Category: iMac

Apple Updates iMac, Mac Mini Goes Retina on 13-Inch Pro

13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display

13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display | Image courtesy of Apple

During today’s event Apple released a slew of Mac updates including updating the Mac mini, completely refreshing the iMac and releasing a brand new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

Apple’s Phil Schiller kicked off with the brand new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display which joins the 15-inch as the top end of Apple’s notebook range. The 13-inch model packs over 4 million pixels into the 2560 x 1600 pixel display. The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display features 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5 processors with the option to choose faster 2.9 GHz Intel Core i7 processors, Intel HD Graphics 4000, 8GB of RAM, and up to 768GB SSD. Two Thunderbolt and two USB 3.0 ports allow users to connect to multiple displays and high-performance devices, and a HDMI port.

Moving on from the Mac mini Schiller moved on the iMac which has received a complete refresh including an all new super-thin enclosure. Apple has also decided to remove the optical drive on the iMac. Measuring just 5mm at the edge the iMac is 80% thinner than the previous generation and is still a powerhouse.

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Future Retina Macs

MacBook Pro with Retina Display running Final Cut Pro

MacBook Pro with Retina Display running Final Cut Pro

In early May I wrote about how Apple was going to make use of Intel’s latest processors in this years generation of Macs. At the time no Macs had been updated during 2012 and the iMac amongst others was looking long in the tooth, although that was nothing compared to the Mac Pro. As WWDC approached it became clear that other than a focus on software Apple would give some significant attention to the Mac.

Notably missing in my piece on Ivy Bridge Macs was any discussion about the direction of the MacBook Pro and any predictions about Apple’s use of Retina displays in Macs.

Now WWDC has passed we can see how Apple’s Mac roadmap is shaping up and whilst Apple certainly surprised me with some of the the updates they delivered the majority of the news out of San Francisco earlier this month was in line with expectation. I wrote up the details of Apple’s new MacBook Pro with Retina Display after the keynote and the minor changes to the rest of the MacBook Pro lineup and the MacBook Air, I’ll cover that briefly and then move on.

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Ivy Bridge Macs

As the fifth month of the year continues to progress the time is nearing for Apple to release a flurry of new Macs. Unlike the days of IBM’s PowerPC CPU architecture it’s now relatively easy to pinpoint when and what Macs are going to get refreshed at what point during the year and that is all down to Apple’s use of Intel’s architecture.

Last year Intel released Sandy Bridge and up to this point all Macs but the Mac Pro take advantage of the Sandy Bridge architecture. In addition Thunderbolt connectivity became a standard across Apple’s lineup of Macs, slowly pushing Firewire into the past.

In 2012 Intel’s new architecture is named Ivy Bridge, on a technical level the architecture marks a huge leap from the previous Sandy Bridge taking advantage of a 22 nm die shrink process. Some other headline improvements over Sandy Bridge include PCI Express 3.0 support, integrated USB 3.0 and the use of tri-gate transistors (sometimes known as 3D transistors) which offer the same performance as their “2D” counterparts but are said to offer up to 50% less power consumption. Apple may choose not to be cutting edge with all the technologies available in Ivy Bridge as the company tends to enjoy setting its own trends.

Outside of the real technicalities of Ivy Bridge the raw numbers look promising over Sandy Bridge; CPU performance is said to increase between 5% and 15% and integrated GPU performance between 20% and 50% (for the recored the integrated GPUs are HD 2500/4000).

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Apple Updates iMac With Thunderbolt, Up to 70-Percent Faster Processors

Early-2011 iMac Family

Early-2011 iMac Family

Apple has today updated its line of iMac desktop computers, the major update brings the iMacs in line with the February update to MacBook Pros. The new iMac includes new Thunderbolt connectivity, next generation quad-core processors, powerful new graphics and a FaceTime HD camera.

“Our customers love the iMac’s aluminum enclosure, gorgeous display and all-in-one design,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “With next generation quad-core processors, powerful new graphics, Thunderbolt technology and a FaceTime HD camera, we’ve made the world’s best desktop even better.”

The 21.5-inch iMac has a single Thunderbolt port while the 27-inch model features two ports for even greater expansion. Developed by Intel with collaboration from Apple, Thunderbolt enables expandability never before possible on an all-in-one computer. Featuring two bi-directional channels with transfer speeds up to an amazing 10Gbps each, Thunderbolt delivers PCI Express directly to external high performance peripherals such as RAID arrays, and can support FireWire and USB consumer devices, and Gigabit Ethernet networks via adapters. Thunderbolt also supports DisplayPort for high resolution displays and works with existing adapters for HDMI, DVI and VGA displays. Freely available for implementation on systems, cables and devices, Thunderbolt technology is expected to be widely adopted as a new standard for high performance I/O.

In a new option for Apple’s iMacs users can now configure to have a hard drive and solid state drive installed. According to Apple, Mac OS X and Applications are installed on the solid state drive with user data going on the hard drive.

iMac Refresh Expected May 3

21-inch and 27-inch iMac

Image courtesy of Apple

Last week third party retail sources began to report that iMac supplies were dwindling making it difficult to replenish stock. This was despite the online Apple store and retail stores showing ample supply. Whilst Apple’s online store still shows good stock of the iMac, rumours now suggest a refresh as soon as next week.

Today 9 to 5 Mac reveals that Apple has begun notifying customers that their orders are being pushed back a week:

Due to an unexpected delay, we are unable to ship the following item(s) by the date that you were originally quoted:

Z0JP, IMAC 27”/5750/SD
will now ship on or before
May 02, 2011

A separate report from Mac Rumors states that Apple is planning a change in promotional material for Tuesday, May 3rd.

iMac Supplies Begin to Dwindle Ahead of Rumoured Refresh

21-inch and 27-inch iMac

Image courtesy of Apple

Despite online stores and Apple retail stores reporting healthy supplies of iMacs a report from 9 to 5 Mac this week that multiple sources have said that iMac stock is showing as “constrained”.

The three sources are all reportedly from different countries have said that constrained supplies has made restocking limited.

The iMac which was last updated in late July 2010 was in March rumoured to receive an update in “4-6 weeks”, a timeframe that we have now entered.

iMac Rumoured to Receive Update Within 4-6 Weeks

In a series of tweets today, CNET‘s Brian Tong claims that Apple’s iMac will receive an update that will debut in late April or early May. According to Tong the update will take the predictable course of gaining Intel’s “Sandy Bridge” platform as well as Thunderbolt connectivity.

The iMac is not expected to change in physical appearance in anyway.

EXCLUSIVE: My Sources: New iMacs en route by ocean to U.S. available end of April or 1st week of May. No major cosmetic changes.

My sources say New iMacs will feature Sandy Bridge and Thunderbolt. No other specifics.

We’ll see if this pans out, but I’m highly confident in my source. If you’re looking for a new iMac. WAIT FOR IT!

The iMac was last updated in late-July 2010.

Apple Revises iMac With Faster Processors, Updated Graphics

21.5-inch and 27-inch iMac

Image courtesy of Apple

Apple has today revised the iMac to include the latest Intel Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 processors. Additionally Apple updated the included graphics capabilities, making use of dedicated ATI graphics rather than integrated chips.

“We took the world’s best all-in-one and made it even better,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “With the latest processors, high-performance graphics and signature aluminum and glass design, customers are going to love the latest iMac.”

Dual-core Intel Core i3 and Core i5, and quad-core Core i5 and Core i7 processors set a new benchmark for iMac performance. The processors feature an integrated memory controller to access the system memory directly, allowing the new iMac to take full advantage of its faster 1333 MHz memory. New discrete ATI Radeon HD processors deliver incredibly smooth, crisp graphics for the most demanding 3D games, creative software and technical applications. iMac displays feature IPS technology to deliver a brilliant image across a wide 178 degree viewing angle. The SD card slot on the iMac now supports the SDXC format to handle the latest high-capacity storage cards. Customers of the 27-inch iMac have the option to order a 256GB solid state drive (SSD) as a primary or secondary drive. The iMac SSD supports up to 215 MB/s data transfer rates for faster startup and application launch times.

iMac and Mac Pro Refresh Today Alongside 27-Inch Cinema Display and Magic Trackpad

Apple looks set to release a flurry of updated and new products today. Over the last week stocks of iMac and Mac Pro desktop computers have become strained, suggesting an imminent refresh.

The change of stock quantity is inline with rumours earlier this year which suggested that Apple would refresh the Mac Pro alongside the release of a brand new 27-inch LED Cinema Display. Although the original rumour quoted a release “by June” it appears that one more product release has slowed down Apple’s plans.

Just before WWDC rumours of a “Magic Trackpad” appeared with suggestions of a WWDC release but that never happened. It seems that Apple was waiting for the Bluetooth device to receive approval from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. Last week Apple received such approval.

To add credence to a series of rumours, the ever accurate Daring Fireball blogger John Gruber has pointed towards the release of all four products today.

27-inch LED Cinema Display

Mockup of 27-inch LED Cinema Display | Courtesy of AppleInsider

Apple Releases Security Update, 27-Inch iMac Firmware and More

Apple has today released a flurry of software updates in addition to the update aimed at the brand new MacBook Pros released this week.

27-inch iMac SMC Firmware Update 1.0 – 397KB

This update fixes Target Display Mode compatibility issues on 27-inch iMac computers.

27-inch iMac EFI FW Update 1.0 – 2.1MB

The update is recommended for all quad-core Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors 27-inch iMacs.

This update addresses the following:

  • Resolves an issue that sometimes caused high processor utilization while playing audio through the headphone output mini-jack.
  • Resolves an issue that prevented the display backlight from turning on after powering on the iMac.

MobileMe Backup v3.2 – 6.73MB

Backup 3.2 is recommended for all users of Backup 3. This update improves the reliability of backup restore and uses space more efficiently on your iDisk or local storage (e.g. external hard drive or DVD).

Security Update 2010-003

Security Update 2010-003 is recommended for all users and improves the security of Mac OS X.