The outside appearance of the new 2013 Mac Pro, from Apple. Courtesy /

Excluding the singular (RED) Mac Pro auctioned off by Sotheby’s last month, the new Mac Pro from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has yet to officially debut, even though the computer was introduced in June and showcased again at Apple’s October media event.

When it was unveiled, Apple said it would release the 2013 Mac Pro in December, but has still not specified an exact release date even though the month is here. Apple has remained mum on the subject, but a pre-order page from a third-party retailer may hint at the release date of Apple’s fastest and most expandable desktop computer.

According to the Mac Pro pre-orders page from German retailer Conrad Electronic, the store will sell two stock configurations of the 2013 Mac Pro with availability starting Dec. 16. Conrad Electronic offers no basis for its presumptive release date, but the site’s listing is the first specific claim of a release date from any retailer.

Considering the 2013 Mac Pro is geared towards professional users – especially at its exceedingly high starting price of $2,999 – Apple need not worry about the holiday shopping season too much. The release date, whether or not it’s Dec. 16, will almost certainly arrive before Christmas, but the new Mac Pro is much less of a stocking stuffer than Apple’s other offerings, including its new iPhone and iPad family, and Apple will likely have limited supplies available at launch given the production constraints surrounding the new Ivy Bridge-EP processors from Intel.

About The 2013 Mac Pro

The new Mac Pro, as I’ve said many times before, most closely resembles a Death Star with its cylindrical form factor wrapped around a thermal core. As we mentioned, the 2013 Mac Pro is just one-eighth the size of its predecessor with a diameter of 6.6 inches and a height of 9.9 inches, weighing just 11 pounds.

The 2013 Mac Pro features USB 3, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 1.4 ports, and six ports for the ultrafast Thunderbolt 2, which is Apple's new connectivity tech that delivers up to 20Gbps of bandwidth to each external device. Since each Thunderbolt 2 port supports up to six daisy-chained devices, the 2013 Mac Pro is ideal for transferring data between your Mac and up to 36 high-performance peripherals, such as external storage devices, PCI expansion chassis, A/V breakout boxes and even next-generation 4K desktop displays. Thunderbolt 2 makes it easy for the 2013 Mac Pro to connect to peripherals, but users care much more about how quickly they're able to boot up and multitask several applications at once. The 2013 Mac Pro features next-generation PCI Express flash storage, which is up to 2.5 times faster than the fastest SATA-based SSDs and up to 10 times faster than a 7200-rpm SATA hard drive and ideal for launching massive files or applications such as Photoshop or Final Cut.

Of course, quick connectivity and boot-up times in the new Mac Pro would mean nothing unless the actual tasks perform equally fast. The 2013 Mac Pro is certainly no slouch in the computing department, with configurations up to 12 Xeon processing cores from Intel, dual workstation GPUs with simultaneous support for up to three high-resolution 4K desktop displays, and a four-channel DDR3 memory controller delivering up to 60GB/s of memory bandwidth, which is perfect for video exporting or simulations.

The ultrafast processing and connectivity of 2013 Mac Pro is made possible by the new unified thermal core; instead of utilizing multiple heat sinks and fans to cool the computer's processor and graphics cards, Apple designed a core out of a single piece of aluminum that maximizes airflow and thermal capacity by conducting heat away from the CPU and GPUs and distributing the heat evenly across the core of the Mac Pro. With this single core, the total thermal capacity of the computer can be shared efficiently among the processors, especially if one processor isn't working as hard as the others.

Obviously, the level of centralized thermal energy in the 2013 Mac Pro required an equally powerful and efficient fan, so again, Apple focused on engineering a single fan large enough to pull air upward through a vent at the bottom of the computer. Apple designed the Mac Pro's fan so air absorbs heat as it travels vertically through the center of the computer and carries it out the top. By also carefully engineering the number, size, shape and spacing of the blades, Apple was able to make the fan in the 2013 Mac Pro surprisingly quiet by minimizing air resistance with backward-curved impeller blades that run at fewer revolutions per minute to draw air more efficiently.

Unlike other Apple devices designed in California but built overseas, the 2013 Mac Pro is the first major Apple product manufactured and assembled in the U.S. -- specifically, Texas, Kentucky, Illinois and Florida, among "a dozen other states across America," according to Apple.

What do you think of the 2013 Mac Pro? Will you buy the new Mac Pro when it sees its December release date? Sound off in the comments section below.

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