By Jason Snell
March 6, 2021 11:06 AM PT
Goodbye, parallel timeline: Apple discontinues the iMac Pro
The iMac Pro, released in 2017, is no longer being made. Apple continues to sell them while they last, but that’s it.
This isn’t a surprise. The iMac Pro hasn’t ever been updated, though Apple has tweaked some specs and dropped the 8-core model when it was completely surpassed by the regular iMacs released over the past few years.
More notably, the iMac Pro is a product from a different time, and represents a path Apple ultimately chose not to take with the Mac. When Apple announced in April 2017 it would make a new Mac Pro and was recommitting to its core pro customers, the iMac Pro was about to be announced. When it shipped that December, it felt very much like an interim step, a computer that was built as the replacement for the Mac Pro, only to have the Mac Pro survive after all. Whoops.
But because it was meant to be the ultimate pro Mac of an alternate timeline, it was great. I bought one and have had no regrets. It’s been a great three-plus years.
When you look at the iMac Pro’s assets, though, it’s clear that it has no place in the future of the Mac. Its Intel Xeon processors are impressive, but Apple makes its own processors now, and even its low-end M1 computers are within hailing distance of that three-year-old iMac Pro. It’s also been eclipsed by the high end of the Intel iMac line. Is there any doubt that an Apple silicon-powered iMac will blow the performance of the iMac Pro out of the water?
The iMac Pro’s other great asset, what set it apart from the other iMacs, was its cooling system. It kept the shape of the regular iMac but got rid of support for spinning hard drives and replaced it with a thermal system that was powerful and quiet. I know more than one person who opted for an iMac Pro over a high-end iMac solely for the peace and quiet. (Those iMacs can get loud.)
In the Apple silicon world, it seems likely that iMacs won’t need quite as much thermal capacity as the Xeon-equipped iMac Pro did. And surely the next time Apple redesigns the iMac, it won’t leave room for a spinning hard drive.
While I’m sorry that the iMac Pro is gone, I’m looking forward to the iMacs that come next. There will undoubtedly be high-end models, and Apple can even offer them in Space Gray and call them “iMac Pro” if it really wants to. The 2017 iMac Pro may be gone, but the experience of using a powerful-yet-quiet iMac isn’t going anywhere.
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