iMac Pro Appears to Include A10 Fusion Chip for Always-On ‘Hey Siri’

According to some digging into Apple's "BridgeOS 2.0" code and macOS this weekend by Jonathan Levin, Steven Troughton-Smith, and Guilherme Rambo, the upcoming iMac Pro appears to feature an A10 Fusion chip with 512 MB of RAM. While the full functionality of the A10 chip isn't yet known, it appears the chip will enable support for "Hey Siri" functionality, potentially even when the iMac Pro is turned off.


As noted by Troughton-Smith, the A10 will manage the booting process and security for the iMac Pro, and with hooks into system audio, he theorized that the chip might support always-on "Hey Siri."


The "Hey Siri" theory was quickly confirmed by Rambo, who shared both a boot chime for BridgeOS and the setup process for "Hey Siri" discovered within macOS.


Rumors of ARM-based chips being included in Macs have been circulating for some time, and with the T1 chip appearing in the MacBook Pro to drive the Touch Bar last year, the rumor began coming to fruition. The T1 was just the first step in the process, however, with Bloomberg reporting in February that a custom "T310" ARM-based Mac chip similar to the T1 could be included in future Macs and take on some additional functionality such as handling "Power Nap" low-power mode functionality.

In June, Pike's Universum reported that the upcoming iMac Pro will include a Secure Enclave, suggesting the machine would indeed include an ARM-based coprocessor as on the MacBook Pro.

Unveiled at WWDC in June, the iMac Pro is scheduled to launch next month, but Apple has yet to give a specific launch date for the high-end desktop that will start at $4999.

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Apple Demos iMac Pro at Final Cut Pro X Creative Summit

Apple set up an iMac Pro at the third annual FCPX Creative Summit in Cupertino, California over the weekend, providing attendees with a closer look at the powerful workstation ahead of its December launch.

Apple appears to have allowed attendees to take pictures of the iMac Pro at the event. French blog MacGeneration rounded up some of the photos shared on social platforms like Instagram and Twitter.

iMac Pro via Twitter user Softron Media

iMac Pro shares the same design as the standard iMac, but with an all-flash architecture, a new thermal design, and four Thunderbolt 3 ports. It's also distinguished by its sleek, exclusive Space Gray enclosure.

The all-in-one computer is bundled with matching Space Gray accessories, including the Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad 2, and a wireless Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad introduced at WWDC 2017 in June.

iMac Pro via Twitter user Chris Fenwick

Apple said the iMac Pro will also feature up to an 18-core Intel Xeon processor, top-of-the-line Radeon Pro Vega graphics, up to 4TB of SSD storage, and up to 128GB of ECC RAM, with a starting price of $4,999 in the United States.

The FCPX Creative Summit, hosted by Future Media Concepts, featured three days of training on Apple's professional video editing software Final Cut Pro X. Apple itself announced that Final Cut Pro X 10.4 will launch later this year.

iMac Pro via Instagram user runehansen

Final Cut Pro X 10.4 will include new color tools, like color wheels and a white balance picker. It will include support for HEVC, the new video format introduced in iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra, and direct import of iOS for iMovie timelines. The new version of the software will also support VR and HDR workflows.

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iMac Pros With Custom Xeon Chips Possibly Appear on Geekbench Ahead of December Launch

While the iMac Pro doesn't launch for another six weeks or so, possible benchmarks for the computer may have already surfaced on Geekbench. The results provide us with an early look at just how powerful Apple's $4,999-and-up desktop workstation will be when it is released in December.


Interestingly, the iMac Pro models benchmarked appear to have custom, downclocked Xeon chips that Intel hasn't publicly announced yet. There is a benchmark result for a model with a 3.2GHz 8-core Xeon W-2140B processor, while a third listing exists for a model with a 3.0GHz 10-core Xeon W-2150B chip.

All of the models are identified as "AAPJ1371,1," and unlike other Xeon chips, the processors have a "B" suffix. A few of the benchmark results are from late August, while the rest are from October.


MacRumors spoke with Geekbench founder John Poole, who speculated that the iMac Pro may require chips with lower thermal design power, and thus lower frequencies, due to its all-in-one form factor. He noted that the other chips in the Xeon Processor W family have relatively high TDPs of up to 140W.

The multi-core Geekbench score for the 8-core model averages out to 23,536, which is the highest performance of any iMac ever. It's nearly 22 percent faster than the latest 5K iMac equipped with a maxed-out 4.2GHz quad-core Core i7 processor, which has an average multi-core score of 19,336.

The higher-end 10-core iMac Pro has a multi-core score of 35,917, which is roughly 41 percent faster than the latest Mac Pro maxed out with a 2.7GHz 12-core Xeon E5 processor. Even its single-core score of 5,345 is faster than all but the highest-end 5K iMac released earlier this year.

All in all, the benchmarks point to the iMac Pro being unsurprisingly powerful from top to bottom. And that's not even looking at the 18-core iMac Pro, which hasn't been benchmarked yet and will surely blow every other Mac out of the water—at least until the modular Mac Pro is ready.

Apple said the iMac Pro will also feature top-of-the-line Radeon Pro Vega graphics, up to 4TB of SSD storage, and up to 128GB of ECC RAM. The computer will share the same design as the standard iMac, but with an all-flash architecture, a new thermal design, and four Thunderbolt 3 ports.

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Intel Debuts New Xeon-W Chips Possibly Destined for iMac Pro

Intel today introduced its new Xeon-W workstation-class processors at the IFA trade show in Berlin, and the new chips line up nicely with the processor capabilities we’re expecting to see in the iMac Pro.

The new chips, which use an LGA2066 socket and Skylake-SP architecture, come in 8, 10, and 18 core configurations with Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz, 48 PCI Express 3.0 lanes, and support for up to 512GB of DDR4–2666 ECC memory.

Click to enlarge

Apple has said the iMac Pro will feature Intel’s Xeon processors, with 8, 10, and 18 core chips available as optional configurations with up to 42MB cache and maximum Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz.

Specifically, Apple could be planning to use the 8-core 3.7GHz Xeon W–2145, the 10-core 3.3GHz Xeon W–2155, and the 18-core 2.3GHz Xeon W–2195. Pricing on the chips starts at $1,113, but a price is not yet listed for the high-end 18-core processors.


According to Intel, the Xeon-W chips offer a 1.87x boost in performance compared to a 4-year old workstation with an Intel Xeon E5–1680 v2 Romley processor, like the 2013 8-core Mac Pro, and up to 1.38x higher performance compared to previous-generation Xeon E5–1680 v4 chips.


Intel plans to release its high-end 18-core chips in the fourth quarter of 2017, which also lines up with the target release date of the iMac Pro. The other chips may see earlier release dates.

Though Xeon-W chips do appear to work for the iMac Pro, there is still some question as to whether they’re the chips Apple plans to use. A June report from Pike’s Universum suggested Apple would use Intel’s server-grade Purley processors with an LGA3647 socket rather than the desktop-class LGA2066 socket.

That information was based on firmware files found in the macOS High Sierra beta, but it’s possible it was inaccurate. Intel announced some Purley chips in July, but that announcement did not include chips that would be appropriate for the iMac Pro.

Along with Xeon processors, the iMac Pro will include Radeon Pro Vega graphics, up to 4TB of solid state storage space, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, up to 128GB of ECC RAM, and a redesigned thermal architecture to support those components.

Rumors based on firmware findings suggest the iMac Pro could also include a Secure Enclave with an ARM coprocessor like the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, but it’s unclear at this time what that functionality will be used for as Apple has made no mention of Touch ID support.

The iMac Pro is positioned as a workstation class machine aimed at pro users with demanding workflows, and it’s priced accordingly. When it launches in December, pricing for the iMac Pro will start at $4,999.

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Intel Unveils ‘Purley’ Xeon Chip Lineup, but None are Appropriate for High-End iMac Pro

Intel today unveiled its full lineup of "Purley" Xeon processors, most of which have already launched or are launching soon, but none of the chips in the lineup appear to be appropriate for Apple's upcoming iMac Pro at the high end.

When the iMac Pro was announced, Apple said it would use Intel's Xeon processors, with 8, 10, and 18 core chips available as optional configurations with up to 42MB cache and maximum Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz.


Despite rumors suggesting Apple will use Purley processors in the machines, the currently available chips do not match those specifications. The chips max out at 4.2GHz Turbo Boost, so at least some of the processors Apple plans to use are not yet available from Intel.

With none of the chips lining up with Apple's promised high-end specifications, the most likely explanation is that Intel has additional Purley chips on the horizon that have yet to be announced. Next-generation Xeon chips, codenamed Cascade Lake, won't be available until 2018, and thus won't be ready in time for Apple's promised December release date.

In late June, Pike's Universum dug up firmware files from the macOS High Sierra beta suggesting the iMac Pro will use Intel's server-class LGA3647 socket rather than the desktop-class LGA2066 socket, pointing towards the use of server-grade "Purley" Skylake-SP processors.

Those same firmware files suggest the new iMac Pro will feature a Secure Enclave with an ARM coprocessor like the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, but it's unclear what that functionality will be used for. Touch ID is, however, a possibility.

Apple's iMac Pro is expected to be available for purchase this December, with pricing starting at $4,999 in the United States. Along with server-grade processors, the machines are expected to feature Radeon Pro Vega graphics, up to 128GB of ECC RAM, and up to 4TB of SSD storage.

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iMac Pro May Feature Intel’s Server-Grade ‘Purley’ Processors, ARM Coprocessor

Apple earlier this month unveiled the iMac Pro, a workstation-class desktop computer with up to an 18-core Intel Xeon processor, top-of-the-line Radeon Pro Vega graphics, up to 4TB of SSD storage, and up to 128GB of ECC RAM.


Apple didn't specify exactly which processors will be included in the iMac Pro, but if the blog Pike's Universum is to be believed, it could be powered by Intel's next-generation server-grade Skylake-EX and Skylake-EP processors, which are based on a platform codenamed "Purley."

The blog, which appears to be sourcing its information from firmware files in the macOS High Sierra developer beta, said the iMac Pro will use Intel's new server-class LGA3647 socket, not its high-end, desktop-class LGA2066 socket.

If the information is accurate, it suggests the iMac Pro could have truly server-grade Xeon processors, rather than using Intel's recently announced Core-X series of Skylake and Kaby Lake chips that still use the LGA2066 socket.

The blog added that the new iMac Pro appears to be coming with a Secure Enclave, suggesting it will have an ARM coprocessor like the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar for added security. It would also open the door to Touch ID on the iMac Pro, but Apple made no mention of the feature when introducing the computer.


Pike's Universum revealed some of the iMac Pro's tech specs in April, two months prior to it being announced, including that it would have Xeon processors, ECC RAM, faster SSD storage, AMD graphics options, and Thunderbolt 3 ports, but some of the specific details proved to be inaccurate.

Apple said the iMac Pro will be available to order in December, starting at $4,999 in the United States.

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