New Apple Mac Pro on the way — but M2 Extreme chip reportedly canceled

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

Apple’s Mac Pro is the only machine in the Mac lineup to have yet to receive the Apple Silicon treatment, but Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman now says a new Mac Pro with an M2 Ultra chip is on its way. 

In his latest Power On (opens in new tab) newsletter, Gurman noted that rumors of a Mac Pro with an “M2 Extreme” chip — think an updated and more powerful take on the M1 Ultra found in the  Apple Mac Studio — won’t be happening, due to complexity and cost concerns. The chip was touted to have 48 CPU cores and 152 GPU cores, essentially being a form of dual M2 Ultra chips. 

Nevertheless, this rumored Mac Pro should still be the most powerful Mac ever, given the M1 Ultra already offers huge performance. So adding in the efficiency and performance tweaks of the M2 architecture should make for a massively powerful desktop Mac. 

“The Mac Pro is expected to rely on a new-generation M2 Ultra chip (rather than the M1 Ultra) and will retain one of its hallmark features: easy expandability for additional memory, storage and other components,” explained Gurman. 

The easily swappable and upgradable components is a promising tip, as when one spends several thousand dollars or pounds on a Mac Pro, having the flexibility to upgrade it is definitely a boon. But this could suggest that Apple will stick with the ‘cheese grater’ design of the current Mac Pro, given that the desktop chassis has been thoughtfully designed for upgrades. 

The current Mac Pro uses Intel chips, whereas this rumored next-gen model will use Apple Silicon. So that raises the question of how upgradeable will the chip be over time. Apple’s M-series chips blend the central processing unit (CPU) with the graphic processing unit (GPU) on a system-on-a-chip (SoC) format. And unlike replacing the CPU on say one of our best gaming PCs, swapping an SoC is a whole different story. 

This is pure speculation, but perhaps Apple could take the modular approach to memory and other components and apply it to the SoC for the next Mac Pro, letting users swap out the M2 Ultra for a more powerful chip in the future.

Gurman claims the Mac Pro with M2 Ultra will arrive in 2023, though didn’t narrow down a launch window. We suspect it could arrive in the Spring, likely alongside a Mac mini M2, and new MacBook Pro M2 models of the 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.