Apple today began accepting orders for its modular Mac Pro along with the new Pro Display XDR. The Mac Pro is priced starting $5,999 or $6,499 in rack mount form. The 32-inch Pro Display XDR, aimed at studios that would otherwise use high-end reference monitors, is priced at $4,999, with another $999 for an adjustable aluminum base. Configure to order options can send the Mac Pro into the stratosphere, priced at more than $52,000. Availability depends on configuration, but Apple’s early projections showed that while some Mac Pros will ship in time for Christmas, some buyers will probably be waiting until the end of December or early January before their custom configurations arrive.

The company recently sent out emails to would-be customers who signed up for updates on the new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR’s availability, advising that the new Apple workstation and that 32-inch display, both aimed at its pro base, will go on sale on December 10.

The base model of the new Mac Pro powered by an eight-core Intel Xeon W chip starts out at $5,999. The overhauled design includes a stainless steel frame providing upgradeability and quick access to the internals, and a lattice pattern that Apple claims maximizes airflow.

The final cost can end up being significantly higher than $5,999, especially when configuring the machine with a range of available upgrades, like a 28-core Xeon chip, up to 1.5TB of flash memory, up to two AMD Radeon Pro Vega II graphics MPX modules or Afterburner, which is Apple’s dedicated accelerator for improved video editing that allows three simultaneous streams of ProRes 8K RAW footage or twelve streams of ProRes 4K RAW. A quick bill of materials maxing everything out and adding some nice shiny wheels, keyboard and trackpad brought the total to more than $52,000.

Both the new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR were officially introduced on June 3, 2019 at Apple’s annual pilgrimage for developers. The new Pro Display XDR is the first Apple-branded display since the 27-inch Thunderbolt Display was discontinued in 2016.

Apple’s new external monitor delivers crisp 6K resolution and extended dynamic range.

The Pro Display XDR features 6K Retina resolution at 6,016-by-3,384 pixels and a 1,000,000-to-one contrast ratio. The display works with all Mac models that use the Thunderbolt 3 protocol. However, only the new Mac Pro and the 16-inch MacBook Pro can run the display at full 6K resolution while other Macs are limited to running at 5K resolution (5,120-by-2,880 pixels).

Every Pro Display XDR unit features an individually color-calibrated panel and uses a system of custom lenses and reflectors as well as blue-colored LEDs for backlight instead of white.

A lattice pattern on the back of the monitor is similar to that found on the chassis of the new Mac Pro tower. Apple says it doubles as a heatsink allowing the display to operate indefinitely at 1000 nits of brightness across the entire screen, and up to 1600 nits in an environment cooler than 25 degrees Celsius (or about  77 degrees Fahrenheit).

The base model starts at $4,999. A higher-priced version featuring a nano-etched coating on the screen designed to reduce glare is available for $5,999. The display supports VESA mounts and Apple offers its own custom aluminum stand as an optional $999 purchase.

As for the Mac Pro, it made its debut more than thirteen years ago in August 2006.

Apple Mac Pro ad

Unlike Windows-based tower PCs at the time, the workstation originally shipped in a classic enclosure that allowed for easy component access and upgrades. But Apple then dropped the ball by changing the computer’s design – in December 2013, the company released the so-called trashcan model of the Mac Pro. Unlike the original cheese-grater design, the refreshed machine had a significantly smaller footprint that didn’t permit easy upgrades.

Worse, the second-generation version was plagued with GPU cooling issues. It took several years for Apple to admit that it’s designed itself “into a bit of a thermal corner” with the design.

The new Mac Pro is Apple’s most-pricey computer ever.

Given its hardware and relatively high price tag, this isn’t a computer for the rest of us. But if you run a design studio or are a creative professional like a music composer, video editor or some other type of content creator, the new Mac Pro is actually priced competitively.

What are your thoughts on the new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR?

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