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New Mac Pro 2016 release date, specs & new features rumours

Karen Haslam | June 24, 2016
El Capitan code hints at new Mac Pro

The Mac Pro is due for an update. The current Mac Pro was announced three years ago at Apple's WWDC conference in June 2013. (Although it took another six months before Apple started selling it, and a few more months for some customers to receive their machines.) For a top-of-the range system, the Mac Pro is starting to look pretty long in the tooth. But when will Apple unveil a new Mac Pro? And what improvements, design changes, spec and new features will we see in the new Mac Pro?

The good news, for those hoping to upgrade to a new Mac Pro soon, is that code in El Capitan hints that a new Mac Pro with 10 USB 3 ports could arrive soon. But nothing is certain at this point, and some pundits believe the Mac Pro should simply be discontinued. A Mac Observer story, in fact, suggests that it's been a flop. It might just be time for Apple to go back to the drawing board.

New Mac Pro 2016 rumours: Release date

As usual, Apple hasn't announced an official launch date for the next generation of Mac Pro systems. It was widely suspected that a new Mac Pro would debut at WWDC 2016 - after all, the current Mac Pro was unveiled in a WWDC keynote speech three years ago - but WWDC 2016 turned out to be a software-only zone. (There was lots of news about the forthcoming macOS Sierra operating system and what that means for your current Mac.)

Apple isn't likely to send out invitations to the press until a week to 10 days before the Mac Pro launch event actually happens, and even then, it won't tell us what's about to be announced until the moment it gets announced. So we'll have to do a bit of detective work.

New Mac Pro 2016 release date & new features rumours

El Capitan code hint

First up, code in OS X El Capitan offers a hint that a new Mac Pro may be on its way soon. There's a reference to a new Mac that's codenamed "AAPLJ95,1" within El Capitan, according to Pike's Universum.

The current Mac Pro is similarly codenamed AAPLJ90,1 so it's plausible that the code refers to a new version of the professional-level workstation.

Another clue that this is the Mac Pro is the fact that the code hints that there are 10 USB 3.0 ports on the new machine, and only the Mac Pro has anywhere near that many ports. (Currently there are 4 USB ports and 6 Thunderbolt 2 ports on the Mac Pro, while the iMacs have 4 USB and 2 Thunderbolt.) We think that adopting Thunderbolt 3 on the Mac Pro may make more sense as it brings Thunderbolt to USB-C at 40Gbps for the best of both worlds. More on that below.


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