It’s been almost three months since the world was introduced to Apple’s Mac Pro desktop at the annual WWDC conference. Since then we’ve been waiting to get our grubby little paws on one to find out whether it was all that had been promised by the company from Cupertino, California. Today we finally got the opportunity to see the cylindrical creation in the flesh, or rather in the metal. The Mac Pro is the first major revision to the design of Apple’s desktop computer for professionals since the PowerMac G5 was introduced in 2006. Gone is the aluminium framed hulk and in its place stands a small, glossy, black cylinder that, at only 25cm tall, has best been described as looking almost like a small rubbish bin. It’s a radical change from Apple’s industrial design language in which almost every product is available in a svelte, precision machined silver aluminium chassis. In terms of raw specs however the new Mac Pro is far from being a rubbish bin. It’s one of the most powerful off-the-shelf desktops available and combines the latest in currently available storage, connectivity and display technologies into one package. That technology does come at a price though with local pricing confirmed at R38 999 for the entry level quad core model and R50 999 for the 6 core model. Local availability is still a bit of a mystery at the moment though but we have been told that it should be before the end of March.
Look and feel
The first thing that struck us was just how small the Mac Pro is. It’s barely taller than the new iPad Air and only about twice the height of an iPhone 5s. The glossy, black aluminium exterior is both fantastic to look at and frustratingly difficult to photograph without finding your reflection staring back at you. The gloss finish picks up fingerprints like they were coveted trophies to be displayed with pride, something that you might want to be prepared for if you are an obsessive by nature. It’s diminutive form factor makes the Mac Pro a rather dense 5kg. It surprises you when you first pick it up just how heavy the new Mac Pro actually is until you remember that it’s a desktop machine and not a notebook. Compared to other Mac Pro models of years gone by the new version is incredibly light. Having done away with the bulky frame and the array of hard disk drives that the old towers came bogged down with has shed some much needed weight Apple’s desktop champion. Because the newly designed thermal core is cooled by a single fan in the middle, the new Mac Pro is designed to only start up when the external casing is attached to maximise the airflow. But it’s because of this new design that the Mac Pro is also almost completely silent when it’s running. Any ambient noise from air-conditioning to music played at an audible level should completely drown out the murmurs of life from a Mac Pro. Until we get a chance to put one through its paces we’ll reserve judgement on whether you should consider buying one. But for now, we have a host of pics to give you more of an idea of what the Mac Pro looks like up close.