iMac Pro Powered by Apple's T2 Chip to Enhance MacOS Security

When the iMac Pro It was still just a promise and no one had actually put his hands on it, rumors surfaced that it would have an A10 Fusion processor (created by Apple and present on the iPhones 7 and 7 Plus) besides an Intel chip. Such a processor would be responsible for handling macOS startup and security. Now that the iMac Pro has been announced and tested by a few handpicked by Apple, more information has emerged.

In fact, the sturdiest desktop ever created by Apple is equipped with a T2 chip a generation above the chip present on the Touch Bar MacBooks Pro, the T1. Except that while in the notebook the processor is responsible for running a simplified version of watchOS (touch bar system) and for storing Touch ID information in Secure EnclaveIn iMac Pro he definitely took on more security responsibilities.

Details were shared by Cabel Sasser, co-founder of developer Panic (creator of Coda and Transmit apps), who was unexpectedly one of the lucky ones to test the machine.

1 – Design. This is obvious, but the space gray hardware is super cool. (The finish of the Magic Mouse even resembles the back of the iPhone X is really hard to show in photos, so brilliant, but maybe you can watch it).

In addition to enhancing the design of the space gray hardware and accessories, the speed (for both professional tasks and play), Sasser has confirmed the presence of the T2 chip and that he is responsible for integrating components such as SMC, ISP from FaceTime HD camera, audio control, SSD control, Secure Enclave and a hardware encryption mechanism.

2 – Speed. We tried to compile one of our major Xcode projects on iMac Pro (10 core Xeon W, 3GHz) and our standard Mac Pro (6 core Xeon E5, 3.5GHz). Sure, the old Mac Pro, but the iMac Pro compiled the project 41% faster. A very sincere leap.

3 – Games. We ran Firewatch to test the iMac Pro (Radeon Pro Vega 64) against my current iMac 5K Retina (Radeon R9 M295X). At 25601440 pixels, the iMac stood at 25FPS, the iMac Pro at 62FPS!

In practice, the new chip makes storage encryption keys pass from Secure Enclave to the hardware encryption mechanism on the chip, causing the key never to leave the chip. In addition, T2 allows hardware verification of the operating system, kernel, startup, firmware, etc.

Chip T2 taking on security tasks in iMac Pro

To take advantage of the T2 chip, iMac Pro's macOS High Sierra includes a new option called “Startup Security Utility” (something like "Safe Boot Utility"). Here, users can even enable a firmware password to prevent a computer from booting from a different hard disk or CD / DVD without the password.

The system also gained new "Safe Boot" options (total, average or none). When “Full Security” is enabled, the system ensures that only the latest and most secure software can be executed, requiring a network connection during software installation. There is also the option "External Boot", in which we can disable or not the possibility of booting from USB or Thunderbolt devices.

Strangely, there is still nothing about the possibility of this processor enabling the "And a, Siri" feature that had been commented on something that everyone took for granted, since references to this were found in the system. In short, almost everything that was speculated about an Apple chip inside the iMac Pro actually just got it wrong: instead of the A10 Fusion, we got the T2.

via AppleInsider