Pro'

(Photo: Adrian Weckler)
(Photo: Adrian Weckler)
(Photo: Adrian Weckler)
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Apple has unveiled a new top-end desktop computer, calling it the iMac Pro. I got a look at it up close at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Jose and it's one hell of a beast.

With a 27-inch display, it comes with up to 128GB of Ram and up to 18 Intel Xeon cores -- a configuration that few other computers can match.

It’s a little like getting a Porsche and adding a whack load of horsepower just for the hell of it. It’s so powerful that it can run two giant 5K monitors at the same time. (It has a 5K display itself.)

As such, it’s likely to appeal to media professionals and developers. Indeed, when we were looking at it, Apple showed off some virtual reality development systems that it said will suit the power of the new computer.

(Photo: Adrian Weckler)
(Photo: Adrian Weckler)

Although set in the familiar iMac frame, the machine comes with its own distinct look. Apple has coloured the iMac Pro in a space grey matte finish. To keep it exclusive, the company says that only iMac Pro keyboards and mice will come in this colour.

It has up to 4 terabytes of solid state storage is here and 10Gb Ethernet connections for those who really need to network their devices.

There’s very little that this sort of firepower will struggle with: you can forget about crashes or stalling antics. This will zip through multiple heavy workflows like lightning.

It won’t overheat, either, with a new cooling system that is more efficient at making sure nothing gets too toasty under the hood.

Professional photographers and videographers are going to have a field day with this thing.

Mind you, they'll have to pay for it. This is going to cost over €5,000 for the basic configuration. Apple says it's still cheap at the price when rival systems are priced against the iMac Pro's specifications.

Still, if this seems steep, Apple has updated its other iMac ranges too. All of them now have the new generation of Intel Kaby Lake processors and bumps in graphics, storage and software.

So does this mean that the iMac Pro shoves aside the Mac Pro in Apple’s future computing plans?

Nope; Apple says that it is now working on a “completely redesigned, next-generation” Mac Pro that is being built for professional users. Crucially, this will be modular, something that pro users crave. (The iMac is largely a case of what you get is all you’ll have: Apple doesn’t let you tinker about too much with adding Ram or memory.)

The only downside is that this won’t be available until much later this year, probably December.

But make no mistake: this is a new statement of intent from Apple that it’s re-injecting some nuclear firepower into its desktop Mac line.

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