If you were budgeting for the redesigned Mac Pro this year, you'll want to earmark that money for something else. Apple has revealed to TechCrunch that the modular workstation is now slated to ship in 2019, rather than sometime in 2018 as many expected (though it was never set in stone). The company is providing the heads-up now so that customers who need a system soon can buy an iMac Pro without worrying that the Mac Pro might be right around the corner, according to Hardware Engineering VP Tom Boger. It might be worth the wait, however -- as Apple explained, it's shaping the system based on its potential customers.
Apple has created a Pro Workflow Team that helps it optimize its hardware and software based on real production chains, not just abstract goals. The company has hired creatives in 3D animation, music, video editing and visual effects to have them produce real projects and pinpoint the "bottlenecks," whether it's the computer design or an app feature. This team already helped improve performance on the iMac Pro, but it's also "informing the work" on the Mac Pro, Boger said. The company is also listening to outside pros (including companies like Adobe), to be clear -- the Pro Workflow Team just gives it direct, constant interaction.
The push to 2019 isn't going to please creatives who want a headless machine and will have gone six years without a significant hardware revision. And there are still questions as to whether or not Apple will truly address what pros want. Does modularity mean a tower with room for internal expansion (such as audio interfaces, drive bays and multiple graphics cards), or will Apple expect pros to attach external GPU enclosures and other outside peripherals? While it's good to know that Apple is genuinely investing in and responsive to the pro crowd, there's no certainty that the 2019 system will satisfy those who've considered switching to Windows- or Linux-based rigs to get the features they want.