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Mac Pro Rumors: Could an M1 Ultra Desktop Tower Arrive June 6?

Apple's WWDC 2022 might bring a new version of the workstation.

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The $400 wheels of the Mac Pro.
James Martin/CNET

This story is part of WWDC 2022, CNET's complete coverage from and about Apple's annual developers conference.

The Mac Pro, Apple's desktop workstation, arrived in 2019 -- and it's a safe bet that a new version will launch in 2022. It didn't happen at Apple's March event, where the company introduced the Mac Studio desktop plus the option to power it up with the M1 Ultra chip

But some sort of M1 Ultra Mac Pro is likely on the horizon -- Apple hinted as much back in March. And a few rumors continue to circulate as we head into the company's developers conference, WWDC, on June 6.

We've paired Apple precedent with our own analysis to arrive at some good guesses for what the M1 Mac Pro could look like.

Read more: Everything Apple Announced: Mac Studio, iPhone SE, iPad Air and More

When will the new Mac Pro be announced?

We're almost certain a new Mac Pro will come this year -- the Mac Pro and iMac 27-inch are the last models left for Apple to hit its self-imposed two-year deadline to complete the switch from third-party processors to its own. And Apple discontinued the 27-inch iMac.

Apple filed three new Mac computers in the Eurasian Economic Database, according to French site Consomac. There is little information about the potential new product (including whether the Mac Pro was one of the models filed), but this could hint that Apple will be releasing new computers in addition to the new Mac Studio fairly soon. Some will arrive sometime in May or June, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, a seasoned Apple-watcher.

If there are any new or unique capabilities that Apple's planning to add with the annual operating system update, software developers need to be the first to know, and that's what WWDC is for. The system itself probably wouldn't ship until October at the earliest.

What will be new?

This is anyone's guess at this point. Apple needs to continue to support its existing installed base of Mac Pros with upgrades, because one of the points of a high-end, upgradable system like this is that it lasts more than a few years. That probably means Apple won't redesign the chassis significantly, especially given that Apple updates its hardware designs infrequently under normal circumstances. 

To switch to its own processors from the Intel Xeon CPUs and update to more modern, high-bandwidth standards (like PCIe 4 and DDR5) probably requires a redesigned motherboard, hopefully still retaining the socketed CPU design. We've yet to see how Apple plans to scale its M1 lineup to a system that traditionally relies on discrete graphics and more than the 10 CPU cores in its current M1 Max as well. Will Apple have a line of increasingly powerful single-die CPUs or will it double and triple up on the existing M1s? Will it create new graphics modules by spinning off the GPU integrated into the M1s or will it continue to rely on AMD's Radeon Pro GPUs? Inquiring minds want to know.

There are rumors about the M1-based 32-inch iMac with a high-end display and an updated Mac Mini, but we've also been waiting patiently for a less pricey version of its Pro Display XDR; though something along those lines seems to be in the works, word has it that we won't see it until October thanks to supply issues. That might mean a midrange Mac Pro, which would be great, unless that's the spot Apple designed the Mac Studio to fill. Given that the Studio's not upgradable, it doesn't fit very well with the Pro's market.

Now playing: Watch this: Mac Pro: Everything you need to know
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When will we be able to buy a new Mac Pro?

In all likelihood the answer is this year, though the new Mac Pro desktop could possibly be in limited supply until early next year if the supply chain crunch continues for too long.

For more Apple rumors, check out CNET's iPhone 14 rumor roundup. And here's how to watch the WWDC keynote on Monday.