Apple debuts iMac Pro with beefy specs, real ports, $5K starting price

Hardcore Mac fans may have had their fingers crossed for the return of the Mac Pro, but an extra “i” slipped in there somehow, and Apple instead has produced an iMac Pro. It’s a wallet-busting all-in-one workstation, and it looks handsome and sinister in a dark grey finish.

The iMac Pro has more or less the same look and feel as the 27-inch, 5K iMac we first saw in 2015 (though now it’s more like the $5K iMac, am I right?). But the engineers at Apple have once again reinvented the thermal qualities of the case — hopefully a little more carefully this time — in order to accommodate some hot new specs.

You get an Intel Xeon processor and, depending on how much you love cores, you get 8, 10 or 18 of them. The GPU is a Radeon Vega setup with up to 16 GB of VRAM — great for developers, especially in VR. Perhaps excessive is the up to 128 GB of system RAM you can get, but I’m sure someone out there is saying “finally!”

The one spec that didn’t really impress is the storage. A 4 terabyte SSD will fill up mighty fast if you’re really doing the HD video editing and game development Apple expects you to. External drives, NAS units and all that other stuff will be must-have add-ons.

Considerately, there is a nice little spread of ports on the back:

That’s your SDXC port, 4 USB 3 ports, 4 Thunderbolt (not Lightning) ports, Ethernet and — is that a headphone jack? Courageous!

It’s a nod to the professionals who love Macs but were dismayed by the recent MacBook Pro refresh making a clean sweep of all the “legacy” ports — i.e. ports used by millions in industries where “legacy” hardware and software is deeply embedded. Had Apple released an iMac Pro with 8 Lightning ports I think there might have been riots.

The price for this beast of a computer starts at $4,999 for a base configuration and, as you might imagine, rises precipitously from there. (Apple was careful to compare it to similarly priced workstations, not all-in-ones or ordinary desktops.)

“That iMac pro really is pretty badass,” said Tim Cook after the reveal. It ships in December.