Back in June, 2017 at WWDC, Apple unveiled the iMac Pro. The device, which is said to release in a few weeks, features top-of-the-line specs, all in the body of an iMac.
Apple’s Mac lineup has been under some scrutiny throughout the last year
After the release of the MacBook Pro with TouchBar in 2016, professional Mac users vocalized concerns that Apple was no longer meeting or caring about their needs. This controversy led to an unprecedented move earlier this year where Apple announced that it would make a new Mac Pro, despite originally deciding not to, as well as a new Apple display.
Apple developed the iMac Pro before this decision to refocus on pro needs. And it’s Apple’s main professional offering in the new Mac lineup. While it now appears the company will continue its traditional Pro offerings, the iMac Pro remains a first step in a new era of professional Mac devices.
A10 Chip AND Intel/AMD Processors
Based on leaked source code, it now appears the iMac Pro will feature Apple’s A10 chip alongside traditional Intel and AMD processors. While Apple’s used these chips in iPhones up until now, many have speculated the company could be eyeing Macs running A-chips in the future.
A10 Chip on iMac Pro
We think the A10 on the iMac Pro sidelines certain tasks–functions that Apple knows the chip performs well (based on in the iPhone.) Based on the findings, the A10 will handle system boot-up and security processes.
Additionally, the iMac Pro appears to be the first Mac to allow for ‘Hey Siri.” That’s a function that’s dependent on that A10 chip. Because the A10 chip can securely learn information offline, it will be able to store the users voice to Apple’s standard. This opens the door for additional A-chip based iPhone features to come to the Mac in the future, such as Face ID.
The addition of an A10 to a Mac will also allow general tighter control of the Mac experience, without hurting the developer platform. A full move to the A-chip would require re-revelopment of most Mac apps, while side-loading it allows Apple tighter control alongside third-party chips from Intel and AMD.
The Future of the Mac
Now that Apple will pivot to its original strategy and will later launch a new Mac Pro, Mac mini, and Apple display, the company will have to juggle its vision for the future with devices it previously didn’t think would be included in its vision.
I believe it likely that the upcoming Mac Pro will not feature things like an A10 chip, as Apple will need to allow easy expansion for professional users, and most use cases require additional hardware such as cameras or microphones that a tower can’t include.
On the other side of the lineup, it is clear to me that Apple’s MacBook is waiting to become the first A-powered Apple laptop, and it is only a matter of time before it happens. While Apple would have to figure out how to run apps on a new architecture, the move to A-based notebooks would allow Apple complete control of a Mac for the first time, and potentially result in major invitation not previously possible on the Mac.