The iMac Pro Is Probably Gone Forever

And that's okay

Key Takeaways

  • Apple has discontinued the iMac Pro and the 27-inch iMac.
  • The iMac Pro was supposed to replace the Mac Pro, but in the end, it didn’t.
  • iMac Pro fans can now upgrade to the new Mac Studio and Studio Display.
iMac resting on a desk with one lamp on and showing a desert

Clay Banks / Unsplash

During the flurry of distractions that was Apple's Mac Studio reveal, the iMac Pro and 27-inch iMac slipped out a side door. They're now both gone from the Apple Store, maybe never to be seen again.

The iMac Pro may have been Apple's weirdest Mac ever. Designed to replace the "trashcan" Mac Pro, it was never updated beyond a few processor changes and is now probably dead. After the Mac Studio product announcement on Tuesday, March 8, Apple discontinued the iMac Pro, as well as the 27-inch iMac—although that's more likely to return. The iMac Pro always seemed like a stopgap, but the 27-inch iMac will be missed if it never returns. 

"I can't speak to the rumors, but product-fit-wise, I think the 27-inch iMac doesn't have a spot in the lineup anymore. I think the Mac Studio and Studio Display fill that spot," Apple pundit John Gruber wrote in a blog post. 

Apple’s Oddest Mac

In 2013, Apple introduced a cylindrical Mac Pro, nicknamed the "trashcan" Mac. This tiny black tube couldn't keep up with the cooling demands of newer, hotter CPUs, and Apple left it without updates for three years before admitting its defects in 2017 (although it kept selling it until 2019). 

Apple replaced it with the iMac Pro. From the outside, this was nothing more than a Space Gray 12-inch iMac. But on the inside, it was a completely new design, ditching the hard drive and adding an incredibly powerful cooling system (a lesson learned from the trashcan design, perhaps?). This iMac, starting at $5,000, was meant to take the place of the Mac Pro until Apple changed its mind and came up with the current cheese-grater Mac Pro. 

iMac Pro with thunderbolt display

Apple

From the beginning, it was a weird computer. The all-in-one design meant it was impossible to keep the screen and update the computer. It was also impossible to add extra devices inside, like graphics cards, which is an essential feature of pro desktop computers. But the people that owned them loved them. 

But not everybody believes this is the end of the iMac Pro. 

"I wouldn't be surprised if Apple came out with another iMac Pro," technology reviewer Kristen Bolig told Lifewire via email, "but I think that if they do, it will be much different."

Now, it seems that Apple has replaced the iMac Pro with the Studio Mac and Studio Display. If you want a high-performing Mac and don't want to spend a zillion dollars on the Mac Pro, then this is the Mac for you. The performance of the Mac Studio utterly smokes the old Intel-based iMac Pro, and even when you buy it with the Studio Display, it's way less than the old iMac—at just $3.5K. 

The Mac Pro, then, is almost certainly done for. But what about the 27-inch iMac?

Big Mac

What about people who want a large-screen Mac, but don’t need a fancy, super-powered Mac Studio? They’ll probably have to wait for a while, but it seems quite likely that Apple will make a larger version of the current 24-inch M1 iMac. After all, why not? That big iMac is popular, and it’s a fantastic computer. I used the 2010 model for ten years, and it still worked great when I retired it. But maybe this is the end for that machine. The 24-inch iMac replaced the smaller-screened 21-inch model, so perhaps it’s also meant to replace the 27-inch version, too?

I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple came out with another iMac Pro.

Either way, the iMac can now go back to being itself. The iMac Pro was powerful, but you could also spec up the regular iMac to reach almost the same levels of power—only without the cooling system to support it. This always felt like Apple was trying to squeeze too much out of a machine meant for more everyday use. Why not just let the iMac be the iMac, with its cool colors, slim screen, and middling connectivity? Anyone who needs more can find it in the Mac Studio or the next Apple Silicon Mac Pro. 

So, goodbye, iMac Pro, you’re not needed anymore. You were weird, and we loved you for it.

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