Plans for updated Mac Pro and iMac More Than Just a Promise

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

When Apple introduced a quartet of new laptops at the World Wide Developers Conference, professionals clamored that the rumors of Apple sun-setting the Mac Pro were true.  Facebook pages were created asking Cupertino to reconsider, and  the noise from Apple’s professional community was so great, that Tim Cook had to take to email to assure that a new Mac Pro was coming.  Now it looks like those promises are real, as hidden files in OS X Mountain Lion, most notably the Boot Camp Assistant, which points to new versions of the Mac Pro and iMac, and that means pros are one step closer to getting an updated workstation.  But it also hints that Cupertino may be dropping optical drives altogether.

The file lists a series of Mac models that support USB flash drive booting, referring to each model by its initials and its internal architectural version number.  Two of the models in the USB-boot support listing refer to Macs that haven’t been released yet: the MP60 (the six generation Mac Pro, or MacPro6,x) and IM130 (pointing to the 13th generation iMac, or iMac13,x). – AppleInsider

The file is known as the info.plist that OS X Mountain Lion Boot Camp Assistant will use to verify model numbers during installation from a USB flash drive.  It indicates that a sixth generation Mac Pro Tower, a 13th generation iMac, and even a next generation Mac Mini, that will be part of model nomenclature that the Assistant will reference.   This is not only strong evidence that Cupertino is deep into development of next generation Mac Pros and iMacs, but it’s also evidence that Apple may be dropping optical burner drives like the SuperDrive for most models.

Franz, Thanks for your email. Our Pro customers like you are really important to us. Although we didn’t have a chance to talk about a new Mac Pro at today’s event, don’t worry as we’re working on something really great for later next year. We also updated the current model today.  – Tim Cook email

And Cook’s cryptic promise that Apple is working on something “really great for later next year,” has lead industry analysts to speculate that Apple will be adding the Mac Pro to it’s line of solid state drive centric platforms, and since Apple is taking to updating their OS X operating system via online downloads, the need for an optical drive is less pronounced coming out of the box.  Users can always opt to use a USB thumb drive to install the next update, and that may be why the USB spec file is now prominent in the Boot Camp installer.

But others say that optical drives are still crucial to burn DVDs and backups which are crucial.  In filmmaking, it’s vital to have burned back ups and videos for distribution.  But more and more are turning to the Cloud (in spite of Steve Wozniak’s prophetic doom and gloom) so that makes a SuperDrive an optional piece of equipment that could still be incorporated after purchase.

Regardless of whether there’s an optical option or not, professional users can take a short sigh of relief, but are likely to remain guarded until the time frame promised in Cook’s email has become a reality.

Hat Tip – BGR

About James DeRuvo

James has a multi-faceted career that spans radio, film and publishing. A writer about the technology in the video industry for nearly 20 years, James is also an award winning film director, having garnered a Telly Award for his short film Searching for Inspiration. He's also worked as a producer of many talk radio programs in Los Angeles with topics ranging from entertainment to travel to technology.