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Here comes the sun! Will we get to see the Mac Pro. The 1st Mac Pro with Apple Silicon

With the expected date of this year’s WWDC leaked, what can we expect? The Mac Pro may be?

When and where?

Over the weekend, we heard the first suggested date for this year’s ‘dub-dub’, or WWDC. Monday 6 June currently seems favoured, and it certainly fits in with history. They have announced or shown off the latest Mac Pro before. Last year, developers received their invites on 30 March, with the 32nd event actually being held on June 7. The event used to be held at The McEnery Convention Centre when there was public in attendance. This year, it seems unlikely that the event will return to being held in front of a live audience though, so we can expect another tight, pre-recorded event from Apple Park.

So, with the very distinct possibility that invites could be sent out this week, what can we expect? Mac Pro possibly?

Developers first

The name proposes what this event is actually about. It is the Worldwide Developer’s Conference. Historically, it has been where Apple gathered developers together and worked with them to further work on software that they were looking to launch. In-keeping with that, it would seem almost certain that we will have a raft of new OS on offer. We can expect iOS & iPadOS 16, macOS 13, watchOS 9 and tvOS 16. Of course, we have only just had iOS 15.4 released with its new functionality, so the latest iteration will carry on from there.

Although we don’t know a lot about the software updates, we are seeing a raft of rumours about iPhone14, which, if to be believed, means there would be some exciting modifications. On the Pro and Pro Max phones, we expect to have a hole-punch design rather than the notch. If that is so, then it’ll require interface changes & updates. Those would include changes around the status bar and front facing camera. There possibly may be the inclusion also, of car crash technology and the much discussed emergency satellite feature. This last feature, would enable iPhone 14 users to send texts in emergencies where there is no cellular coverage available. It would also enable users to report major incidents and emergencies as well.

Mac Pro

Hardware

As mentioned, at the core of WWDC is software, but it is not unprecedented that some hardware may be, at least, discussed. There is speculation that high on the list may be three long-awaited products. I am talking about the AR/VR headset, MacBook Air and Mac Pro. I am not expecting Apple to release either of these products, rather, show them off to enable developers to develop apps for them, and in particular, the headset.

The Headset

As we know, Apple has been working on a ‘mixed-reality’ headset for quite some time. The latest leaks suggest it will be a wraparound headset, with an Apple Watch style headband and a new, soft mesh around the eyes. The overall look may be similar to an Oculus Quest, with it being lightweight a priority. The chip in it, by that time, could be M2 or M1 Ultra. It will need to be fast, that is for sure. The number of screens too is not yet certain. They will be mini OLED, high-resolution displays though, with at least two screens, and may be a third for peripheral vision. The headset will feature up to a dozen cameras recording numerous hand & body movements and will also view the outside world. There will be full-blown eye tracking and gesture-based controls. We are expecting a dedicated app store, which would explain the need to show it to developers at June’s WWDC and the price tag will be at least $3000.

MacBook Air

All sorts is promised for this entry level Mac, and it is possible that we may even see it this June. A squared of, MacBook Pro body design is coming as too are colours. Along with the new body, both MacRumours and Ross Young of Display Supply Chain Consultants are telling us that larger or at least, new screen sizes are expected as well. The latest news is that we are looking out for a 13.6 – inch and a larger, 15 – inch machine. Although DigiTimes had reported that both ProMotion technology & mini LED would be coming to the MacBook Air, Young suggests that Apple are more intent upon working to a tighter budget. It could also be the first machine to have the M2 chip inside. If that turns out to be the case, then this will be the biggest upgrade that the MacBook Air has ever seen.

Mac Pro

This, would conclude the transition to Apple Silicon, if this high-end machine was to make it’s debut in the summer. There seems to be a lot going on here. For starters, they seem to be working on a hybrid between the Mac Pro and Mac mini. This would be in addition to the Mac Pro and current Mac mini, but very much leaning towards a Pro design of the mini.

The early rumours of a much smaller design for the Mac Pro, now appears to be erroneous, as it turned out to be the newly released Mac Studio. At the recent Peak Performance event, John Ternus laid to rest any doubt that a Pro was coming, telling us clearly, “that is for another day”.

Currently, it seems likely that the design will look similar to the existing Mac Pro in outer dimensions, with the same three-dimensional hemisphere heat disbursing design. Chip wise, it clearly has to be more powerful than the existing Mac Ultra chip. It could well feature 40 CPU cores and a possible 128 graphic cores. Again, showcasing at WWDC would give developers the heads-up for them to prepare for the more powerful software. Display wise, which of course the Mac Pro requires, there could be an upgrade to the existing, and now two-year old Pro Display XDR, which was released at WWDC 2019. ProMotion and a 120Hz refresh rate is anticipated.

What are you looking out at WWDC?

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Originally published at https://www.talkingtechandaudio.com/blog on March 28, 2022.

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