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Apple told TechCrunch that it plans to release a new Mac Pro computer in 2019 — a desktop computer that will set the tone for the developers and businesses that are critical to the company's future. (The company later confirmed the plan to CNBC.)
In fact, even if the new Mac Pro is one of Apple's least popular computers, it could be one of the most strategically important.
For consumers, Apple's brand is all about sleek, small, quiet and simple. But as Apple looks to double the size of its software and services business and expand in schools and enterprises (Microsoft's turf,) it's vital that Apple has at least one professional product that's a serious workhorse capable of pushing the envelope in augmented and virtual reality, machine learning and other large, intensive industrial projects.
Apple told TechCrunch that a new Mac Pro — a powerful, cylindrical desktop tower that hasn't been updated in years — will finally come next year. The new product will, of course, have much faster performance but will use a new framework that's been optimized around observations by top users who told Apple about common workflow bottlenecks.
Although Apple rarely forecasts future products, Mac executive Tom Boger told TechCrunch that Apple wants "to be transparent and communicate openly with our pro community."
"We know that there's a lot of customers today that are making purchase decisions on the iMac Pro and whether or not they should wait for the Mac Pro," Boger told the publication.
In short, the device seems to be a multi-thousand-dollar olive branch to some of Apple's most important and coveted customers — and those that have been feeling neglected in recent years. A year ago, Apple admitted that it had disappointed users of the previous Mac Pro, and had designed itself into a corner on the device. And the longer users waited for a fix, the more the pressure on Apple seemed to build.
Apple has recently released other high-end computers, but the MacBook Pro, for example, featured a Touch Bar that was more suited to "pro-sumer" functions like basic video editing, rather than writing code for hours at a time. Some of Apple's consumer products are also relatively hard to repair and upgrade, when many professional technologists like to upgrade individual components such as batteries, memory cards and displays.
The new Mac workflow, an executive told TechCrunch, is "super relevant for MacBook Pros, it's super relevant for iMacs and iMac Pros and in the end I think it helps us in dialogue with customers to figure out what are the right systems for you."