Category: MacBook 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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Apple Refreshes Notebooks, Desktops Lag Behind

MacBook Air (Mid 2012)

MacBook Air (Mid 2012)

In a demonstration of just how much more important notebooks are to Apple the company today took to the stage at WWDC to refresh all of their portable Macs. Apple gave the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air a minor speed bump as well as releasing a new model of MacBook Pro with a Retina display.

Apple quietly gave the Mac Pro a mild refresh including some newer Intel processors, although they’re still a couple of years old. Unlike the notebooks which gained USB 3.0 support the Mac Pro remains without Thunderbolt or USB 3.0. Neither the iMac nor Mac mini received an update today.

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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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Battery Is Charged

iPad 3 Battery

iPad 3 Battery as shown by iFixit.com

There has been a lot of talk about batteries and power usage recently. It was all kicked off by the announcement and subsequent release of the third-generation iPad. When the iPad was originally released in 2010 many, including myself, were amazed that the iPad had such incredible battery life that it no longer became an issue. It was not something that was worried about.

Apple was obviously proud of the quoted battery life figures it presented with the first iPad because it maintained them with the iPad 2. But what that demonstrated was that Apple was pleased with the battery life and saw it as a major feature and therefore worked hard to produce a System-on-Chip (SoC) that could be powerful yet power efficient. With the iPad 2 Apple doubled the processing speed from the original iPad and delivered up to nine times the graphics performance whilst making the unit thinner and maintaining (in fact, increasing) battery capacity.

But that’s nothing compared to what happened on the iPad 3.

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Next MacBook Pro Refresh to Feature Redesigned Case

Early-2011 MacBook Pro family

Early-2011 MacBook Pro family

Despite the MacBook Pro only being updated a few months ago Mac Rumors is reporting on reliable information that suggests the next refresh will feature a redesigned case.

The MacBook Pro line which was updated in February is said to have only been an incremental update and the next refresh will come with a brand new design. Mac Rumors does not offer any information on what the refresh could look like or when it will be available.

The current look of the MacBook Pro was unveiled in late 2008.

Apple Unleashes New MacBook Pros With Thunderbolt Connectivity

Early-2011 MacBook Pro family

Early-2011 MacBook Pro family

Apple has today as expected released brand new MacBook Pro models that include the very latest dual-core and quad-core Intel Core processors as well as high-speed Thunderbolt I/O technology and a new FaceTime HD camera.

Full press release below.

Apple® today updated the industry-leading MacBook® Pro family with next generation processors and graphics, high-speed Thunderbolt I/O technology and a new FaceTime® HD camera. Featuring the very latest dual-core and quad-core Intel Core processors, the entire MacBook Pro line is up to twice as fast as the previous generation.*

“The new MacBook Pro brings next generation dual and quad Core processors, high performance graphics, Thunderbolt technology and FaceTime HD to the great design loved by our pro customers,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “Thunderbolt is a revolutionary new I/O technology that delivers an amazing 10 gigabits per second and can support every important I/O standard which is ideal for the new MacBook Pro.”

Starting at $1,199 the new 13-inch MacBook Pro offers amazing value and performance in a compact design. The highly portable 13-inch MacBook Pro features Intel Core i5 and Core i7 dual-core processors up to 2.7 GHz and Intel HD Graphics 3000. The powerful 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro models feature quad-core Core i7 processors up to 2.3 GHz and AMD Radeon HD graphics processors with up to 1GB of video memory for high performance gaming, pro video editing and graphics intensive applications.

MacBook Pro is the first computer on the market to include the groundbreaking Thunderbolt I/O technology. Developed by Intel with collaboration from Apple, Thunderbolt enables expandability never before possible on a notebook 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.

The MacBook Pro now includes a built-in FaceTime HD camera with triple the resolution of the previous generation for crisp, widescreen video calls. With Apple’s innovative FaceTime video calling software, the new camera allows high definition video calls between all new MacBook Pro models and supports standard resolution calls with other Intel-based Macs, iPhone® 4 and the current generation iPod touch®. FaceTime is included with all new MacBook Pro models and is available for other Intel-based Macs from the Mac® App Store℠ for 99 cents. The MacBook Pro lineup continues to feature its gorgeous aluminum unibody enclosure, glass Multi-Touch™ trackpad, LED-backlit widescreen display, illuminated full-size keyboard and 7-hour battery.**

As the industry’s greenest notebook lineup, every Mac notebook achieves EPEAT Gold status and meets Energy Star 5.0 requirements, setting the standard for environmentally friendly notebook design.*** Each unibody enclosure is made of highly recyclable aluminum and comes standard with energy efficient LED-backlit displays that are mercury-free and made with arsenic-free glass. Mac notebooks contain no brominated flame retardants, are PVC-free and are constructed with recyclable materials.

Every Mac comes with Mac OS® X Snow Leopard®, the world’s most advanced operating system, and iLife®, Apple’s innovative suite of applications for creating and sharing great photos, movies and music. Snow Leopard builds on more than a decade of innovation and includes multiple features for portable computing such as Multi-Touch navigation, advanced wireless networking, easy file sharing, automated data backup and intelligent power management. The new iLife ’11 features iPhoto® with stunning full screen views for browsing, editing and sharing photos; iMovie® with powerful easy-to-use tools to transform home videos into fun theatrical trailers; and GarageBand® with new ways to improve your playing and create great sounding songs.

Apple to Brand Light Peak as Thunderbolt, Photos Leaked

Purported Thunderbolt port on 13-inch MacBook Pro

Purported Thunderbolt port on 13-inch MacBook Pro

Hot on the heels of a rumoured release date and MacBook Pro specifications we now have some information about how Apple could market Intel’s Light Peak technology. Today several photos leaked that show the specs from MacBook Pro boxes in multiple languages as well as a photo of a MacBook Pro’s ports.

Several sites today posted photos of the spec stickers that adorn packaging boxes for Apple computers. The first site fscklog published a photo of a German language spec sheet that showed a port called “Thunderbolt”, this was followed closely by an English language version published by Mac Rumors shows the same specifications as listed:

  • Core i5 dual-core at 2.3GHz 3 MB cache
  • 4 GB of DDR3 1333MHz
  • 320GB 5400-rpm hard drive
  • 13.3-inch glossy 1280×800 display
  • Intel HD Graphics 3000 with 384MB of RAM shared with main memory
  • FaceTime HD camera
  • 8x SuperDrive
  • Thunderbolt supports high-speed I/O and Mini DisplayPort devices
  • SDXC Card slot, Firewire 800 and two USB 2.0
  • Digital Audio Output
  • Integrated Ethernet
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Size and weight 32.5 by 22.7 by 2.41cm, 2.04 kg

Mac Rumors has “confirmed” that the specifications below to the new low-end 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Mac4Ever also posted some marketing material showing Apple making use of the term “Thunderbold High-Speed I/O” as well as an image of the MacBook Pro ports showing a thunderbolt symbol next to what looks like a standard Mini DisplayPort port.

Apple is expected to release updated MacBook Pro models on Thursday, February 24.

Purported MacBook Pro Specs Leak

MacBook

White MacBook expected to be scrapped in upcoming refresh

Following on from intense speculation on when the MacBook Pro will see a refresh we are now presented with a selection of rumoured specifications. French site MacGeneration has published specs which are purported to belong to the new MacBook Pros:

  • no more white MacBook (Apple goes back to two lines of 13″ inchers)
  • 16 GB SSD mSATA drives on all models to store the system
  • Core i3 and third USB port on the 13″ model
  • Matte screen option on the higher-end 13″
  • Option to replace the SuperDrive with a SSD on the 15 and 17″ models
  • HD screens on all models : 1440×900 on the 13″, 1680×1050 on the 15″
  • 200 to 300 grams lighter : 1.8 kg for the 13″, 2.3 kg for the 15″, 2.65 kg for the 17″
  • Better battery life : 12 hours on the 13″, 10 hours on the 15″
  • 8 GB of RAM on the 17″

The MacBook Pro update is widely rumoured to arrive this coming Thursday and will reportedly coincide with Intel announcing its new Light Peak data transfer technology. MacGeneration quotes another source who says that the new MacBook Pros will include a “new technology” which could possibly refer to the inclusion of Light Peak.

Previous rumours around the MacBook Pros from this week have looked at larger glass trackpads, some models weighing up to half a pound less and the reduction in number of models from six to five.

MacBook Pro Refresh Expected February 24

MacBook Pro

Unibody MacBook Pro

Evidence is continuing to mount that Apple will refresh its line of MacBook Pros as soon as this week. Although rumours of a MacBook Pro refresh have been flowing for several weeks now it has become clear that Apple’s channel inventory has dried up of old models entirely. Apple retail and online stores around the world are reporting very low stock of MacBook Pro models with most online stores stating that models ship in “3-5 business days”.

Mac Rumors this week reports that Thursday, February 24 is the day that Apple intends to unveil the new MacBook Pro lineup. AppleInsider has also clarified this timeline, informing its readers that resellers in Europe have been warned to expect deliveries of sealed palettes this week.

Apple’s new MacBook Pro models are expected to employ Intel’s new Sandy Bridge range of processors. The processors officially went on sale on February 20th but it is likely that manufacturers have had access to them for some time. Based on a 32nm manufacturing process Apple will likely make use of the Core i5 and i7 units clocking in at between 2.50GHz and 2.70GHz.

On Monday Boy Genius Report came out and reported numerous rumours about the upcoming refresh. The new MacBook Pro models are said to include larger glass trackpads and it is rumoured that Apple could offer the option to install Mac OS X on an internal SSD drive (8-16GB in size) whilst also having a large regular hard drive present. BGR also reports that the new MacBook Pro models will be around half a pound lighter and that there will only be five models as opposed to the current six.

MacBook Pro Refresh Expected in Early March

Following a series of reports about stocks of MacBook Pro models beginning to dwindle, AppleInsider has now chimed in with a rumour that the refresh will arrive as soon as March.

The MacBook Pro which hasn’t been updated since April last year has been rumoured for some time to be due an update, in recent weeks reports of stock shortages in the supply channel have become common place.

According to AppleInsider a “person familiar with the matter” says that Apple plans to introduce new MacBook Pro models “within about two weeks”. According to the source the refresh has been delayed due to manufacturing issues with Intel’s new Sandy Bridge processors. Based on this information and a rumour from KennethLund.dk it looks likely that Apple’s MacBook Pro refresh will arrive on Tuesday, March 1.