New iMac Pro designed for machine learning, VR and real-time 3D rendering

Apple has previewed its new iMac Pro, a “workstation-class product line designed for pro users with the most demanding workflows”. The all-new machine, with a 27-inch Retina 5K display, up to 18-core Xeon processors and up to 22 Teraflops of graphics computation, is the most powerful Mac ever made. Featuring a space grey enclosure, Apple says the iMac Pro “packs incredible performance for advanced graphics editing, virtual reality content creation and real-time 3D rendering”.

In addition to the iMac Pro, Apple said it was working on a “completely redesigned, next-generation Mac Pro, architected for pro customers who need the highest-end, high-throughput system in a modular design”, as well as a new high-end pro display. Earlier this year, Apple invited bloggers to a briefing where senior executives said they had misjudged what users were looking for from the last Mac Pro, the cylindrical design of which was admired but whose functionality aged rapidly.

The iMac Pro appears to be recognition of that model’s failure and that many professional users have been making do with iMacs, or increasingly switching to Windows-based machines. “We’re thrilled to give developers and customers a sneak peek at iMac Pro. This will be our fastest and most powerful Mac ever, which brings workstation-class computing to iMac for the first time,” said John Ternus, Apple’s vice president of hardware engineering.

“We re-engineered the whole system and designed an entirely new thermal architecture to pack extraordinary performance into the elegant, quiet iMac enclosure our customers love — iMac Pro is a huge step forward and there’s never been anything like it.” Wired described it as Apple’s “most bonkers computer ever“.

Apple also announced an upgrade to all its MacBook and current iMac models. The biggest change is the processors, which Apple bumped up to Intel’s more efficient and battery-friendly Kaby Lake chips. New iMacs will be able to handle double the RAM of last year’s models, and the Fusion drive is standard on the 27-inch model, with storage up to 2TB.  The new Macs are available now, and the iMac Pro will follow in December.