M2-powered Mac Pro tipped to release in 2023 — with a surprise downgrade

Paris, France - Nov 26, 2021: People inside Apple Computers Store with new Mac Pro workstation with Apple XDR display
(Image credit: Hadrian/Shutterstock)

The Mac Pro M2 has been tipped to come at a rumored Apple March event, along with a few other Macs. Unfortunately, the latest rumors for these new Macs have suggested that their designs will remain largely unchanged — and the Mac Pro looks set to follow suit.

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman (opens in new tab), the Mac Pro should look identical to the 2019 iteration of the power user desktop tower. The only major change will be the transition to Apple’s M2-series silicon rather than an Intel CPU.

Well, almost the only major change. Gurman reports that the new Mac Pro will get a serious downgrade compared to its Intel-powered predecessor. The new Mac Pro will not get user-upgradable RAM. This is due to the RAM being tied to the M2 Ultra motherboard, leaving no slots for swapping out or adding additional memory.

Mac Pro

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

This is potentially a massive misstep by Apple, as Gurman himself points out. The purpose of the Mac Pro is to provide the ultimate Apple desktop, and if you cannot expand the memory, that’s a major limitation. Gurman does state that this new Mac Pro M2 should have slots for two SSD storage drives, as well as additional graphics, media and networking cards. Still, without the ability to expand the RAM on the desktop, it will be tougher to extend the lifespan of the device. Given a likely high price point, those looking for a powerful Mac desktop may be looking towards the Mac Studio instead.

Then again, maybe it won’t matter. The Mac Pro was always going to be a relatively niche device, and while you cannot upgrade the RAM after the fact, current rumors suggest that the Mac Pro can be loaded with up to 256GB of RAM. So if you just buy a top-of-the-line Mac Pro, you might not be worrying about the lack of upgradable RAM for a long time anyway.

A new Mac Pro wasn’t all Gurman discussed this week either. He also tipped the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros with M2 Pro and M2 Max processors to come in 2023 — though again, with little else updated compared to the previous M1-powered versions. In fact, the only groundbreaking thing we may see from Apple this year is its long-rumored Apple VR/AR headset. Gurman thinks this device will launch in the Spring but not ship until later in the year, which tracks with the other rumors we’ve been hearing. Make sure to follow along to our event hub for Apple’s rumored March event for all the latest updates on what may be coming. 

Malcolm McMillan
News Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a News Writer for Tom's Guide, writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment with a particular focus on phones and virtual reality. Before writing for Tom's Guide, he worked many retail jobs and many Black Fridays, including a stint for Microsoft so he knows all about finding the best prices for the latest tech. Malcolm had also been a fantasy football analyst for several years prior to his time with Tom's Guide. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.