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The inside story of Apple's new Mac Pro

In this image, Tim Cook stands in front of a giant screen shot of an Apple product.
Apple CEO Tim Cook delivers the keynote address during the 2019 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) on June 03, 2019. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Two years ago, I was one of a handful of reporters as Apple SVP Phil Schiller and leaders of the Mac team disclosed their plan to scrap the existing Mac Pro in favor of an all-new design that was still at least a year away from readiness.

Driving the news: On Monday, the same reporters and Apple leaders gathered at WWDC to talk about the new Mac Pro and get the rest of the story.

Here are a few key takeaways:

1. That new Mac Pro was already a product with goals and a timeline when we met two years ago, though its design changed some and it took somewhat longer than Apple was anticipating.

2. Those cut-outs on the new computer's front — which some think are super cool and others think make it look like a cheese grater — are made by machining out spheres from the aluminum chassis of the Mac Pro.

  • They are functional, allowing far more air flow than would typically be possible from a front-facing grate.
  • And that design was kicking around in Apple's design labs for some time, before even the new Mac Pro was on the roadmap.

3. Redesigning its display was front and center to Apple, which put a lot of time and energy into this.

  • The display is designed to rival so-called reference monitors that cost tens of thousands of dollars.
  • Apple set up a room where we could see a number of high-end displays side by side. (Apple's looked quite nice, but I'm not qualified to judge monitors at these levels.)

4. Apple is planning a rack-mounted version of the Mac Pro. That model will use similar components and core design, but have a different chassis that goes around the core to make it better suited to a data center.

My thought bubble: Yes, these devices are extremely expensive and I too chafe at the notion of a $1,000 monitor stand. But the point here is the ambition of the product.

  • My guess is that over time there will be somewhat less expensive options, though most of Apple's focus will likely be on adding the latest and greatest to the machine, not in bringing down its price. This one really is for pros.

Meanwhile, here's a first look at that new Mac Pro (video).