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Apple iMac Pro

Computer
Published June 2018
By Mark Wherry

Apple iMac ProPhoto: Magnus Pettersson

Despite the iMac moniker, the iMac Pro is a very impressive machine. Is it the computer that Mac‑based musicians and audio engineers have been waiting for?

I don’t think it would be unfair to suggest that Apple’s strategy for professional desktops has been rather confusing over the last few years. In 2013, perhaps due to the pressure of not having significantly upgraded the Mac Pro in three years, the company made the somewhat unprecedented move of presenting a ‘sneak peak’ of the next‑generation model.

Released into the market six months later, the new Mac Pro was quickly dubbed — and not with a sense of affection, I think — the ‘trashcan’. It was a bold design choice, to be sure, eschewing internal upgradability in favour of external expansion connected via Thunderbolt. But Apple ended up creating a system that even the company themselves couldn’t upgrade: no new Mac Pro model based on this design ever appeared.

Last year, in April, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller, admitted the company were “completely rethinking” the Mac Pro, conceding that while the trashcan had suited some professional workflows, it hadn’t succeeded in others. He went on to say that Apple were in the process of developing a new, ‘modular’ Mac Pro, now scheduled for release next year. However, what wasn’t disclosed in this discussion about the company’s future ‘pro’ Mac plan was that, in typical Apple fashion, they had ‘one more thing’ up their sleeve. Two months later, at the company’s 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference, the iMac Pro was announced.

Hello, I Am iMac Pro

Though nearly physically identical to the regular 27‑inch iMac, the iMac Pro is distinguished by its Space Grey finish. This appearance is carried through to the supplied Magic Keyboard (with a numeric keypad), the optional Magic Trackpad 2, and the black — sorry, I mean Space Grey — Magic Mouse 2.

The keyboard has the same feel as the so‑called Butterfly mechanism Apple use on the latest MacBook Pros, and I have to say that I’m not a fan. There’s less key travel, and it feels a bit like playing the harpsichord in that you can feel the click of the key as you press it. Admittedly, whether you like the feel of the keyboard or not is obviously a personal preference, and you can always...

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Published June 2018