The new, highly expandable Mac Pro looks like a great solution for high-end music, photography, video, and 3D content production. I wish the baseline storage capacity was higher.
The Pro Display XDR is very impressive and yes, reference monitors are really expensive (see this announcement of Atomos’ new Neon lineup, for example), but $5,000 without a stand or mount? Apple’s John Ternus seemed surprised that the WWDC keynote audience seemed to suffer sticker shock when he announced the pricing. Dell’s 32″ 8K display costs $3,900 with a stand that allows it to rotate from landscape to portrait orientation. It’s not a good option for Mac users because of the pixel density (about 280, which is too high for macOS) and a number of the specs are inferior, but this feels like Apple charging a premium just because of the logo on the back.
I’m glad Apple announced that they will be releasing both a new professional desktop and an external display. Prompted by Michael Tsai, Justin Williams, and Marco Arment and my own experience with Apple’s current (meaning wildly outdated) pro desktop, a few thoughts on future pro hardware. While my current cylindrical Mac Pro works reasonably well, redrawing to the 5K display I’m using (a now-discontinued Dell UP2715K) is janky when switching spaces or using Exposé. The display output is also sometimes horribly distorted after waking from sleep, requiring the monitor’s power cord to be detached and reattached. Not exactly “It just works”. At least it doesn’t turn off near a WiFi router. This is the third panel I received from Dell. The first one they shipped me had a horizontal line of dead pixels, then decided to render the two sides of the screen with different color saturation. The second display they shipped me had both a few dead pixels and a small scratch. To Dell’s credit, their customer service was pretty good. That said, I have never had this kind of problem with brand new display quality from Apple.
My wishes for the new Mac Pro are basically the same as Justin’s: Make it fast, include more memory in the baseline configuration, and let us max out a custom build with the most powerful GPU available. nVidia has released beta Mac drivers for their Pascal-based models, which means that at least some of the work to support them on the Mac is already done. Thunderbolt 3 (or 4) and USB-C are nice, maybe all with DisplayPort 1.4 support for driving 8K/60Hz panels.
8K Cinema Display
I hope Apple’s new stand-alone display is at least 8K resolution for all those who want to work on photos and video at as close to full size as possible while still having screen real estate for UI. 8K resolution would also provide differentiation with the 5K iMac. If Dell can produce an 8K panel with 98% of the DCI-P3 color space, surely Apple can offer something competitive. Ideally, it would be taller. If you used a 30″ Cinema Display (2560×1600), then moved to one with the more common 2560×1440 points (the UP2715K is double that in pixels), you miss the additional 160 points of height.