Intel launches updated Haswell chips, likely to appear in upcoming MacBook Pro spec bump

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 6.40.05 PM

Intel has debuted the next generation of its Core i5 and i7 processors, according to a report from CPU World. Each of these updated chips sports a 200 MHz speed boost over its previous incarnation, which can currently be found in the MacBook Pro lineup. It’s likely that these processors will be found in a spec-bumped version of the MacBook Pro later this year.

The current series of MacBook Pro processors are available at clock speeds of 2.0 GHz (in the lowest-end 13-inch model) up to 2.6 GHz (in the top-of-the-line, built-to-order 15-inch model). The next-gen models released this week range from 2.2 to 3.0 GHz, which will provide a decent speed boost to each model.

Read more

12-inch Retina MacBook now expected in late Q3 or 2015 as new 11 & 13-inch Airs enter production

Apple’s upcoming redesigned 12-inch MacBook with a Retina display is expected to ship later than expected and new 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air models have gone into production, according to a pair of reports from Taiwan’s Economic Daily News. The first report says that updates to both current MacBook Air sizes have entered production with Apple partner Quanta Computer, and that the new computers will boost Quanta’s 2014 notebook shipment numbers by 15%. The new devices are said to sport new chassis, screens, and chipsets, and volume shipments are due in late-August barring any unforeseen component delays.

Speaking of part delays, Apple’s illusive 12-inch MacBook with Retina display is now expected to ship as early as the end of Q3 2014 or as late as early 2015. The computer was initially reported by multiple analysts and publications to hit the marketplace sometime in the earlier part of the third quarter. Why the apparent delay? Intel. According to the report, the new MacBook’s launch is glued to Intel’s power and performance-efficient 14-nanometer Broadwell part, and as we’ve heard multiple times, those chipsets will be short in supply into next year. Regardless, Apple has shown an ability to stock up on Intel’s latest chips months before the competition, so perhaps Apple will be able to avoid this reported delay…

Read more

Apple releases new cheaper iMac with low-end processor, priced at $1099

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 13.04.24

As rumored last week, Apple has today released a new model of iMac. These machines are considerably cheaper than their predecessors, priced at $1099. Previously, the cheapest iMac SKU was priced at $1299 (which is now the mid-range model).

The cheaper iMac features a 1.4 GHz dual-core i5 CPU, which represents a significant worsening in performance over the previous base model of iMac, which featured a processor clocked at 2.7 GHz.  The CPU does Turbo Boost up to 2.7 GHz however, which does make up some of the difference.

Aside from the CPU, the hard drive has also been cut to 500 GB. The new model also features a lower-end integrated graphics chip. All other iMac models continue to use either Iris Pro integrated graphics or dedicated Nvidia cards. Otherwise, the internals of the new machine are unchanged.

Apple’s Press release below…

Read more

Intel’s Broadwell chip makes rumored fanless MacBook Air a real possibility

mba

Rumors of a fanless 12-inch MacBook have been doing the rounds for quite some time now, and Intel’s announcement last night of a new 14nm Core M Broadwell processor could make it a reality.

The Intel® Core™ M processor will deliver the most energy-efficient Intel Core processor in the company’s history. The majority of designs based on this new chip are expected to be fanless …

Read more

Rumor: Apple working on ARM-based Mac variants with larger trackpad built into keyboard

Mac mini mid-2011 (Apple Thunderbolt Display, MagicTrackPad)

MacBidouille is the source of an interesting new rumor [translation] that Apple is currently experimenting with new ARM-powered Mac variants that include a Magic trackpad built into the system’s keyboard. The company is also reportedly working on a new version of OS X that will be compatible with these ARM machines.

According to MacBidouille’s sources, Apple is developing three new machines with this configuration: the aforementioned iMac and Mac mini as well as a 13″ MacBook, presumably a MacBook Air. The iMac and notebook are both said to have “4 or 8″ quad-core arm64 processors, while the Mac mini has only four.

Read more

New MacBook Airs likely launching tomorrow

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 11.23.40 AM

Update: Here are the specs…

Apple is preparing to launch a refreshed line of MacBook Air laptops as soon as tomorrow, according to multiple sources. These sources say that shipments of new MacBook Airs have begun arriving in large quantities to Apple Stores across the country. Another source adds that Apple Stores are scheduled to re-arrange the placement of Macs in stores to focus on the MacBook Air tomorrow morning…

Read more

RIP Mac optical drives? Rumor suggests Apple to drop last non-Retina MacBook Pro this year

c-mbp13

DigiTimes is claiming that Apple will cease production of the non-Retina version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro this year as it prepares to launch refreshed Retina models toward the end of the year.

Apple is expected to stop production of the 13-inch MacBook Pro in the second half of 2014 and will replace the product line with thinner models equipped with a Retina display. Meanwhile, Intel will offer second-generation ultrabooks in the fourth quarter of 2014, pushing the notebook industry further into the ultra-thin era, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers …  Read more

Tired of waiting for Apple to upgrade the Mac mini to Haswell? Make your own …

hac

If you’ve decided you’ve waited long enough for Apple to update the Mac mini with a Haswell processor, you can always create a Hac mini.

A user posting on the Hacintosh site tonymacx86.com has documented his successful squeezing of an Intel DH61AG motherboard with i3-3225 CPU (55w TDP), 4GB Ram, 128GB mSATA SSD, half mini PCIe Wifi and an external Dell laptop power supply into a 2010 Mac mini case …  Read more

Thinner, lighter, FASTER: Early benchmarks show 50-65% improvement in MacBook Pro’s Iris graphics

Macbook-pro-benchmarks-graphics

Macworld’s benchmarks

…less expensive, better battery life too

Apple’s relentless improvement iterations continue unabated. Macworld’s early benchmarks on Apple’s new base model 13″MacBook Pro with built in Intel Iris Graphics are in and show huge speed gains in graphics performance:

The most impressive improvements in the new laptops came courtesy of the new Iris graphics. Compared to the HD 4000 graphics in the early 2013 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, the Iris graphics posted between 45 and 50 percent higher frame rates in Cinebench r15’s OpenGL tests and the Unigine Valley Benchmark. Unigen’s Heaven benchmark showed the new systems with about 65 percent improvement in frame rates over the earlier model.

Iris Graphics also support displays up to 4K at 24Hz, a first for Apple’s entry level Pro laptops.

CPU performance improvement is slight but the Intel Haswell architecture adds a few hours of (Apple’s estimated) battery life while the machine actually got thinner and lighter. Meanwhile, Apple loaded up faster 802.11ac Wifi and speedy Samsung PCIe SSDs up to 1TB and Thunderbolt 2.0.

Price? Dropped $100  to $1299. (we are already seeing discounts/tax advantages in our Products section). Read more

Opinion: Is Thunderbolt doomed to be the new Firewire, or can the new Mac Pro save it?

thunderbolt

I’m a huge fan of Thunderbolt. A single wire carrying both DisplayPort and high-speed PCIe data is an incredibly elegant approach to minimising cable clutter even if you don’t need the blistering speed, especially when you can use an Apple Thunderbolt Display as a hub for your USB devices.

I also admire clever tech. The reason you can daisy-chain up to six separate devices is because Thunderbolt automatically multiplexes and de-multiplexes the signals as needed. Thunderbolt 2 takes this approach one step further, combining two 10Gbit/s channels into a single 20Gbit/s connection, with the the Thunderbolt controller again doing all the work. It’s impressive stuff.

A fast, clever technology developed by Intel and enthusiastically marketed by Apple ought to stand a fighting chance at mass-market adoption. Sadly, there’s so far not much sign of this happening. It’s all looking rather reminiscent of Firewire …  Read more

Fasten your seatbelts, Mac Pro CPU cracks 30,000 in updated Geekbench tests

pro

There was much disappointment back in June when the new Mac Pro‘s CPU – the 12-core Xeon E5-2697 – delivered a surprisingly low Geekbench score of 23,901. It had been widely expected to break 30,000.

Some cautioned then that the score, based on a 32-bit build of Geekbench running on an early pre-release version of the CPU with a beta version of Mavericks, might not tell the whole story, and new tests by Tom’s Hardware on V2 of the chip appear to confirm this …  Read more