Today marks five years since Apple launched the iMac Pro. The company’s ill-fated pro-level all-in-one promised the kind of performance that the “trashcan” Mac Pro could only dream of, but was itself soon thrown by the wayside. It was unceremoniously discontinued in March 2021.
The iMac Pro’s reveal was highly unusual for Apple’s standards. In April 2017, a number of senior Apple execs apologised for the state of its offerings tailored at professionals and acknowledged that the current Mac Pro could not meet those customers’ needs. To compensate, Apple announced it was working on a new Mac Pro with a modular design, a high-end display and a new pro-level iMac that later emerged as the iMac Pro.
Ultimately, though, the iMac Pro was more of a stop-gap, designed to satisfy professionals while they waited for the new Mac Pro to arrive. When that computer finally landed in 2019, its modular design and incredible power made the iMac Pro more or less obsolete. By 2020, demanding pros could opt for the Mac Pro while enthusiasts had the revamped 27-inch iMac. The iMac Pro occupied a niche that was shrinking fast, and its end was inevitable.
Yet few Apple products have had as turbulent an afterlife as the iMac Pro. Despite being dropped from Apple’s line-up, rumors have persisted that the company is due to release an updated version of the iMac Pro (perhaps simply branded as a larger iMac), with reputable sources including Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman and industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo among the idea’s supporters.
According to the rumors, the new version would come with a powerful Apple silicon chip — perhaps an M2 Ultra or M3 Ultra, putting it in the same power tier as the Mac Studio. Other rumored features include a 27-inch mini-LED display with HDR support and a 120HZ refresh rate, better port variety and maybe even Face ID.
However, it’s far from certain that a new iMac Pro will ever be released, especially since Apple reportedly considered relaunching the iMac Pro in 2021 but dropped the idea. Now that Apple has released the Mac Studio and accompanying Studio Display, it could be argued that the middle slot between the Mac Pro and the regular iMac has been filled. Is there any need for a new iMac Pro?
Only time will tell. With the rumors not slowing down, we could see a new iMac Pro as soon as 2023. Just don’t bet the farm on it.