Apple’s 2022 Mac Pro refresh: What we know so far
Since 2020, Apple has been working to phase out Intel chips by switching the entire Mac lineup to Apple silicon chips, and 2022 should be the year the transition is complete. One of the main Mac lines still using Intel chips is the Mac Pro, but a refreshed model is on the way for 2022.
This guide covers everything we know about Apple’s plans for the updated Mac Pro.
Apple is rumored to be working on of them updates for the Mac Pro. The first machine is a direct successor to the 2019 Mac Pro with its modern lattice design and modular enclosure, while the second is a new addition to the lineup that’s smaller in size.
The larger Mac Pro is expected to continue using the same stainless steel frame and aluminum enclosure with a double-sided motherboard and easy access inside to add and remove components. It’s unclear if the thermal architecture will change, and it will still feature the same three-dimensional nested hemispheres for heat dissipation purposes.
As for the smaller Mac Pro, it was described as looking like the existing Mac Pro, but with a more compact body that’s half the size. It will have a mostly aluminum exterior, and Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman said it might “evoke nostalgia” for the Power Mac G4 Cube.
Apple’s smaller Mac Pro might look like “three to four Mac minis stacked on top of each other” with a “computing unit on the bottom” and a “big heat sink on top”.
Apple silicon chips
According to Gurman, the larger Mac Pro will continue to feature Intel chips while the smaller model will adopt Apple silicon.
Apple is developing very powerful Apple silicon chips for the Mac Pro, but early versions may not be able to compete with Xeon processors for heavy workloads, and there may also be software compatibility issues. Because of this, we could see an Intel Mac Pro and an Apple Silicon Mac Pro come out side by side to meet all the needs of business users.
The half-size Mac Pro is expected to come with “the equivalent of two or four M1 Max chips”, which will make it significantly more powerful than the 2021 MacBook Pro models that include the M1 Max chips. Apple’s first silicon chip is expected to feature 20 processor cores and 64 graphics cores, while the more powerful second chip could feature 40 processor cores and 128 graphics cores.
Back in November information said Apple would adopt a version of the M1 Max chip that has at least two dies to support a higher core count than available with the standard M1 Max in the MacBook Pro, and that future versions would have up to with four matrices.
For the Intel-based Mac Pro, Apple could use Intel Lake SP chips, which are Intel’s third-generation Xeon Scalable processors. Signs of these chips were spotted in a beta version of Xcode 13 ahead of macOS Monterey’s launch.
The Mac Pro is expected sometime in 2022, and it could be introduced as early as June, possibly at the Worldwide Developers Conference. Apple could preview the machine at the event and then release it later this fall, giving developers time to prepare professional software for Apple’s more powerful silicon chips.