Intel details MacBook-destined Broadwell 14nm chips, should ship by holidays

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Apple has been developing some revamped Mac laptops for several months and years, such as an ultra-slim 12-inch Retina MacBook, and the key to shipping these products is the availability of Intel’s upcoming Broadwell chip. Why? Because the new 14nm Broadwell Core M chip is fanless, small, and according to Intel, the most energy-efficient Intel processor yet. These facts about the processor lineup directly with the rumors of a fanless and light MacBook. Today, Intel has disclosed some new key points about the Core M Broadwell processor:

  • The combination of the new microarchitecture and manufacturing process will usher in a wave of innovation in new form factors, experiences and systems that are thinner and run silent and cool.
  • Intel architects and chip designers have achieved greater than two times reduction in the thermal design point when compared to a previous generation of processor while providing similar performance and improved battery life.
  • The new microarchitecture was optimized to take advantage of the new capabilities of the 14nm manufacturing process.
  • Intel has delivered the world’s first 14nm technology in volume production. It uses second-generation Tri-gate (FinFET) transistors with industry-leading performance, power, density and cost per transistor.
  • Intel’s 14nm technology will be used to manufacture a wide range of high-performance to low-power products including servers, personal computing devices and Internet of Things.
  • The first systems based on the Intel® Core™ M processor will be on shelves for the holiday selling season followed by broader OEM availability in the first half of 2015.
  • Additional products based on the Broadwell microarchitecture and 14nm process technology will be introduced in the coming months.

Notably, as Intel executives hinted earlier this year, Intel is still on track to ship out chips in time for new products to hit this holiday season, and it seems likely that the new 12-inch MacBook will be one of the first major computer launches with the new processor. Intel says that increased availability for the Broadwell processor will occur in the first half of 2015, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to expect various other new Macs (perhaps MacBook Pros or Airs) with more powerful Broadwell chips to hit the market during that timeframe next year.

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Apple re-releases MacBook Air EFI 2.9 update after bugs discovered

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Earlier this month, Apple released a MacBook Air EFI update (version 2.9) with fixes for issues with the laptop waking from sleep. Approximately a week ago, the firmware update was removed by Apple because of bugs causing MacBook Airs to crash.

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Today, Apple has re-released the update with fixes as version 2.9.1:

This update replaces EFI Firmware Update 2.9 and is recommended for MacBook Air (Mid 2011) models.

The update can be found for mid-2011 MacBook Air owners in the Software Update section of the Mac App Store.

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Modbook announces $4k 15-inch pen-based OS X tablet built w/ new Retina MacBooks

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Following up the last Modbook Pro tablet the company is currently selling made from a converted mid-2012 MacBook Pro, today Modbook is back with the announcement of a 15-inch ModBook tablet that uses the new Retina MacBooks Apple just refreshed this week as its guts. For those of you unfamiliar with the company, it first started making OS X based tablets by converting Apple laptops and adding pen input capabilities as far back as 2007.  Read more

Mid-2014 Mac mini listed on Apple Support page, but no 2014 Mac mini in sight

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Apple seems to have inadvertently referenced a new model of Mac mini on an Apple Support page. The page was last modified yesterday, presumably to include information on the new MacBook Pro’s but instead lists “Mac mini (Mid 2014)” as a supported machine. There is a possibility that this is simply a human error on Apple’s part, of course, confusing the MacBook Pro and the Mac mini updates. There haven’t really been rumors of a new Mac mini being in the works, but due to the relative unimportance of the product in the Mac lineup, it is not of the question for it to have slid under the radar.

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Modest Retina MacBook Pro refresh expected tomorrow, still with GeForce GT 750M but base RAM up to 16GB

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The unverified photo from a Chinese Apple Store appearing to show a slight refresh to the Retina MacBook Pro launch is accurate, claims French site MacG, citing a reliable source. The site claims that the refreshed models will go on sale tomorrow.

The refresh is a minor one, with a modest speed boost of 200MHz and an increase in RAM across the range to 16GB. Apple is also, for the first time, offering a 1TB SSD in a standard model …  Read more

Faster Retina MacBook Pros w/ 16GB of RAM across the board teased by unverified Apple Store photo

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An image posted on a Chinese forum, claimed to have been taken inside of Apple’s new Paradise Walk store, indicates that Apple could be preparing to release an updated line of Retina MacBook Pros in the near-future. The image appears to be from one of Apple’s iPad Smart Signs within the store, and the sign advertises 15-inch MacBook Pros with technical specifications and features not found in the current lineup.

The first possibility is that this image is faked, but the other likely possibility is a system error on Apple’s part. There’s also room for this image to indicate an actual MacBook Pro lineup update coming in the near-future. The rumored specifications indicate that Apple will be bumping the standard 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro line from two models to three, and all will include 16GB of RAM as a standard option. Here are all the purported models:

  • 2.2GHz Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost to 3.4GHz), 16GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and Intel Iris Pro Graphics
  • 2.5GHz Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost to 3.7GHz), 16GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, and Intel Iris Pro Graphics & NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M w/2GB Video Memory
  • 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost to 4.0GHz), 16GB of RAM, 1TB of storage, and Intel Iris Pro Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M w/2GB Video Memory

For comparison, here is the current MacBook Pro with Retina display lineup:

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