The Mac Pro ends the Apple Silicon transition, but it’s just one step in a much bigger journey

In recent years, Apple’s Macs have been on not one but two journeys. The first is obvious; it’s the company’s transition away from using Intel chips toward its own Arm-based Apple Silicon. And with the new Mac Pro announced this week, this transition is complete. Intel’s chips have been expunged from Apple’s computers.

But Apple has also been on a second journey: to build high-end machines for professional users that those pro users actually want. It’s been almost exactly a decade since Apple launched the now-infamous trash can Mac Pro, which the company failed to keep updated with the latest and greatest hardware due to its compact and inflexible design. It was a difficult era for professional Mac users working in production environments where every ounce of speed matters. 

“We made something bold that we thought would be great for the majority of our Mac Pro users. And what we discovered was that it was great for some and not others. Enough so that we need to take another path” was how Apple’s then senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller described the trash can Mac Pro during a roundtable interview in 2017

Apple made a big step toward repairing its relationship with these customers with its 2019 Mac Pro, which ditched the compact cylinder and brought back the hulking cheese grater tower design. But that model was almost immediately dated after Apple revealed its Intel processors would be a dead end. With the 2023 Mac Pro, Apple is finally combining the two key elements — chassis and chips — and could have everything it needs to leave the complaints of the trash can era in the, well, trash.

Apple’s ill-fated 2013 Mac Pro.
Image: The Verge

One of the fundamental issues with the 2013-era Mac Pro was that it was designed for a future of computing that never arrived and wasn’t equipped to deal with the hardware that did. “I think we designed ourselves into a bit of a thermal corner, if you will,” was how Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi described it in 2017 after the Mac Pro had gone three years without a spec update. “The architecture, over time, proved to be less flexible to take us where we…