Apple’s 2022 Mac Pro Refresh: What We Know So Far
Since 2020, Apple has been working to eliminate Intel chips by transitioning the entire Mac lineup to Apple silicon chips, and 2022 is expected to be the year when the transition is completed. One of the major Mac lines still using Intel chips is the Mac Pro, but a refreshed model is in the works for 2022.
This guide covers everything that we know about Apple’s plans for the updated Mac Pro.
Apple is rumored to be working on two updates for the Mac Pro. The first machine is a direct successor to the 2019 Mac Pro with its modern, lattice design and modular casing, while the second is a new addition to the lineup that’s smaller in size.
The larger Mac Pro is expected to continue to use the same stainless steel frame and aluminum housing with dual-sided logic board and easy access to the interior for adding and removing components. There’s been no word on whether the thermal architecture will change, and it will still feature the same three-dimensional interlocking hemispheres for heat dissipation purposes.
As for the smaller Mac Pro, it’s been described as looking similar to the existing Mac Pro, but with a more compact enclosure that’s half the size. It will have a mostly aluminum exterior, and Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman has said that it could “invoke nostalgia” for the Power Mac G4 Cube.
Hit-and-miss leaker Jon Prosser has claimed that Apple’s smaller Mac Pro could look like “three to four Mac minis stacked on top of one another” with a “compute unit on the bottom” and a “big heat sink on top.”
Apple Silicon Chips
According to Gurman, the larger Mac Pro will continue to be equipped with Intel chips while the smaller model will adopt Apple silicon.
Apple is developing some super high powered Apple silicon chips for the Mac Pro, but the earliest versions may not be able to compete with Xeon processors for heavy duty workloads, and there may also be concerns about software compatibility. For that reason, we could see an Intel Mac Pro and an Apple silicon Mac Pro released side by side to meet all of the needs of professional users.
The half-sized Mac Pro is expected to come with the “equivalent of either two or four M1 Max chips,” which will make it much more powerful than the 2021 MacBook Pro models that include the M1 Max chips. The first Apple silicon chip is expected to feature 20 CPU cores and 64 graphics cores, while the second more powerful chip could feature 40 CPU cores and 128 graphics cores.
Back in November, The Information said that Apple would adopt a version of the M1 Max chip that has at least two dies to support a higher number of cores than are available with the standard M1 Max in the MacBook Pro, and that future versions would have up to four dies.
For the Intel-based Mac Pro, Apple could use the Intel Lake SP chips, which are Intel’s third-generation Xeon Scalable processors. Signs of these chips were spotted in an Xcode 13 beta prior to the launch of macOS Monterey.
The Mac Pro is expected at some point in 2022, and it could be introduced as early as June, perhaps at the Worldwide Developers Conference. Apple could preview the machine at the event and then release it later this fall, giving developers some time to prepare pro software for the more powerful Apple silicon chips.