Peter Zigich, the designer behind the Modular Mac Pro concept, sent us details of his next Apple computer concept: a Mac Pro based on ARM architecture that takes advantage of that processor’s high power efficiency to drastically alter its form factor and case design. It’s obviously a flight of pure fancy, but one that takes seriously the question of what comes next for the standalone desktop PC in a mobile-first world.
The design features a dramatically reduced physical footprint, with dimensions roughly a quarter of the current Mac Pro. That’s made possible by a quieter, cooler and more energy-efficient processor (that’s also cheaper to boot), based on ARM architecture which Zigich imagines could be an in-house successor to Apple’s A-series of mobile processors, dubbed the A10. These live on boards with integrated 16GB of RAM for each card, making for a maximum of 48 cores with 96GB of RAM when they’re combined inside the workstation’s CPU. Imaginary? Sure. But also tantalizing.
The design ticks a lot of boxes for Apple, including giving them control over CPU design, optimizing energy performance and lightening the physical footprint. That said, I doubt we’ll ever see the company actually build something like this, for the simple reason that while definitely cool, it would have very limited mass market appeal, and it manages to maintain a lot of upgradeability, something which Apple seems to be actively moving away from with its computer designs. The Mac Pro is due for an update, and we may yet see one (though I wouldn’t put good money on that), but it definitely won’t be an evolutionary leap like this concept.