Popular YouTubers go hands-on with the new iMac Pro ahead of December 14 launch

Apple’s new all-in-one desktop computer aimed at creative pros, the 27-inch iMac Pro, goes on sale this Thursday starting at $4,999 for the base model. Ahead of launch, popular YouTubers Jonathan Morrison and Marques Brownlee released their respective hands-on videos.

Spending a week with Apple’s latest machine, Brownlee and Morrison were fairly impressed by the system’s souped up specifications and internal upgrades, like the multi-core Xeon chips, up to 128 GB of ECC DDR4 2666MHz RAM and up to 4TB of speedy SSD storage.

On the outside, this new iMac Pro is almost exactly the same like any other iMac, save for a Space Gray finish on the enclosure and the included wireless keyboard and mouse (hopefully, Apple will soon make the Space Gray keyboard and mouse available standalone).

But don’t let the looks deceive you, the new iMac Pro packs in some serious oomph.

The machine Apple loaned to Brownlee is a 3.0 GHz 10-core Intel Xeon W system with 128 GB of RAM, 2TB of ultra-fast flash storage with a throughput of 3 GB/s and AMD’s powerful new Vega Pro 64 graphics with 16 GB of video RAM.

8-core and 10-core models go on sale this Thursday, as Apple announced this morning, but higher-end models with 14-core or 18-core Xeon chips won’t ship until early next year.

Brownlee didn’t have any major complaints about the new iMac Pro except for its relatively high price and the all-in-one design preventing user upgrades. For those wondering, Brownlee priced out a roughly equivalent PC that came out to around $5,100.

Obviously, many iMac Pro parts are brand new so you can’t do it one for one. “For the hardware inside and the actual specs you’re getting, it’s actually a fairly priced machine,” Brownlee said.

As for user upgrades, even the door at the bottom for quick access to the RAM is gone now. In other words, the new iMac Pro is a completely sealed, non-upgradeable machine.

A desktop that prevents you from swapping out storage, processors, graphics, memory or other components is not really a true pro machine. That said, the new iMac Pro is a viable option for high-end users in the need of a major upgrade who cannot afford to wait until Apple delivers its highly modular full-desktop Mac Pro redesign some time next year.

“The long story short, I really like it so far,” Brownlee said. The new iMac Pro feels like the “ideal high-end YouTube FinalCut Pro machine,” he added. Of course, we’ll need to wait until reviewers have put the system through its paces to really see how it performs under heavy load and whether or not it offers enough bang for the buck.

Other iMac Pro tidbits: an improved 1080p front-facing camera, the included black-clad Lightning cable (coming soon to Apple Online Store?), some additional microphones for improved Siri reception, slightly improved speakers, bigger ventilation slots on the back along with four Thunderbolt 3 ports, four USB-A 3.0 ports, a 10 Gigabit Ethernet port and more.

By the way, I find Apple’s new PR strategy very interesting: gone are the days when the likes of The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times used to publish their advance reviews.

Now popular YouTubers (Apple knows where all the cool kids are!) are enjoying early access to upcoming Apple products and get to post their hands-on videos days ahead of reviews from big media (they first resorted to this strategy for the iPhone X launch).

Thoughts on the new iMac Pro?