Why there is no Mac Pro refresh

Apple did not announce new Mac Pro during its WWDC 2012 keynote. But soon after the event, the spec for Mac Pro on Apple’s online store got a speed bump, from old 6 core 2.93GHz Intel Xeon X5670 to 6 core 3.06GHz Intel Xeon X5675. Many Mac power users are not happy as there is no upgrade to at least Sandy Bridge E processor, there is no Thunderbolt port and there is no USB 3 port. Apple simply just bump the processor speed, and Mac Pro is stuck in year 2010 when it was last refreshed.

Fans of Mac Pro get a breather as Tim Cook has confirmed that a real Mac Pro refresh is coming in 2013. So the real fact is Mac Pro refresh is being delayed.

We speculate that one of the main reason for the delay is a rethink on Apple’s side on its desktop line. Mac Pro line when launch next year might finally get a new look. Arstechnica has written a well-researched article speculating the future Mac Pro, and we think the article hits the right spot about the complexity of designing Thunderbolt in Mac Pro, and we believe this is the main cause of the delay. 

The complicating issue is that Thunderbolt not only carries high-speed PCIe data, but must also carry DisplayPort video as well. On all other Macs, GPUs—whether integrated or discrete—are fixed. This makes it easy to pipe the DisplayPort output to the Thunderbolt port, which serves as both a high-speed interconnect as well as the connection for an external monitor. The Mac Pro, on the other hand, has removable PCIe-based graphics cards. How will Apple get the output of these cards into the Thunderbolt controller?