Category: Mac Pro

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 Preparing Mac Pro Refresh Featuring 16-Cores

Apple’s top-end Mac the Mac Pro hasn’t seen an update since July 2010, but it’s not uncommon for Apple to be lax on updates to this machine. Now rumours suggest that a refresh could be nearing.

9 to 5 Mac is reporting that Apple is preparing to release an updated Mac Pro in late July or early August, a timeframe that would coincide perfectly with the release of Apple’s latest operating system, OS X Lion. Internal documentation is said to show reference to a “Mid 2011″ Mac Pro with models featuring 6 cores, 8 cores, 12 cores and for the first time 16 cores.

9 to 5 Mac doesn’t offer any further information about the refresh, in particular whether the update will see a new design come into play.

iPhoto 9.0.1, Logic and Mac Pros Receive Updates

Apple this week released a flurry of software updates for a number of different pieces of software, also released was an EFI update for the mid-2010 Mac Pro models.

iPhoto 9.0.133.87MB

This update addresses issues that, in extremely rare cases, could result in data loss when upgrading a library from an earlier version of iPhoto.

Logic Express 9.1.3139.68MB

This update delivers improved general stability and compatibility.

Issues addressed with 9.1.3 include:

  • Improved compatibility with Hyper-Threading.

Logic Pro 9.1.3193.01MB

This update delivers improved general stability and compatibility.

Issues addressed with 9.1.3 include:

  • Improved compatibility with Hyper-Threading.

Mac Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.51.96MB

This update is recommended for all Mac Pro (Mid 2010) models and addresses the following issues:

  • Resolves an issue that prevented the firmware password prompt from being displayed
  • Resolves an issue that prevented the Boot Picker from being presented if Ethernet is connected to a network without DHCP

New Mac Pro Unveiled With 12 Processing Cores

Apple today unveiled a new Mac Pro line with up to 12 processing cores and up to 50 percent greater performance than the previous generation. Featuring the latest quad-core and 6-core Intel Xeon processors, all-new ATI graphics and the option for up to four 512GB solid state drives (SSD), the new Mac Pro continues to deliver amazing performance and expandability for the most demanding consumers and professionals.

“The new Mac Pro is the most powerful and configurable Mac we’ve ever made,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “With up to 12 cores, the new Mac Pro outperforms our previous top-of-the-line system by up to 50 percent, and with over a billion possible configurations, our customers can create exactly the system they want.”

Mac Pro features the next generation quad-core and 6-core Intel Xeon processors running at speeds up to 3.33 GHz with an integrated memory controller for faster memory bandwidth and reduced memory latency; Turbo Boost to dynamically boost processor speeds up to 3.6 GHz; and Hyper-Threading to create up to 24 virtual cores. The Mac Pro now comes with the ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics processor with 1GB of memory and customers can configure-to-order the even faster ATI Radeon HD 5870 with 1GB of memory.

Mac Pro also now features two Mini DisplayPorts and one dual-link DVI port. The additional Mini DisplayPort output allows customers to connect two LED Cinema Displays without an additional graphics card or adapter and the dual-link DVI port supports legacy DVI-based displays up to a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels.

The new Mac Pro will be available in August.

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

WWDC 2010 Rumour Roundup

Moscone West - WWDC 2010 Banners

Moscone West in San Francisco ready for WWDC 2010 | Photo: Adam Jackson

The coming week marks one of the most important in Apple’s calendar, with the demise of Apple’s presence at Macworld the Worldwide Developers Conference marks the only occasion for Apple to host a scheduled stage event. WWDC also allows a significant number of developers across all of Apple’s platforms to learn new skills and come face to face with hundreds of Apple engineers.

On Monday morning Steve Jobs will take the stage at 10 a.m. Pacific time to open WWDC and announce a flurry of new and/or updated products. Speculation leading up to this years WWDC has been particularly dull following Gizmodo’s revealing of the latest iPhone some two months ago.

But it’s possible that Apple will have a couple of surprises up its sleeve, so here are the rumours that have led up to this years WWDC and World of Apple’s take on how likely they are to appear during the keynote.

Join World of Apple on Monday, June 7 at 10AM PT/6PM BST for up to the minute coverage of WWDC 2010.

iPhone HD – Very likely

It’s unlikely that Apple won’t announce a new iPhone on-stage tomorrow and to the same extent it looks unlikely that Apple will surprise us. For lots of information about what we do know about the next iPhone take a look here.

In summary World of Apple expects Apple to announce a new iPhone called iPhone HD and will make it available for sale to a number of countries on June 22. The iPhone HD is likely to still only be available from AT&T in the U.S.

iPhone OS 4.0 – Very likely

Apple has pegged iPhone OS 4.0 as being ready for the summer and in past years has coincided the software release around hardware updates. Last week Apple didn’t release iPhone OS 4.0 beta 5 and beta 4 is not ready for the prime time. It is likely that Apple will take another look at iPhone OS 4.0 and release either beta 5 or a release preview to developers.

Mutli-touch Trackpad for Desktop – Very likely

Although hints of a desktop based trackpad have been in the air for a couple of years it was Monday morning that saw photos purporting to be the device. Dubbed “Magic Trackpad” it looks likely that Apple will unveil the device at WWDC for use with desktop computers and will bring the multi-touch gestures that notebook users have enjoyed for years to the desktop.

Mac OS X 10.6.4, Safari 5 and Xcode 4 – Very likely

Mac OS X 10.6.4 entered the testing cycle towards the end of April, after just a few seeds the OS release appeared to enter a finished state. It is possible that Mac OS X 10.6.4 will be released to accompany new Mac hardware and accessories as well as Safari 5.

The first mention of Safari 5 appeared over the weekend with French Apple rumour site Mac Generation publishing a spec list for the release of Safari 5 which is expected at WWDC.

The feature list for Safari 5 is expected to be as follows:

  • Safari Reader: Click on the new reader icon to view articles on the web in a single, clutter-free page.
  • Improved Performance: Safari 5 executes JavaScript up to 25% faster than Safari 4. Better page caching and DNS prefetching speed up browsing.
  • Bing Search Option: New Bing search option for Safari’s search field, in addition to Google and Yahho!
  • Improved HTML5 support: Safari supports over a dozen new HTML5 features, including Geolocation, full screen for HTML5 video, closed captions for HTML5 video, new sectioning elements (article, aside, footer, header, group, nave and section), HTML AJAX history, EventSource, WebSocket, HTML5 draggable attribute, HTML5 forms validation, and HTML5 Ruby.
  • Safari Developer Tools: A new Timeline Panel in the Web Inspector shows how Safari interacts with a website and identifies areas for optimisation. New keyboard shortcuts make it faster to switch between panels.

Other improvements include:

  • Smarter Address Field: The Smart Address Field can now match text against the titles of webpages in History and Bookmarks, as well as any part of their URL.
  • Tabs Setting: Automatically open new webpages in tabs instead of in separate windows.
  • Hardware Acceleration for Windows: use the power of the computer’s graphics processor to smoothly display media and effects on PC as well as Mac.
  • Search History with Date: A new date indicator in Full History Search shows when web pages were viewed.
  • Top Sites/History Button: Switch easily between Top Sites and Full History Search with a new button that appears at the top of each view.
  • Private Browsing Icon: A “Private” icon appears in the Smart Address Field when Private Browsing is on. Click on the icon to turn off Private Browsing.
  • DNS Prefetching: Safari looks at the addresses of links on web pages and can load those pages faster.
  • Improved Page Caching: Safari can add additional types of web pages to the cache so they load quickly.
  • XSS Auditor: Safari can filter potentially malicious scripts used in cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks.
  • Improved JavaScript Support: Safari allows web applications that use JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) to run faster and more securely.

Xcode 4 is also expected to be demo’d at WWDC to the hoards of attending developers.

Mac Pro Refresh and 27-inch Display – Somewhat likely

The cards have been on the table for a while; Apple hasn’t update the Mac Pro since March 2009. Intel now has solid shipments of size-core Xeon chips which could be perfectly suited for the Mac Pro. We could see Apple announcing an update to the Mac Pro to feature 12-cores running at 2.93GHz. It is also possible that with keynote time restraints that Apple could just update the Mac Pro with no fanfare.

The first reports of a 27-inch Cinema Display appeared earlier this year and pointed towards the June timeframe for release. The report speculated that the 27-inch display had been delayed whilst waiting for the cost of 27-inch displays with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 to come down.

The 27-inch Cinema Display is expected to make use of the same IPS, LED-backlit display panel that is in the 27-inch iMac.

Apple TV Revamp – Unlikely

Apple continues to refer to Apple TV as a hobby, claiming that the TV market is difficult to penetrate. But recent rumours suggested that an Apple TV revamp would focus on streaming content but still allow the Apple TV to be paired to a computer or Time Capsule.

The hardware in the Apple TV was said to be based on the newest iPhone and the software built-upon iPhone OS 4.

At the time the rumour suggested that the Apple TV would not see primetime at WWDC.

Mac OS X 10.7 – Very unlikely

Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard was released last year in October, one years after it was previewed at WWDC 2008. Of course Snow Leopard was just building upon Leopard’s success. It is likely that 10.7 will be a significant update and although WWDC would be the place to reveal details it seems unlikely this year.

Others

  • iPhone OS renamed “Touch OS” – possible
  • Cloud-based iTunes – unlikely
  • MobileMe revamp as well as cheaper or free – somewhat likely
  • Mac mini, MacBook Air refresh – very unlikely

NAB 2010 Apple Event, Hardware and Software Updates Expected

This Wednesday Apple is due to hold an event at this years National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show. Apple has previously used the annual event as a venue for releases of new video and audio software as well as occasionally professional level hardware.

After a couple of years of absence from NAB Apple appears to be returning and at the same time hinting at software and hardware updates. The invite reads:

Please join Apple for an update on their latest hardware and software products. Lunch will be provided to all those attending.

Date: Wednesday April 14th, 2010
Time: 11:30am – 12:30pm (PT)
Where: Renaissance Hotel, Las Vegas
2nd Floor “Rainbow” Conference Room

Please take a moment to RSVP above as space is limited.

Naturally the invite could be inviting attendees to view current software and hardware offerings but the event this Wednesday comes hot on the heels of rumours of MacBook Pro updates and speculation has been mounting for months about Mac Pro updates which some say are overdue.

In addition to hardware updates Apple could also use the stage to show off a new version of Final Cut Studio which despite being rumoured to be revamped at NAB 2010.

Apple Readying 27-Inch LED Cinema Display, 12-Core Mac Pro for June

Apple is set to release a new model of LED-backlit Cinema Display as well as introduce a major update to its Mac Pro workstations.

The report from AppleInsider passing on information from “people familiar” with the matter suggest that Apple is preparing the two products for a June release. The first product will be a larger version of Apple’s current 24-inch LED-backlit Cinema Display which was released in October 2008.

The 27-inch display is said to go by the codename “K59″ and has apparently been in Apple’s labs for sometime while the company waited for the cost of large LCD panels with resolutions of 2560 x 1440 pixels to drop.

In addition despite recent rumours of a January release AppleInsider pinpoints June as the release for its latest Mac Pro offerings, according to the newest rumour details of specs are scarce but are likely to include a pair of Intel Westmere-based hexacore processors, giving the Mac Pro a total of 12-cores.

27-inch LED Cinema Display

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

Hexacore Mac Pro Expected Within 7 Days

It is being rumoured by ZDNet that Apple will release a new Mac Pro model this coming Tuesday with a new hexacore Core i7-980x processor. According to ZDNet the “tipsters” point towards Tuesday, March 16 as the likely date for the release.

The Core i7-980x is due for release from Intel this coming Tuesday and will mark Intel’s first six-core processor running at 3.33GHz (TurboBoost to 3.6GHz) and based on 32nm technology.

9to5 Mac is speculating that the release will be tomorrow.