Last week, Apple finally opened the game and – in an extremely unusual move for the company – confirmed that it will rescue the origins of the Mac Pro with a new model again focused on modularity, as was the original (affectionately nicknamed “cheese grater”) that has won over professional hordes worldwide over the past decade.
One question, however, remains: what will this new Mac Pro look like? The cylindrical design of the current model is undeniably well sexy, but part of the problem that made this iteration a card out of the deck in setups from designers, video editors, architects, engineers and other professionals – that is, because it is not modular enough, it is unlikely that it will continue in the next generation. On the other hand, I don’t see Apple reviving the design of the previous generation; it is even possible that some elements of it are brought back, but a faithful copy … extremely unlikely.
Considering all this, the Germans of Curved.de imagined a concept for the future Mac Pro and, personally, I think the result was quite interesting.
Taking as a reference the design of the “cheese grater” and also a good dose of the current Mac mini, the concept brings as its central idea two side panels that rotate slightly around an axis, revealing spaces for the main internal components. According to this idea, it would be possible to easily exchange or add video cards, storage units and RAM (there are two slots for the first two and four for memory).
At the rear of the machine, a number and variety of ports were imagined for no professional to fail – a rather harsh reminder that we are only talking about a concept and not really Apple. We have several USB-A and USB-C (Thunderbolt) ports, LAN, HDMI, FireWire and more, all illuminated by LEDs, as in the current generation. The rear also holds the button to unlock the side panels.
At the front, we have a slot for SD cards and the only idea that I consider extremely inappropriate in this concept: the designers included a vertical Touch Bar occupying much of the front face of the machine, including a Touch ID reader. You can already imagine the reasons for the failure of this idea: it presupposes that all owners of this Mac Pro would place the computer on the table, next to the monitor and an arm’s length away – which is certainly not the reality of many. In addition, the Touch Bar must have, as Apple itself has specified, the main characteristic of continuity in relation to the software that is being displayed on the main screen, which is totally lost here. No, it didn’t look cool – much more interesting is the idea of a new Magic Keyboard with Touch Bar.
Additionally, the designers also imagined a new Cinema Display – also promised by Apple – to accompany the Mac Pro. Although the completely borderless design was admittedly quite interesting, the doors right in the center of the rear would actually be a usability nightmare – not to mention the base that makes weight distribution a nightmare and would certainly make your thousands-dollar billboard tilt forward with any adjustment.
Obviously, it is worth noting that, as with any concept, engineering limitations were not taken into account here – only the designers’ imagination was the limit, so it is possible that we are talking about physically impossible or impractical solutions if put in the real world. Still, it’s good to imagine, isn’t it?