Apple’s Thunderbolt hardware pieces are coming together and to get ready, Apple is updating MacBook Air firmware. The 4 MB update promises to enhance the stability of Lion Recovery from an Internet connection, and resolve issues with Apple Thunderbolt Display compatibility and Thunderbolt Target Disk Mode performance on MacBook Air (mid 2011) models.
We noted before the release of the new Apple products that it often pays to wait a week before buying Apple’s new products. Not only don’t you get “the first ones off the line”, but prices drop significantly over the first week.
A number of Apple Authorized Retailers/affiliates are new selling Apple’s new MacBook Airs and Minis at prices up to $100 lower than Apple. MacMall and Amazon appear to be the lowest.
Update: The MacMall deals are over.
For RAM upgrades, you aren’t going to do better than this 8GB for $45
The old Cinema Display (left) had three USB ports on the back and required a cable with separate power, USB and Mini DisplayPort connections. The new Thunderbolt display (right) adds Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire 800 and Thunderbolt, all fed to a computer via a single Thunderbolt cable (in addition to three USB ports, built-in microphone and FaceTime HD camera).
We take it you’re still digesting the new hardware Apple has released this morning. Before you grab that credit card, here are some observations you may wanna take into consideration.
• Built-in FaceTime camera has not been upgraded to high-definition. As a result, you are not able to FaceTime in HD with people who use the latest iMacs or MacBook Pros, which sport a FaceTime HD camera
•Based on the description from Apple “And because we place the flash chips directly on the logic board, they take up much less space — about 90 percent less, in fact.” , it sounds like the SSD is probably no longer upgradable via OWC and others (thanks commenter)
• Just as previous, RAM is soldered directly on the motherboard so configure your machine carefully because you won’t be able to upgrade RAM yourself later
• Just like with the previous generation, the 11.6-incher lacks an SD card slot found on the 13-inch model
• Last year’s models got a significant discount today
• New Airs sport Bluetooth 4.0 compatibility versus Bluetooth 3.0 in the previous generation, which gives you low-energy wireless Bluetooth transfer within a short range of up to 50 meters, per this Wikipedia article
• New MacBook Airs can use Firewire and Gig Ethernet! If you hook up your new MacBook Air to that latest Apple Thunderbolt Display, you will enjoy the ultimate simplicity because a single Thunderbolt cable is all you need to charge your notebook and transfer data from your monitor’s Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire 800, an additional Thunderbolt port, three USB ports, a FaceTime HD camera, 2.1 stereo sound and a built-in microphone. Perhaps Apple will release a Thunderbolt to GigE, Firewire, etc. standalone adapter.
• On the Thunderbolt Displays, the old MagSafe would have been a better match, because the new one has to be bent around (see the image below) for MacBook Pros
• Additionally, On MacBook Airs, the Thunderbolt port and MagSafe are on opposite sides of the keyboard meaning that cable is going to Y-Out behind the computer.
The new Thunderbolt Display comes with a new MagSafe adapter, which has to be bent around the computer rather than going straight on, like the old MafSafe adapter could have
Along with the new MacBook Air and Mini updates today, Apple dropped the previous Apple-Certified refurbished versions to all time lows offering $250 off yesterday’s prices. Remember, Apple’s stock of the older models didn’t just disappear. Many moved to “Refurb”. Apple also includes the same 1-year warranty.
MacBook Air MC505LL/A Core 2 Duo 1.4GHz 11.6″ 64GB SSD for $749 ($80 drop)
MacBook Air MC506LL/A Core 2 Duo 1.4GHz 11.6″ 128GB SSD for $949 ($50 drop)
MacBook Air MC503LL/A Core 2 Duo 1.86GHz 13.3″ 128GB SSD for $999 ($80 drop)
MacBook Air MC504LL/A Core 2 Duo 1.86GHz 13.3″ 256GB SSD for $1,249 ($80 drop)
Compare those to the new MacBook Airs:
2.4-lb. MacBook Air 11.6″ Core i5 1.6GHz 64GB SSD for $999
2.4-lb. MacBook Air 11.6″ Core i5 1.6GHz 128GB SSD for $1,199
3-lb. MacBook Air 13.3″ Core i5 1.7GHz 128GB SSD for $1,299
3-lb. MacBook Air 13.3″ Core i5 1.7GHz 256GB SSD for $1,599
Apple Certified Minis Also saw drops (Remember, the $469, $549 models have a Superdrive and probably make better media centers ;):
Apple Mac mini MC270LL/A Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz Desktop for $469 ($130 drop)
Apple Mac mini MC438LL/A Core 2 Duo 2.66GHz Desktop for $549 ($170 drop)
Apple Mac mini MC438LL/A Core 2 Duo 2.66GHz w/ Snow Leopard Server for $749 ($100 drop) Read more
MacRumors noticed that Apple placed images of their new LED Cinema Display on their website yesterday. The leaked display looks identical to the current model, but will have a Thunderbolt port on the back to easily connect with Apple’s latest Thunderbolt machines: iMacs, MacBook Pros and Mac Pros, MacBook Airs, and Mac minis in the very near future. You can tell that these are new displays based on the unreleased model number, previously thought to be a new White MacBook that they are attached to and by the OS X Lion wallpaper.
The differentiation is important because, as Apple has warned in a previous KB article, the CD no longer has to be the end of a Thunderbolt chain of devices. For instance, you could have an external hard drive array connected to your monitor permanently rather than having to plug into another device which would terminate at the monitor. For MacBook Air/Pro users, this would allow the ‘power-USB-Thunderbolt’ cable to do everything, yet again.
9to5mac partner Dealnews today publishes price trends research showing that the best time to buy a Mac might not be at launch. Tax issues aside, even waiting a few days for Amazon and other outlets to carry new Macs can save a hundred bucks or more.
We’ll of course have any announcements, should they happen tomorrow and links to products as soon as they become available.
We have been expecting new MacBook Airs this week and now it appears that the ultra-thin notebooks won’t be the only new Macs this week. According to our source Mr. X, part numbers for an upgraded Mac Pro line have appeared, hinting at a release for the new line of professional-minded desktop Macs in the coming days. Here are the new MacBook Airs:
As you can see from the Apple-internal part numbers above, Apple will be releasing four new MacBook Air models. This includes two 11 inch models and two 13 inch models; both screen sizes will come in entry level and upgraded configurations. Built-to-order options (BTO) will be available as well. We expect some RAM and processor upgrades. Our sources who handled the new MacBook Air told us earlier this month to not expect any noticeable exterior changes. Speedy Sandy Bridge processors and Thunderbolt I/O are this model’s main upgrades.
Surprisingly, it also looks like new Mac Pros are coming as early as this week. The new line was rumored to be launching in the last week of July or the first week of August, but it looks like Apple is getting them out earlier (or we just got the part numbers super early, which is unlikely). The new Mac Pros are may feature a re-designed enclosure that is both narrower and rack-mountable. A faster, 16 core model is also a possibility and Thunderbolt is an obvious addition. As expected, a new Mac Pro Server model will also debut. Here are the new Mac Pros:
We’ve heard from a few overseas sources that Apple Retail stores are planning ‘overnights’ on July 13th. Overnights are generally where Apple refreshes store displays and trains up management on new products. Sometimes it is big stuff and sometimes it is insignificant (at least to us).
July 13th, however, lines up with our Lion release date pretty nicely. We’re expecting the Lion release obviously, and also some new MacBook Airs which may or may not have faster storage (but not this fast), a Sandy Bridge CPU, HD Facetime cam and Thunderbolts coming out the side.
Along with the Airs, there have been shortages of the White MacBooks, Mac Minis and (perhaps redesigned) Pros — everything that doesn’t currently have Thunderbolt — so those could also see updates. If not on the 14th, then perhaps shortly after.
In fact, MacBook Pros and iMacs with Snow Leopard pre-installed have also seen some hiccups in inventory globally so we’re thinking Apple is going to re-package those items for Lion at some point in the next few months. Probably sooner rather than later.
Just one question? Anyone camping out?
We’ve been hearing reports of minor – not severe – white MacBook constraints as early as last week. The white MacBooks are not even close to as constrained as the MacBook Air and the Mac mini – which is in fact constrained as well – but the process leading up to a product refresh is booting up. Now, we’ve discovered that Best Buy is marking the $999 white MacBooks as “backordered” in their systems.
This is the same system that currently marks the constrained Mac minis as “backordered,” as we reported two weeks ago. Looking deeper into BestBuy’s online store, the major Apple reseller is quoted new white MacBook shipments between July 15th and July 27th. We’re not saying that this backordered status means a refresh for the MacBook, as this can just be indicative of Apple loading OS X Lion – rumored to be launching in mid-July – on to the consumer notebooks. More after the break:
But what else could these new Airs have under the hood? Put your answers below and any additional items in the comments.Read more
For those of us who still use a Mac Mini (or other Mac) as a MediaCenter connected to our TVs, today’s hack from Erica Sadun is a blessing. She created a Mac Application that can catch Airplay from iOS devices and output the video on the screen. For all intents, AirPlayer lets your Mac do what an AppleTV does naturally.
You can download the Macintosh Application, called AirPlayer.app here.
The interesting question is: Does Apple want us doing this? They make much more money selling Minis (and other Macs) than they do on AppleTV units. However, it would seem easy enough for Apple to include this type of Application with Mac OSX. So why does Sadun have to build it instead? Are we in for another cat and mouse chase?
(update: it is a .01 release and we did have some trouble getting it to work with a YouTube video over wifi) Read more