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Uncovering a ‘Compute Module’ Device in iOS 16.4 Code: Mac Pro, Reality Pro, or Something Else?

February 22, 2023
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It’s been a long wait, but the world is on the edge of their seat anticipating the newest version of Mac Pro. With fans expecting the most powerful and customizable computer Apple has ever released, the latest Xcode 16.4 Beta release has stirred up a lot of speculation. In the Beta, new files dubbed “ComputeModule” were discovered, sparking the possibility of a modular Mac Pro, Apple Reality Pro processor box, or even a Raspberry Pi-like device.

It’s not official, but Apple’s ComputeModule has intrigued the industry. The iOS related device class has made it clear that the tech giant is working on something new, with ComputeModule13.1 and ComputeModule13.3 strongly suggested to be made available within the near future.

WWDC2020 was a big turning point for Apple when they announced the Mac lineup transition into Apple Silicon. Almost a year since the news broke, each Mac minus the Mac Pro has been equipped with the Mac maker’s own custom chips. Despite the Mac Pro’s absence from the conversion, the latest news and files on the Xcode 16.4 Beta release provides an interesting insight into what we might see when it finally arrives.

The 2019 Mac Pro design houses a giant chassis, which makes sense considering the massive increase in internal expandable components. Expect to find the traditional resources such as hard drives, SSDs, I/O cards, networking cards, and more. But the main question surrounding the Mac Pro is what will become of the traditional powerful external GPUs from third-party tech producers such as AMD and NVIDIA?

The ComputeModule could potentially provide the answer for the Mac Pro’s external expandability. Rather than using a standard GPU, the idea of a swappable “brains” ComputeModule is gaining traction and giving consumers a more adaptable and customizable machine. Furthermore, the possibility of Apple’s M3 Ultra chip offers more possibilities for users, giving the option to add multiple Compute Modules so tasks such as 8K timeline render can be completed with ease on either the same machine or an additional “computer” running a variant of iOS.

Another potential use of the ComputeModule is with the new Apple Reality headset. Set to be released early 2023, the headset is touted to have groundbreaking specs, full of ultrahigh-resolution displays, advanced hand and eye tracking, and up to a dozen cameras. Equipped with its own Apple M2 chip, it has been identified that the ComputeModule could be a contentious piece in the puzzle.

It’s impossible to guess what these new files mean and the full capabilities of the ComputeModule. Will they change the way the world experiences pro-tech? Or are they simply an informal Raspberry Pi device?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the ComputeModule that has been uncovered by the latest Xcode 16.4 Beta release. Could it be the key to the Mac Pro’s modular power? Will it be a processor for the Apple Reality Pro headset? Or just a Raspberry-Pi like device? Comment your thoughts below!

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