December 13, 2017 // 11:24 a.m.
Apple has confirmed that it is to launch its iMac Pro all-in-one PC tomorrow, after the machine was first unveiled back in June.
Built around a 5K resolution 27" display, the key change between the new iMac Pro and its non-Pro equivalents is in the design of the cooling system. According to Apple, the iMac Pro is capable of dissipating 80 percent more heat than its older iMac designs, which has in turn allowed the company to cram in significantly more computing power: The machines top out with an 18-core 36-thread (18C36T) Intel Xeon processor and AMD Radeon Pro 64 Vega-based graphics processor paired to 16GB of on-package High Bandwidth Memory 2 (HBM2).
At the time, Apple was only willing to disclose US pricing which saw the entry-level model - an eight-core 16-thread (8C16T) Xeon with Radeon Pro Vega 56 8GB graphics, 32GB of ECC DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB SSD - set at $4,999, a price which was expected to translate to £4,999 on this side of the pond.
While pricing for the upper reaches is still unannounced, the company has at least confirmed the tiers of hardware that will be available from tomorrow: Buyers will be given the choice of eight-core, 10-core, or 18-core Xeon chips which all feature Intel's HyperThreading technology to offer double that number of threads, Radeon Pro Vega 56 or 64 graphics with 8GB or 16GB of HBM2 framebuffer, 32GB to 128GB of 2,666MHz ECC DDR4, and 1TB to 4TB of solid-state storage.
While as-yet unannounced by Apple, a developer with early access to an iMac Pro has confirmed the presence of a custom-designed T2 co-processor via Twitter. Described as combining previously-discrete components including the System Management Controller (SMC), Image Signal Processor (ISP) for the built-in webcam, audio controller, and storage controller, the T2's primary feature is the presence of a secure enclave and hardware encryption engine. The private key for OS-level cryptography is stored within the chip and never exposed to the host operating system, developer Cabel Sasser explains, while the hardware module can also be used to enable hardware verification of the legitimacy of everything from the installed operating system to individual applications.
Pricing for the upgraded models isn't due to be disclosed until the iMac Pro goes on sale tomorrow morning, but Apple has a range of pretty promotional images to whet people's appetite until that time.