Huge performance gains with iMac Pro
Apple announced the iMac Pro in June. The company called this “the most powerful Mac ever.”
The introduction was seen as a gesture of solidarity with its long-term desktop users who had started migrating to other platforms in response to the glacial pace of desktop Mac upgrades. Apple has also promised a vastly improved Mac Pro machine next year.
Three leaked Geekbench speed benchmarks of what appear to be Apple-customized Intel Xeon chips suggest these pro iMacs will deliver substantial performance gains, even when compared to high-end PCs from other manufacturers.
The fastest (10-core) model achieved 5,345 in single-core tests and 35,917 for multi-core performance. That’s at least 41 percent faster than the current high-end iMac. (Which, incidentally, was no slouch when I tested it earlier this year.)
It is important to note that none of these figures includes data concerning the 18-core iMac Pro Apple has also promised, which will exceed even these high scores.
Apple and the slim fast plan
We can’t be certain these are the benchmarks for the new iMac Pros, but all the main Apple rumor websites seem to think they might be.
MacRumors spoke with Geekbench founder John Poole, who suspects Apple may also have down-clocked chip speeds in order to squeeze them into the Mac form factor.
That’s not unreasonable. Apple has previously told us it developed a new thermal architecture for the system, delivering up to 80 percent “more cooling capacity.”
These iMacs will be slim, but fast.
The performance data revealed by Geekbench suggests the new iMacs will eclipse even the very best Surface Studio configurations, as you might expect from machines Apple has already promised will exceed 22 Teraflops of GPU performance.
You can explore lots more technical details concerning these new iMacs here, but Apple also hinted at a range of other interesting enhancements when it discussed the new Mac in June. These include a new Camera Image Signal Processor and 30-bit color. Think of the possibilities for iOS developers exploring augmented reality (AR) in these machines.
Back to the Mac?
The introduction of new high-end Apple desktops followed years of complaints from Mac users that Apple has become less focused on their platform. Apple has previously admitted to dropping the ball on this part of its business, particularly as it relates to the needs of professionals in its former strongholds of graphics, video and design:
“We wanna figure out how to better communicate with pros,” said Phil Schiller, Apple vice president of marketing. “We understand their jobs rely on this stuff; they make important decisions about this stuff.”
"We love the Mac and are as committed to it, in both desktops and notebooks, as we ever have been," he has also said.
Apple is now feeling the impact of a global decline in computer shipments.
Recent data claims Apple shipped 4.6 million Macs worldwide in Q3 2017, down from 4.89 million in the year-ago quarter. This represents a 5.6 percent decline for Apple in an industry that declined 3.6 percent in the period.
Wooing back high-end professionals
Think about it this way: When your mobile device does most everything you need, you really only need a computer to do the things your devices can’t do — and that means you want to invest in the most powerful machines you can get.
Apple is working hard to position its iPad as the PC for most of us; iPads and iPhones are becoming increasingly capable of performing many more of the functions traditionally transacted by computers. It is possible that serving the high-end of the PC market (as iMac Pro does) will in the future turn out to be the smartest available move.
iMac Pro (and the Mac Pro) both seem to meet high-end professional needs. With their price (from $4,999), I doubt their introduction will do too much to beef up overall Mac sales, but they will certainly help Apple begin to win back some of the hearts and minds in the creative markets it once dominated — before its Mac teams seemingly lost their way.
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Everything else in the iMac Pro pic.twitter.com/wg5R3gURoP— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) June 5, 2017