Apple's iMac Pro at WWDC 2017

A powerful machine designed for high-end creatives and their workflow demands.
26 June, 2017
With all eyes on the WWDC 2017 in June, Apple CEO Tim Cook did not disappoint.
Cook delivered a keynote to present the new iOS improvements and features, and new products that include the iMac Pro. Scheduled for a rollout in December, the new iMac Pro is a state-of-the-art desktop work station.

The price is pretty eye-popping too. The sleek, space gray aluminium machine starts at USD$5000, but a fully loaded machine might come in north of $17,000 – an investment that makes sense for developers and designers, and includes upgrades on more than 80 percent of its processing, storage and features.
"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, in a company statement. "We reengineered 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."

This is the most powerful computer Apple has ever introduced, and the reveal at WWDC offers a window into why. The first impressions include a high "wow" factor on the 27-inch Retina 5K display, one that Apple says will support up to 1 billion colors across 14.7 million pixels. Yet that visual precision is part of Apple's holistic approach for end users who are creating virtual reality content, making movies, developing games and engaged in other demanding processes, like machine learning tasks.
Image: CNET
The iMac Pro processors are next-generation Intel Xeon with up to 18 cores, but also available in 8 and 10-core. It achieves Turbo Boost speeds of 4.5GHz, with up to 128GB of memory and impressive storage thresholds including up to 4TB of all-flash space. The iMac Pro also comes with the most advanced graphics ever offered in a Mac, and ships with the Radeon Pro Vega GPU. The machine promises 22 teraflops of GPU performance drawing on the Xeon's superior capacity for complex data.

Examples for that demand, according to MacWorld UK, would be large multilayered files in Photoshop, 3-D scenes with high texture demands and 4K video, with the added advantage that the Xeon chips can use error-correcting code (ECC) RAM, making them more reliable and crash-proof. With that power and display performance, iMac Pro users can always watch Netflix or enjoy their games too.
Image: BGR
The iMac Pro includes four Thunderbolt 3 ports, which allow simultaneous connections with two high-end RAID arrays and two 5K displays. In what is another new achievement for Apple, the iMac pro includes 10Gb Ethernet, allowing for networking that's up to 10 times faster.

One of the design challenges when delivering all that power is to keep the machine cool. At the same time, the iMac Pro needs to stay as quiet as its clientele expects. So Apple engineers – as Ternus notes – had to reimagine the thermal system with a new fan that boosts cooling capacity by 80 percent. The result, built on a new heatsink with extra venting and dual blowers, means that the machine stays cool even with its capacity for handling 500 watts, which increases by two-thirds the previous iMac system.

Yet that was achieved, the company says, without adding a single millimeter to the product or its aluminium sheath. Sold separately are the matching space gray accessories, including the wireless Magic Keyboard.
Banner image: Digital Trends