Apple Launches ‘Most Powerful’ Mac Pro, Reveals New iOS Releases
Apple on Monday gave partners a considerable amount to chew on as it kicked off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) with a barrage of changes and enhancements to its software platforms — iOS and macOS.
The updates will include device-specific versions of iOS and a new macOS, set to arrive this fall, but available now are technical previews for developers. Apple said it will roll out public betas starting later this month. Most noteworthy to those serving commercial customers and business users, Apple is continuing along the path it delivered last year with incremental ways to find common ground between its iOS operating system and the Mac.
In the keynote address at WWDC in San Jose, California, Apple CEO Tim Cook and his team gave more focus to the Mac this year, with the introduction of its latest operating system, macOS Catalina. A new iPadOS aims to give the company’s flagship tablet more PC-replacement features and pair better with the new macOS.
The company revealed plans to deliver what Cook described as “the most powerful Mac Apple has ever created.” The new Mac Pro is a redesigned tower and rack-mountable system powered with Intel Xeon processors, configurable with up to 28 cores and based on a six-channel memory architecture with 12 physical DIMM slots that can support up to 1.5TB of RAM, eight PCI Express expansion slots (double its predecessor) and support for up to 56 teraflops of graphics performance.
It also has new graphics expansion capability with the APX MPX Module, which can support Thunderbolt integration and up to 500 watts of power. GPU options include the Radeon 580C, the Radeon Pro Vega II with up to 14 teraflops of compute, 32GB of memory and 1TB/s of memory bandwidth, and the Radeon Pro Vega II Duo, which doubles that GPU performance.
“We have created a product that will take Mac further than it’s ever gone before,” Cook said.
While the new OS introduces new ways to share functionality across iPads, iPhones and Macs, the company is breaking down iOS further with platform versions that give more distinct capabilities with the new watchOS, iPadOS and iOS 13 for the iPhone. First reported by Bloomberg, Apple is replacing iTunes, which in addition to serving as a central app for music, video, podcast and other content, is also the tool used to synchronize mobile devices with Macs and PCs.
Apple said it’s breaking iTunes apart for Mac users into three separate apps: Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple TV Apps, while those who synchronize their devices can search for the interface via the Finder. Apple didn’t announce a replacement for iTunes for Windows; instead, it emphasized new capabilities coming to the iPad that make it and Macs with the new operating system better companions.
A new feature called Sidecar will allow iPads to function as extended displays of their Macs. Sidecar, which will support wireless connections, will allow users to use Apple Pencil to draw on an iPad and extend it to any Mac application that also supports a stylus, as well as to extend work performed with Final Cut Pro, Adobe Illustrator and editing in iWork documents.
The new Catalina macOS also introduces new accessibility capabilities with support for Siri voice recognition and control of all apps running on the Mac, which is also now available on iOS and iPadOS. The latter will bring new multitasking capabilities to iPads, such as the ability to use multiple files from the same app, a new Split View and Slide Over, providing the ability to toggle between apps by swiping.
“We have some big changes coming to iPad this year,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior VP of software engineering. “And the time has come to recognize the platform in a special way.”