After nearly two years without an update, Apple to finally revamp Mac Pro next week

Yesterday, we reported that Apple has an incredible WWDC surprise: major updates to four of its Mac lines. We were able to affirm that three of these updates would cover the redesigned MacBook Pro with a Retina Display, refreshed 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs, and new iMacs in two screen sizes. Besides those three Mac lines updates, we were unsure if the either the Mac mini or the Mac Pro would make it as the fourth update. We speculated that it could be the Mac mini due to the newly available Ivy Bridge processors, but now, reliable sources are reporting that Apple will, in fact, unveil a new Mac Pro at WWDC next week.

Sources have also been able to provide some part numbers and prices to prove this:

MD770LL/A – K5BPLUS,BETTER, BTR-USA

MD771LL/A – K5BPLUS,BEST,BTR-USA

MD772LL/A – K5BPLUS,ULTIMATE,BTR-USA

The pricing is similar to current Mac Pro models. What’s interesting here is that we’ve seen updates to every other line of Macs that Apple carries….except one…The Mac Mini.

Our sources are currently unsure of the feature-set coming with the new Mac Pro, but these sources say that there will likely now be three configurations. Two standard versions of the Mac Pro and a third version with OS X Server capabilities. In early 2011, we reported on some of the work that Apple engineers had been prototyping up for a future version of Apple’s Pro desktop line. For that report, sources said that Apple had been experimenting with a new Mac Pro design that is rackable and stackable. These prototype machines also included space for more storage drives, an important feature now that the Xserve has been long discontinued. With a year having passed since we heard about these prototype Mac Pros and the ability of Thunderbolt to offload a lot of the expandability, the final new Mac Pro designs could be different than the current designs but we haven’t yet heard definitively either way.

MacRumors reported that Apple has begun pulling Mac Pro stock from some of its retail stores. We’ve heard the same from tipsters, left.

With Apple adding the super-fast USB 3.0 technology to its next-generation MacBook Pro, and with Apple’s latest Macs including the even faster Thunderbolt I/O technology, Apple will likely add these faster connection ports to their latest Pro desktop. Since the Mac Pro is Apple’s most high-end machine for professional workers of all types, the most important features are the internals. Earlier this year, Intel released a series of Xeon E5 chips that would seem like a lock for a new Mac Pro. These new Mac Pros will likely also likely feature the latest graphics chips.

Apple last updated the Mac Pro in July 2010, making this upcoming update significant. It is unclear why Apple had left the Mac Pro in its 2010 form for so long, but a reader email from 2011 might explain that. According to the Apple executive who replied to a 9to5Mac reader inquiring about the Mac Pro’s status, Apple had been “investing heavily” in the professional desktop computer. We are unsure what investing heavily will mean for the final product, but it should surely be an incredible update over the nearly two year old model.

The Mac Pro’s demise: greatly exaggerated, indeed. Read more

Rumor: Apple working on standalone iSight camera?

The New iPad Buyers’ Guide published by iLounge this week included a piece that speculated Apple might be working on a standalone camera product. While the story discussed the possibility of Apple working on a point-and-shoot iSight camera, iLounge clearly labeled it as speculation and simultaneously noted it received a tip claiming Apple is working on the project.

Take special note of pages 152 and 153—“Making the case for a standalone iSight Camera.” I’ll share more on this topic shortly, but for now, I’ll say that this two-page spread very nearly had a different title. We were tipped that this project is actually happening at Apple right now, but we didn’t feel confident enough in our source to call it a certainty; it’s therefore billed as speculation. Still, there’s enough smoke to make us think there’s a fire.

It did not feel strongly enough in the source to run the story, but Jeremy Horwitz of iLounge sent out a tweet today noting once again that Apple is working on a standalone camera:


Read more

Western Digital begins shipment of their Thunderbolt Duo Drives (WDBUPB0040JSL-NESN and WDBUPB0060JSL-NESN)

We first profiled the Western Digital MyBook Thunderbolt Duo at CES in January and noted the extraordinary speed of the drives, especially when daisy chained (above find 780MB/s read, 600+MB/s write). Today, Macrumors notes that Western Digital is making the drives available for $599 (4TB) and $699 (6TB).  While those prices are steep, they fall in line with new Thunderbolt parts across the line.

We’ve reviewed the much slower Firewire/USB Western Digital Studio 6TB drives and came away impressed. Those retail for around $430 currently ($270 less than the Thunderbolt version) but use energy efficient (read: slower) internal drives and slower Firewire 800 connectivity options.

Notably B&H Photo and Video is selling the Western Digital MyBook Thunderbolt Duo already with $50 discounts (6TB – $649, 4TB- $549) and tax only in New York but without solid shipping dates. Read more

January Apple event to focus on two ‘large projects’ relating to education, iTunes

Following multiple reports claiming that Apple is holding an event later this month to discuss new media-related services, Clayton Morris shared some tidbits that he has heard from sources. First, Morris claims he heard about the event in September 2011 and the event was originally scheduled for late 2011. Morris said the event has been long in the making and the announcements were close to Apple Co-founder Steve Jobs. Morris again affirmed that we will not be seeing hardware at the event and he expects two “large projects” relating to education to be announced.

We have independently heard that the iTunes team is on “lockdown mode” ahead of the announcements, which have been delayed before as also reported by Morris. This affirms that whatever Apple announces will be connected to iTunes in some fashion. Keep in mind the iTunes team runs the actual iTunes Store, the App Store, and the iBookstore.

Update: MacRumors reported that Apple has filmed promotional interviews with executives from the textbook publishing industry, possibly affirming that this upcoming event will focus on digital textbooks. They noted that while these interviews have indeed been worked on, there is no confirmation that they relate to this upcoming event.

Update 2: Goodereader claimed that Apple will be launching an iTunes self-publishing service with the EPUB format… Read more

Apple adds bogus AppleTVs, iPads, iPods and iPhones to another config file, won’t deter developers

Earlier today, Mark Tweeted the amusing new file Apple put in iOS 5.1 beta 2 which includes a lot of silly references to devices that don’t exist.  This isn’t entirely new – Apple had done this to another file in iOS 5.1B1.

As you’d probably expect, it isn’t going to stop developers from finding the special sause inside iOS 5.1B2.  That doctored file is a high level file which is easily found.  Developers which we are in contact with are already digging through the lower level stuff which remains the the feeding grounds for useful information. Read more