When Apple revealed on Tuesday that the current Mac Pro will not see a major update and instead an all-new modular Mac Pro is being developed, the company stopped short of saying just when that decision was made and how long ago the new project started.

Apple said the modular Mac Pro won’t be available in 2017, but didn’t explicitly promise the new machine would be ready next year. OSNews managing editor Thom Holwerda believes the project actually started “only a few weeks ago” and won’t be complete as soon as we may expect.

Citing anonymous “people and sources who know their stuff” in his blog post, Holwerda writes that Apple’s decision “seems to have been made only in recent months” following professional user response to the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and the lack of Mac Pro updates.

Well, after the announcement of the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, orders for refurbished “old” MacBook Pros supposedly went through the roof, and after the initial batch of reviews came out, they shot up even higher. This response to the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar took Apple completely by surprise.

Apple still sells versions of its previous cheaper MacBook Pro, for what it’s worth, and Apple did temporarily discount Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C accessories after pushback from MacBook Pro customers.

Apple said this at the time:

We recognize that many users, especially pros, rely on legacy connectors to get work done today and they face a transition. We want to help them move to the latest technology and peripherals, as well as accelerate the growth of this new ecosystem.

Back to Holwerda, he also writes that problems with the LG UltraFine 5K Display that Apple positioned as a successor to the discontinued Thunderbolt Display further pushed Apple to invest in its pro hardware. LG eventually resolved those issues, but a new Apple branded pro display is coming alongside the module Mac Pro according to the company.

The most interesting nugget in the piece doesn’t relate to when Apple decided to shift direction with the Mac Pro strategy but is instead this detail:

In addition, Apple is said to be exploring additional Retina MacBook Pro models without the Touch Bar, and other pro-oriented features, such as hooking an iPad Pro up to a Mac to use it as a Cintiq-like device.

Apple already makes one version of its new MacBook Pro without a Touch Bar, although it’s positioned as an entry-level machine to hit a price point and not a more professional solution.

Separately, integrating the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil closely with macOS in such a way is a neat idea on its own regardless of the Mac Pro direction and timeline. People already do this with competing tablet products, and Astropad takes this same approach.

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About the Author

Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour and 9to5Mac Watch Time podcasts.