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Mac Pro 2018 Updates: Apple’s High-end Workstation to be AR/VR Focused?

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Augmented reality and virtual reality computing are becoming more mainstream these days. At least that is true for virtual reality. Since the introduction of the Oculus Rift and many more products after that, many companies have seized the opportunity to jump onto the bandwagon. Now, it seems like Apple is doing the same on the Mac Pro 2018 as detailed in a recent patent filing.

According to Patently Apple, the latest trademark filing from Apple about the Mac Pro includes reference to augmented reality. In the said document, Apple has also mentioned its patent for an augmented reality display.

Mac Pro on VR and AR

Since last year, there have been a number of reports suggesting that Apple is veering to the VR and AR side of computing. It’s upcoming iMac line of desktops is said to feature VR-ready graphics for today’s processing intensive virtual reality games and media contents. However, augmented reality is a different thing altogether.

Mac Pro rumored to become an AR engine

Microsoft Hololens AR headset (via microsoft.com)

In the plainest sense, virtual reality is quite restrictive. All the environments within the virtual world are generated inside a computer. On the other hand, augmented reality requires inputs from the users’ surroundings and superimposes information upon the said environment.

Applications for augmented reality are varied. Nevertheless, most of these applications center on machine learning and artificial intelligence. When used in conjunction to machine learning, the possibilities of augmented reality are boundless. Unfortunately, this would also mean the computer specializing in augmented reality will require immense processing prowess. And this is where the Mac Pro 2018 will fit in.

Mac Pro hardware specs

Apple has already announced that it will revisit the modular design for the next-generation Mac Pro. This means that it will be, once again, open to upgrades from third-party hardware providers. Users will soon be able to swap in a more powerful graphics card like they used to on older Mac Pros. Furthermore, there could also be an option for an extra CPU on the motherboard; something that is absent on the current-generation Mac Pro. While these are nothing but speculations, no one can deny the raw power that the older Macs are capable of.

For now, consumers can expect the same raw power that they come to know from a Mac Pro. With modularity in mind, users stand a chance of putting extra compute power on future Mac workstations. Perhaps, this time around, consumers could be looking at dual processor towers like it used to ten years ago.

Mac Pro rumored to become an AR engine

Current generation Mac Pro (via apple.com)

With regards to graphics, Apple has two options. It could either go for NVIDIA or AMD when it comes to high-performance GPUs. The current Polaris lineup, with its Titan X line and GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards, NVIDIA is a good choice for Apple. On the other hand, AMD with its Radeon RX Vega graphics cards, due to release soon, is a fair candidate.

With the prospect of modularity, perhaps this issue would not matter anymore. Users can probably swap in a graphics cards of their choosing any time they want. This will be exceptionally easier especially now that NVIDIA just released the macOS drivers for its Polaris-line of graphics cards. Nevertheless, with the current lineup of notebooks and desktops, there is a strong chance that Apple might go for AMD.

On other hardware specs, rumour has it that the Mac Pro 2018 will support a minimum of 16GB RAM. This size is expandable to 64GB and of course, since a server-grade processor is on-board, ECC-type memories are also expected. In terms of storage, a faster NVMe drive is also on the table. That, along with Thunderbolt 3 as a replacement to the old Thunderbolt port.

For more tech updates on the Mac Pro 2018, be sure to check us out at TheBitbag.

Also Read: Apple Rumored to be Finalizing Design for Siri/Airplay Hardware

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