The iMac Pro, along with being Apple’s most powerful Mac computer, might also be the company’s first to feature an A-series processor.
Over the weekend, several developers — including Johnathan Levin, Steve Troughton-Smith and Guilherme Rambo — began to dig into the BridgeOS 2.0 software package released by Apple. And, according to their findings, it’s looking like the iMac Pro will feature an ARM-based A10 Fusion coprocessor.
Yes, that’s the same SoC used in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. And it would mark the first time that Apple has used a proprietary A-series chipset in its Mac machines.
Previously, Apple shipped a custom-designed ARM chip called the T1 to power the Touch Bar in its MacBook Pro. But this is a step further than that.
This looks like the iMac Pro’s coprocessor (Bridge2,1) will be an A10 Fusion chip with 512MB RAM 🤔 So first Mac with an A-series chip
— Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith) November 18, 2017
Notably, a Pike’s Universum report from earlier this year suggested that the iMac Pro could feature an ARM coprocessor. This weekend’s reports corroborate that and give us a glimpse into how Apple might use the chip in its computers.
For one, it appears that the iMac Pro could be used to take over the boot process, security and the FaceTime camera. It could also allow for Apple to maintain tighter control of the OS without the “userbase freaking out,” as Troughton-Smith puts it.
In addition, it seems that an always-on “Hey, Siri” voice command is coming to the iMac Pro — and it’ll be powered by the A10 Fusion. Brazilian-based developer Guilherme Rambo found a “Hey Siri” setup process on macOS that’s identical to the one on iOS.
Confirmed: "Hey, Siri" is coming to the Mac pic.twitter.com/Dw9bRAzbxD
— Guilherme Rambo (@_inside) November 18, 2017
Because of the presence of the A10 Processor, that means “Hey, Siri” could be usable even if the iMac Pro itself is shut off.
Of course, while the inclusion of the A10, and its use for boot, Siri, security and FaceTime, have all but been confirmed the addition of the iPhone 7 chip could also foster other capabilities.
Among those, it could mean nominal features like the ability to ask Siri to boot up your Mac (since the A10 might always be on). It could also mean a much better iOS emulator for app developers. Essentially, developers could run an actual version of iOS on their iMac Pros to test apps before releasing them. With the A10 responsible for FaceTime, it could also hint at Face ID coming to future Mac platforms.
Apple seems to be testing the waters for a broader use of A-series chips in its computers. If A-Series chips eventually make their way to a MacBook Pro in the future, for example, it could use that chip to let Siri, Power Nap and other features run without significantly affecting battery life.
The iMac Pro, first revealed at WWDC ’17 this June, is slated for a launch next month — though we don’t have any official date quite yet.
The high-end desktop is the most powerful Apple has ever made, and comes in a variety of workstation-class configurations. The entry-level model will retail for $4,999.