Oh no, not another "Mac versus PC" thinkpiece! Rest assured, I don't want to write one any more than you want to read one, so I'm going in a bit of a different direction here. My main thesis: Whether the admittedly pricey iMac Pro is "worth it" to you as a creative has a lot more to do with you that it does with the machine itself.
Back at World Wide Developer's Conference in June, Apple announced the new iMac Pro, which would be available in December - now just around the corner as we make our holiday wish lists. The base model weighs in with an 8-core Intel Xeon processor, 32GB DDR4 RAM, a 1TB SSD, Radeon Vega graphics with 8GB of VRAM, four USB-C Thunderbolt ports, a 27" 5K display, and more. The base model also costs $5,000. From there, you can get much crazier, with 10-core and 18-core CPUs available, up to 4TB SSD, and 128GB RAM. Renowned engineer and pro audio blogger Bobby Owsinski calculated the price of a maxed-out machine to be $17,300.
The base model is plenty for audio production and most video editing, even with a lot of use of something like Adobe AfterEffects. So in what follows I'll largely have it in mind; the higher-end configurations seem geared towards intense visual applications such as 3D animation and VR development.
Even the base model has led a lot of musicians, producers, gamers, and general computer enthusiasts to cry "Overpriced!" How it stacks up next to comparable Windows PCs is something you can find as many conflicting opinions about online as you have patience to slog through. Some argue that in fact a comparable PC is pretty close. There are Apple loyalists saying, "Please, take my money!" On the other hand, we all have those serious geek friends (well, I do) that will tell you all about the 32-core PC they built for change from redeeming Mountain Dew bottles, and snicker about how only n00bs pay the "Apple tax."
Side note: When people laugh at what I've paid for Macs over the years, they're almost always in the build-your-own-PC club. Buy a media creation-class Windows machine retail, and prices get a lot more in the same ballpark. So there are symmetry issues out of the gate about the value of your time, whether you're willing and able to build a machine, et cetera, et cetera.
But I won't go down that rabbit hole, because not a damned bit of this matters.
Okay, it may matter to the extent that if you can't afford a $5,000 computer, period, there's a natural impulse to slag anything at that price point as not worth it. There's an old story about a fox and some grapes that speaks to this point. In this case, budget for what you can afford and squeeze every last drop of functionality out of it. I haven't upgraded in a few years myself - I'm writing this article on a late-2012 just pre-Retina iMac. On that plus an early Retina MacBook Pro from the same era, I do all my audio production, video editing, and managing this website. 'Nuff said.
Back to the point, the film composer Hans Zimmer once told me that whether it's a DAW, synth, computer, microphone, or any sort of gear, really, the best tool is the one you know. If you've used and been productive on Macs for years, and the performance increase of an iMac Pro will mean you can get more done more quickly (especially if it's billable), that experience is going to stick with you a lot longer than the pain of the initial expenditure. If you're a professional with deadlines, the productivity time lost to switching over to a PC probably outweighs the allure of getting more specs for less money.
And while I myself am a lifelong Mac user, I'd offer the same advice to anyone entrenched in the PC world who might be tempted by the sexy all-in-oneness of the iMac Pro.
I'm not saying there are never good reasons to switch platforms. Just that given the performance of current multi-CPU machines, "grass is greener" speculation should not be among them. If the workflow of an OS is getting in your way, however, that's a reason to see how the other half lives -- I've met plenty of dyed-in-the-wool PC and Mac users who say that their platform of choice just "thinks" the way they do and that attempts to use anything else have always been frustrating.
Many pros tend to de-emotionalize their computer purchases as well. Instead of calculating how many GHz they're going to get on Mac versus PC for the money, they make calculations like: How many years do I intend to use this machine? During that time, how much billable work will I do on it? At the same time, how much can I depreciate it per year and claim that on my tax return? That all figures into the big question on the other side of the equals sign: At what point will this machine have paid for itself and be a profit center? Savvier studio managers, engineers, and producers think the same way about consoles, sexy vacuum tube compressors, and yes -- synths. By this type of analysis, an iMac Pro could make a whole lot of sense for a whole lot of people.
It all comes down to this: Professional creatives and even devoted hobbyists are concerned more with the stuff they're making, the money they're making doing it, and/or the artistic satisfaction they're getting out of it. They're less concerned with some other side of the gear fence where the grass is allegedly greener. I'd go so far as to say that if you're spending a lot of time on forums arguing about Mac versus PC bang-for-buck, Pro Tools versus anything else, et cetera, then that - not creating music or media - is your actual "thing."