As we approach WWDC, which kicks off on Monday, rumours are hotting up about the Mac Pro. Some reports claim that the new professional Mac will make an appearance at the show, while others suggest that it's not going to launch until this autumn.
Those predicting a new Mac Pro at WWDC point to retail shortages of the Mac Pro. MacTrasts claims that a survey of Apple resellers and the companies website showed "a remarkable shortage of Apple's entry-level Mac Pro".
That report claims the majority of stores were out of stock or had limited supplies of the 2012 Mac Pro.
In the UK and Europe the Mac Pro cannot even be sold as it no longer complies with health and safety regulations.
The shortage of Mac Pro may not actually indicate a new model is on the way. Our own reseller contacts told us before the removal of the Mac Pro from sale that they rarely stocked the units due to the space requirements.
However, Lou Borella, the creator of the Facebook group 'We Want a New Macpro,' claims a "credible" source has told him not to expect a new Mac Pro until this autumn.
The autumn shipping date for the new Mac Pro was one of a number of snippets of information that the source shared with Borella. Other insight provided about the new Mac Pro included:
It will be heavily reliant on ThunderboltThere will be no internal expandabilityIt will have support for dual GPUs with three-monitor support right out of the boxNo Firewire 800 or optical driveIt will be a completely new design
Storage options in the new Mac Pro
Analysing these snippets of information, Borella writes that the optical drive will be no surprise to anyone. However, he notes that if no internal expandability means that there will be no hard drive bays "I'll be pretty upset." He suggests that as an alternative Apple may introduce "plenty of spots for a new storage medium that Apple will introduce specifically for this machine."
It is possible that Apple will move to SSD or Flash drive options, which will save considerable space, although the user would have to pay more to get the same amount of storage.
Thunderbolt to trump PCIe in new Mac Pro
One way that the Mac Pro could be smaller is if Apple replaced the current PCIe expansion slots with Thunderbolt. Borella seems to consider this as feasible. He writes: "All of your expansion options will have to come via Thunderbolt," suggesting that Apple would refer to PCIe cards as "legacy".
Borella goes on to suggest that the companies that have relied on PCIe expansion cards will have to switch to Thunderbolt connected devices. He adds: "I think Apple believes that a PCIe expansion chassis is a stopgap device until Thunderbolt specific hardware starts to show up."
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.