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Apple unveils stunning new Mac Pro with OS X 10.9 (Mavericks)

  • Mac Pro 2013
  • Mac Pro old and new

By Barry Collins

Posted on 10 Jun 2013 at 21:21

Apple pulled off a characteristic surprise at WWDC with the unveiling of a new Mac Pro with an extraordinary cylindrical design.

The new Mac Pro was previewed alongside the new version of its Mac operating system, which has finally ditched the cats nomenclature and will be known as OS X 10.9 Mavericks.

The new Mac Pro is a black cylinder, which Apple claims consumes only an eighth of the volume of its last generation Mac Pro desktop.

Mac Pro 2013

It may be a fraction of the size, but it promises to deliver a heck of a lot more power. The 9.9in tall device will use next-generation Xeon processors, dual workstation-class AMD GPUs with 4,096 stream processors, PCIe-based flash storage, and "ultra-fast" ECC memory.

The Mac Pro will also debut Thunderbolt 2 ports, Intel's high-speed but little-used interconnect. Each of the six Thunderbolt 2 ports are capable of data-transfer speeds of up to 20Gbits/sec.

Mac Pro old and new

Apple claims the Mac Pro is powerful enough to power up to three 4K-resolution displays, but we've no idea how much all of this power and design will cost. Apple was only teasing the audience with a preview of the device, which won't appear until "later this year".

OS X 10.9

As expected, Apple also unveiled a new version of OS X. Having run out of cats to adopt, Apple's decided to use Californian place-names as its codenames for future versions of OS X, dubbing this one Mavericks.

Apple claimed the new OS has more than 200 new features. A revamped Finder allows users to apply tags to documents stored locally or in the cloud, to make them easier to locate.

Multi-display handling has been improved, so that going full-screen on one display doesn't affect the other(s), and different zoom levels can be applied to separate screens. HD TVs can also be used as secondary display for a Mac using an Apple TV and AirPlay.

A revamped notifications system allows users to reply to tweets from within the notification itself, while emails can be deleted instantly. Push notifications for iOS devices can now be sent to Macs as well.

Safari 7 introduces a smattering of new features, including a new sidebar containing bookmarks, Reading Lists and links shared from contacts on Twitter or LinkedIn. The browser automatically scrolls to the next article on the Reading List as the user reaches the end of the preceding article.

Safari 7 has also been given its own password manager, called iCloud Keychain.

OS X 10.9 Mavericks has been released to developers today.

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User comments

Let's hope this isn't another Cube.

By Alfresco on 11 Jun 2013

@Alfresco

No, it won't be another Cube - it'll be the first Tube ;)

By pbryanw on 11 Jun 2013

With this new release Apple could be on a roll.

By clickdog on 11 Jun 2013

I like it.

I genuinely like it. There I said it. Will probably need to sell a kidney to get one, but I like how it looks. Although I can't help but think that if I bought four and stuck a go-kart frame between then .... ..

By TigerUnleashed on 11 Jun 2013

Full screen apps

I know Apple likes to have a number of digs at Microsoft (some deservedly so) but are they really claiming that a new flagship feature of OS X is the ability to have Apps full screen in additional monitors?

Windows has supported this way or working for years.

By JimBre on 11 Jun 2013

Hang on a sec...

isn't that just the wheel off a longboard? I'm sure I have a set of those!

But seriously, the old design is a design classic, the new one (while fun) just looks like a bin.

By Grunthos on 11 Jun 2013

Full Screen

lol, people have been complaining that Windows apps look silly full screen on a 15" laptop, imagine how silly they will look on 3 4K monitors :-P

I find there are very few apps that I can use full screen on my 27" iMac or my dual 24" PC.

By big_D on 11 Jun 2013

How will you upgrade anything inside? It looks tiny. Where would the graphics card sit?

By wyson on 11 Jun 2013

silly Wyson

you don't upgrade a mac
you buy a new one

i imagine this design will make opening it up and upgrading damn near impossible
no more Bios flashed stock AMD cards for mac upgrades

By Emodan666 on 11 Jun 2013

Doubles as a waste bin?

Lets be honest it look like all you need do is add a bin liner and you do away with the need for a separate bin next to you Mac!

By skarlock on 11 Jun 2013

@Skarlock

with integrated shredder.

By big_D on 11 Jun 2013

@Wyson

through Blunderbolt. It has 2 x 20Gbps Thunderbolt ports, so adding additional hardware will be external.

As it is a full PCI-E bus, you can hide a cage with cards under the desk.

Hopefully you can still upgrade RAM and swap out defective SSDs / hard drives.

By big_D on 11 Jun 2013

@big_D

I had wondered if they managed to use the cooling fan as a shredder. Perhaps it uses tungsten blades? ;)

By skarlock on 11 Jun 2013

If anyone ever needs an object to demonstrate the meaning of the word 'gimmick' then this is it. Well done Apple

By NR5674 on 11 Jun 2013

@big_D

seems odd to me, to do this to their "professional" system. I had a root around my friends old macpro and everything was modular and upgradable, like a pc but better. Maybe people who upgrade their macpros are in the minority.

By wyson on 11 Jun 2013

it's form over function.

The nicest thing about the Mac Pro was that it was designed & made beautifully. Everything was readily accessible (once you knew how) and it all fitted together like proper engineering.
It was, in this sense, a BETTER PC.

This thing looks like a pathetic attempt to be 'different', without being in any way better.

O.K. so the 'beige box' is a bit boring, but the format is immensely practical, and most such Professional boxes sit inconspicuously under a table or desk, so the aesthetics are mainly irrelevant.

Perhaps 'Jony' took a day off when they designed this thing?

By wittgenfrog on 11 Jun 2013

Apple probably believe that thunderbolt will solve all the issues that this form introduces e.g. storage, GPU upgrades, etc.

It also seems in line with their believe of aesthetics over practical although I can't help but think that this would be better as an option rather than a replacement for the traditional desktop sized system especially in the professional market (although after the Final Cut controversy I'm not surprised by it).

In terms of looks (without looking at benchmarks) it seems to be impressive for it's size although it does also look like a bin.

I wonder though what professionals who rely on Macs will do? i.e. will they stick with this when they need to upgrade or switch to PCs?

By tech3475 on 11 Jun 2013

It's really depressing how many cynical remarks I've seen about this thing on this site. All the information you need is here: http://www.apple.com/mac-pro/

For me it harks back to the days of the Silicon Graphics Iris Indigo, a really cute 3D rendering workstation that served high end design and rendering needs back in the 1990s. Like the Indigo this is a highly customised design, nobody has tried to do something like this for years. It is clearly designed for performance. Why you would think you need to 'upgrade' it, when it's got such high throughput components (even the dual graphics seem to be custom boards) I have no idea. The storage is easily upgradeable through Thunderbolt, and it looks like you can upgrade the memory yourself as well. In fact it's so bleeding edge, I really wonder if you can build similar with stock components.

Also what's this with the 'bin' metaphor? I haven't seen a rubbish bin for years, and it certainly never looked like this.

By c6ten on 11 Jun 2013

@c6ten

Thanks for the link!

Having a look at the insides... its actually very rational and a bit of a wet dream.

I can see the graphics cards can pop out and be replaced. So can the ram, cpu etc like a normal pc.

God, I want one!

By wyson on 11 Jun 2013

Looks incredible

Substance and style in abundance.

Quiet, powerful, energy efficient, upgradable - What's not to like?

You'll pay through the nose, mind.

By Lemax on 11 Jun 2013

Ars Technica have a good intro

Seems like some very well designed technology and will, no doubt, be reassuringly expensive.

http://ars.to/12DvvVt

By milliganp on 11 Jun 2013

Interesting the Ars reviewer assumes he's going to be able to afford one. If it's a true workstation this seems unlikely to me. I think Apple are going up-market with the new Pros.

By c6ten on 11 Jun 2013

Nope still too 'flashy'

Good design is derived from practicality (ask 'Jony').

I've no doubt it will be a very powerful performer, and I've even less doubt it will cost a LOT!
My point is that making a totally unique design involves additional and unnecessary cost without necessarily garnering any real-world benefit, unless you count the look of the thing as a benefit.

I'm sure that the target demographic[sic]will be happy, but there'll be cheaper more potent, options elsewhere

By wittgenfrog on 12 Jun 2013

Actually I don't think Seymour Cray would have agreed with you (one of the early pioneers of super-computing). One benefit to be had from a circular layout is optimally short signal paths (rather like the Cray-1, but that also required real plumbing). I may be wrong about this, but it looks like some significant engineering has gone into it, not just 'design'.

By c6ten on 12 Jun 2013

@ c6ten

I've no doubt it's beautifully engineered, if previous Mac Pros (see my original comment) are anything to go by.

My point is that by chosing a tubular configuration a lot of 'spurious' engineering was required in order to make it work. A 'boring' rectilinear case would have obviated all that unnecessary engineering.

Of course it may be that this configuration offers many (not obvious) benefits. In which case I withdraw my objections.

By wittgenfrog on 12 Jun 2013

I must admit my memory of engineering was that it was so painstaking that you give up quickly if you find yourself doing something 'spurious'. Not sure that Apple don't have some of the best engineers in the industry, despite their reputation for smoked glass and aluminium. I saw some curious components when I looked at Apple's blow-ups, that didn't look at all standard. I'd be very surprised if they were just for show.

By c6ten on 12 Jun 2013

I should qualify that by saying that it didn't look like it was made from stock hardware. Of course they are probably using a lot of third-party silicon. But they have also said that it will be made in the US, citing subcontractors from quite a few different States, so I'd say it is highly customised on that basis.

By c6ten on 12 Jun 2013

Black Hole

I tried the link c6ten gave to view Apple's sales pitch - pitch black was the page...so is it still under wraps?
I love Apple for its genius design - they know their market well. The 'bin' may be a bit of a (oxymoron coming up) loss-leader but its the company flexing its design muscle still, despite a double-dip recession! You have to admire that, or see it as their swansong. Lets hope the patriots will still support them and not succumb to Korean immitations.

By k_feldmesser on 13 Jun 2013

Like the way they plan to deliver them

Not just a bin, a flying dustbin:
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-r0NZlls9UHw/TZPiRp5bBZI/
AAAAAAAABD4/sAymIqiqd1o/s1600/7105L.jpg
I expect Apple will soon announce they have invented the jet engine as well.

By zmail on 13 Jun 2013

@c6ten

Hm, I wonder why the circular shape was abandoned in later iterations of Cray machines and all other supercomputers since (and every other computer)? Perhaps the “optimally short signal paths” brought such a miniscule performance advantage that the practicality and functionality of a box simply outweighs it?

By TheHonestTruth on 13 Jun 2013

@k_feldmesser

“Lets hope the patriots will still support them and not succumb to Korean immitations.” [sic]

Yes, I’m sure Apple is more than happy to cash in on American nationalism/xenophobia, and those foreigners still silly enough to believe that something can be superior purely because of its country of origin.

It’ll be interesting to see if the little “Made in USA” tag really is worth its weight in gold (literally) when the price of this PC is revealed.

By TheHonestTruth on 13 Jun 2013

Short signal paths: it was just an analogy. Probably not significant. But a lot of the effort chip designers put in is to do with minimising signal paths. Not such a stretch to imagine that this is applicable at a system-wide scale, particularly with such high frequencies involved.

"Made in America" will definitely inflate the price tag. But I am sure there is third-party design and manufacturing expertise only available in the US that is not available in China. Apple being as business-savvy as they are probably have their own reasons, such as capabilities and short-supply chain that have nothing to do with patriotism.

I think that covers the points raised above. I am leaving this thread as it has run its course.

By c6ten on 13 Jun 2013

Like the way they plan to deliver them

Not just a bin, a flying dustbin:
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-r0NZlls9UHw/TZPiRp5bBZI/
AAAAAAAABD4/sAymIqiqd1o/s1600/7105L.jpg
I expect Apple will soon announce they have invented the jet engine as well.

By zmail on 13 Jun 2013

@c6ten

You are correct: for Apple it has nothing to do with patriotism, and everything to do with inflating profit margins. They are very aware of how much that simple tagline is worth.

Yes, I am sure that there is third-party design and manufacturing expertise only available in the US, just like there is expertise only available in Europe and Asia. Every modern device (including iPhones and this Mac Pro) has a bit of expertise implanted from every corner of the globe, but you won’t hear Apple boasting that the iPhone’s made in China.

Short signal paths: I wonder why Cray Titan isn’t a giant sphere or tube also? Sorry, it just smells like design for the sake of design to me.

By TheHonestTruth on 13 Jun 2013

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