Hands on with the new Mac Pro

4 June 2019

Another perk of attending WWDC this year was that a few of us were lucky enough to be granted access to a one day exhibition across the road where Apple demo’d their new Mac Pro masterpiece in person.

Shortly after the Keynote, Apple allowed attendees to ‘request access’ to their Mac Pro exhibition in the San Jose Civic building. This was the first and only time anyone would get the chance to view the new device up close, prior to its release later in 2019. Not all of the 5000 WWDC attendees would have the chance to go see the new beast, however I was lucky enough to be given a ticket by Apple.

The Civic centre had been completely remodelled inside, and turned into 6 distinct ‘rooms’ – each demonstrating the Mac Pro in a different creative settings. This whole setup was geared to the agency market (and likely how I got my ticket) and was purely focused on demonstrating how Apple’s new high end $5999 machine (entry costs, excluding its screen) would operate in the work place.

The first room to the left was geared towards photo editing. A professional photographer and female model posed for the camera, whilst a Pro Display XDR displayed the Ultra HD images and demonstrated its pixel clarity down to and beyond each eyelash, hair and follicle. Several Mac Pro’s sat around the edge of the room whilst Apple employees demonstrated its photo editing capabilities in real time, answering questions and showing off the power of the device.

Next up, the room opposite featured a robotic arm, similar to what I would imagine a car manufacturing plant would contain. This time, the robot arm rotated around an antique looking object, video recording in UHD. Demonstrating the video capture and editing capabilities of the Mac Pro, several screens presented multiple ultra HD footage simultaneously, playing back the video, whilst adding effects in real time.

Walking deeper into the building, several Apple style benches occupied the central room: housing only aspects of the Mac Pro’s frame and Display Stand. An Apple employee hands you an iPad, and in a similar fashion to the Apple Park demo, you can interact with the bench and view the inside of the Pro thanks to AR.

Round the corner, two more rooms focused on music capture, post music production and live audio recording. The final room focused on AR, CGI and 3D modelling – with Apple again handing out iPads for you to experience their AR demos.

As for the product it’s self, it is a thing of beauty. The video and imagery during the keynote the day before as well as on Apple’s website doesn’t do the Mac Pro any justice. Firstly, it is large, much taller than I had expected. Apple has designed it to contain a lot of expansion room and ventilation for air cooling. Secondly, it shines and sparkles. The aluminium is brushed in some areas whilst polished In others, giving it an awesome and expensive looking finish.

The precision cut sides appear to look like two distinct layers in the images shown during the keynote. However in reality, when viewing it in person, it quickly becomes clear that the ‘lattice’ is actually a solid piece of metal with cut out semi-circles with three further cut outs within each at multiple angles. Not only does it provide much needed air flow to the Mac’s internals, but it is also a thing of mesmerising beauty.

The back of the Pro Display XDR also contains this lattice design – which whilst it looks cool, it is such a shame that for most people, few will get to appreciate its design being on the rear of the device.

The handles and frame are ridge and strong, and it’s optional ‘wheels’ are amusing but functional. Overall, if you can afford the price tag and need a powerful desktop machine, this is the one for you. It’s sheer power alone is enough to convince most pro users – providing you can cough up $5995 for the entry level machine followed by a similar amount for the screen… oh and did I mention the screen doesn’t come with its stand? That’ll be another $999 for that.

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