2022 Mac Pro workstation outlook: no major design changes, self-developed chips in doubt
From 2019 to now, Apple has been slow to announce an update for its desktop workstations. While little is known about its release date, specifications and possible upgrades, it is widely expected that this will change in the near future. As part of a two-year plan to transition to its own Apple Silicon chips, Apple is rumored to be releasing a new Mac Pro and 27-inch iMac during 2022.
French website Consomac points out that Apple has submitted three new Mac models to the Eurasian Economic Commission. Even if it's impossible to predict whether the Mac Pro will be one of them, it does at least suggest that we're getting pretty close to a new release.
According to Mark Gurman, a senior Apple watcher at Bloomberg, at least one of the new Macs will be available in March 2022, while the rest of the models may not arrive until May or June.
Some speculate, however, that Apple may reveal more details at its annual WWDC 2022 developer conference in June.
After all, the March launch is usually more focused on educating the market. And the supporting system software may not be officially pushed until October.
The high-end positioning and upgradable nature of the Mac Pro workstation also means that customers will use it for years, as opposed to electronic devices that are always being replaced. In this scenario, Apple will not significantly redesign the chassis and internal hardware.
The biggest variable is the specification upgrade of Intel x86 Xeon processors. If you want to support PCIe 4.0 / DDR5 memory while retaining the slot CPU design, you will have to redesign the motherboard.
In the meantime, we have yet to see any indication from Apple that it wants to extend the Apple Silicon M1 chip to workstations -- in particular, how will it deliver strong graphics performance through core graphics, or introduce support for AMD Radeon Pro solo graphics?
Finally, there are rumors that the M1-based 27/32-inch iMac will be upgraded with a higher spec display and (with a new Mac mini), but many are also expecting Apple to introduce a more affordable Pro Display XDR display.
Unless Apple intends to replace it with a new Mac mini, the likelihood of a mid-range Mac Pro is still quite high. As for the release/launch date, the supply chain shortage continues to affect the limited availability of the next-generation Mac Pro, perhaps until at least early 2023.