Apple's new Mac Pro said to ditch expansions, arrive this fall

A new report says Apple's gunning for a fall release for its Mac Pro desktop overhaul, and that it may be closer to a beefy Mac Mini.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read
Apple's Mac Pro -- destined for a diet?
Apple's Mac Pro -- destined for a diet? Apple

As Apple's developers conference approaches, the rumors are coming hot and heavy. The latest? More scuttlebutt on the Mac Pro, Apple's one and only desktop tower, which the company has promised to overhaul and rerelease this year.

New tidbits come from longtime video producer Lou Borella, the creator of the Facebook group "We Want a New Macpro," who on Monday posted details on the changes from "a source or two that has some credibility."

The gist:

• It will be heavily reliant on Thunderbolt
• There will be no internal expandability
• It will have support for dual GPUs with three-monitor support right out of the box
• No [Firewire 800] or optical drive
• It will be released in the fall
• It will be a completely new design

While some of those details have shown up before, the rumored changes suggest something much closer to a souped-up Mac Mini than the $2,499, expandable desktop tower Apple has kept largely unchanged (physically) for the past decade. But that might not be a bad thing, according to Borella.

"To truly see any benefit in this type of configuration you have to forget what you know about your existing machine," Borella wrote. "You are going to have to believe that Apple has thought about all the possible existing workflows and has a solution that can replace them."

Another move toward a lack of user replaceable parts and an optical drive should not be surprising given what Apple has done with its other products. Optical drives have been phased out of Apple's notebooks in favor of slimmer enclosures, a move that's carried over to desktops like the Mac Mini and the latest iMac. The same goes for hard drives, which Apple has made increasingly hard for users to get to, and replaced with integrated flash storage. With that said, one of the main benefits -- and purposes -- of desktops has been the capability to open up the hood and make adjustments.

The Mac Pro is one of several machines Apple is expected to update in the near future. Others include the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, which were last updated about a year ago. A report from Apple news site MacTrast last week noted that online availability of the Mac Pro was severely limited, with many online stores listing it as backordered, or out of stock.

See also: Why Apple's secrecy is frustrating Mac Pro customers