Following last week's revelation that Apple is planning a major refresh of the Mac Pro, a German design studio on Wednesday offered some suggestions about what a modular version of Apple's flagship desktop could look like.
Curved Labs, based in Hamburg, came up with a small form-factor PC that vaguely resembles the Mac Mini. Instead of removing a cover, it has sides attached to the chassis with a swiveling hinge, which means that users could rotate them for easy access to internal components.
Well, relatively easy access—the designers seem to have accounted for the fact that Apple hasn't historically been a fan of offering upgraders the sort of access to the motherboard or other components that they'd expect from even an entry-level Windows machine. Still, the swiveling sides offer access to two full-sized graphics card slots, as well as the processor, memory, and disk drives.
Cooling is accomplished via exhaust vents on the top and bottom sides, which are otherwise featureless. Around the back, there's a fairly conventional port layout, with plentiful USB and Thunderbolt ports to connect cameras, external drives, and other equipment that multimedia professionals rely on.
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The front has an SD card reader, a headphone jack, and, most intriguingly, a touch bar reminiscent of the MacBook Pro to display the status of internal components. Instead of a conventional power button, there's a Touch ID sensor.
Apple has also said it is planning a new monitor to go with the Mac Pro refresh, so Curved Labs included a suggestion for a svelte 27-inch 4K display with extremely narrow edges, which almost looks out of place next to the boxy Mac Pro mockup.
Although the designs are fairly realistic, it's anyone's guess as to how close they'll resemble what Apple has in mind. All Cupertino will say is that it is working on a new Mac Pro with a modular design as well as a new display. We don't even have any tantalizing adjectives to go on: Senior Vice President of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller said only that the new products would represent "something great."
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