Last night, major retailers across the United States began offering Intel Ivy Bridge processors along with Ivy Bridge-optimized Intel Z77 motherboards (Sandy Bridge H61, H67 and z68 MoBos/Chipsets are still Ivy compatible). You can even find significant discounts ($50/off at Amazon above) already.
As TonyMacx86 notes, a kernel patch is necessary to build a Hackintosh with Ivy Bridge currently. That has not stopped some savvy Hackintoshers from getting MacOS up and running (and benchmarked). However, Apple has not shipped a native OS kernel compatible with Ivy Bridge, which makes the patched kernel less desirable than a vanilla kernel that supports Ivy Bridge.
It is not certain if Mac OS 10.7.4 is Ivy compatible (commenters—correct me, if I am wrong).
With Ivy Bridge processors now on store shelves, it would seem that there are not any external barriers to Apple releasing new Ivy Bridge-powered systems.
- Tri-gate transistor technology (less than 50% power consumption at the same performance level as 2-D planar transistors).
- PCI Express 3.0 support.
- Max CPU multiplier of 63 (57 for Sandy Bridge).
- RAM support up to 2800 MT/s in 200 MHz increments.
- Intel HD Graphics 2500/4000 with DirectX 11, OpenGL 3.1, and OpenCL 1.1 support.
- The built-in GPU is believed to have up to 16 execution units (EUs), compared to Sandy Bridge’s maximum of 12.
- A new random number generator and the RdRand instruction, codenamed Bull Mountain.
- Intel Quick Sync Video.
- DDR3L low voltage for mobile processors.
- Multiple 4K video playback. Source: Wikipedia
- Intel’s upcoming Ivy Bridge Quad-Core i7-3770K benchmarked on Mac OS 10.7.3 (9to5mac.com)
- The next Macs will likely have one of these Intel Ivy Bridge processors, due in a month (9to5mac.com)
- Ivy Bridge tested, significantly faster and more power efficient (9to5mac.com)