Apple building support for driving 4K displays at ‘Retina’ resolution, 60Hz output from 2013 MacBook Pros

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4K display running at “Retina” resolution on 10.9.3

Earlier today, Apple provided developers with the first beta for the upcoming release of OS X Mavericks version 10.9.3. Apple did not disclose any new features coming in 10.9.3, but we have discovered that the update includes notable enhancements for users with Macs connected to 4K-resolution monitors. With 10.9.3, Mac users can now natively set their 4K monitors to run the Mac operating system at a pixel-doubled “Retina” resolution.

The new settings, which appear nearly identical to the settings on a standard Retina MacBook Pro display, can be seen here on a 10.9.3 Mac connected to a 4K monitor:

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

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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

New Retina MacBook Pros can drive 4K displays at 60Hz – when running Windows, Mac OS needs new drivers

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Tests by French site Mac4Ever.com found that current model Retina MacBook Pro machines can use their Thunderbolt 2 connections to drive the Sharp PN-K321 4K display at 60Hz when running Windows 8.1 with the latest NVidia drivers, rather than the 30Hz possible with OS X. This suggests that OS X will be able to do the same when Apple updates the rMBP video/Thunderbolt 2 drivers.

While 30Hz is good enough for movies, our own Seth Weintraub found on his bargain Seiki that it gives a poor experience when scrolling webpages, and is of course completely unusable for games. 60Hz, in contrast, gives a smooth experience when using a computer. The mystery had been why the latest Retina MacBook Pros, with Thunderbolt 2 support, were limited to 30Hz when the specs should have made them capable of double this – and the video drivers appear to be the answer …

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Apple fixes 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro trackpad/keyboard issues, graphics bug on 15-inch

Screen Shot 2013-11-07 at 3.06.20 PM

With the new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro launch last month, many users have noticed and complained about issues relating to the computer’s keyboard and trackpad becoming unresponsive.

In line with Apple’s promise, a fix has been delivered:

This update is recommended for MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, late 2013) models.    This update addresses an issue where the built-in keyboard and Multi-Touch trackpad may become unresponsive.

The solution comes in the form of the MacBook Pro Retina EFI Update 1.3, and this update is available via Software Update in the Mac App Store. Apple has also released an update for the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro to fix issues relating to NVIDIA Graphics chips:

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

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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

New Haswell MacBook Pro teardowns beautiful but prove almost non-repairable by mortals

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MacBook Pro 13

Teardowns of the new  13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models reveal lots of shiny technology, but with the machines following the construction lead of the MacBook Air, it’s no surprise to see IFixIt giving both models low scores for repairability. The extreme difficulty in removing both battery and trackpad mean both models get even worse scores than the Air, at just 1 out of 10.

As with the Air, RAM is soldered directly to the logic board, so if you think you may need more in the future, take a deep breath and pay Apple’s price for the 16GB upgrade as there is no way to upgrade it later. IFixIt also draws particular attention to the difficulty of replacing the battery,

The lithium-polymer battery is glued rather than screwed into the case, which increases the chances that it’ll break during disassembly. The battery also covers the trackpad cable, which tremendously increases the chance that the user will shear the cable in the battery removal process.

More details and photos below the fold …  Read more

Report: New MacBook Pros on sale Oct 24/25, iPads Oct 30/31, Mac Pro Nov 15

Image: techbeat.com

Image: techbeat.com

French site MacG, which has an imperfect track-record, claims to have been given the dates on which the new MacBook Pros, iPads and Mac Pro will go on sale. The claimed dates are:

With Apple’s media event scheduled for 22nd October, this would put the MacBook Pros on sale very quickly indeed, just two or three days later.

However, the iPad and Mac Pro dates do not make as much sense. Apple has typically launched its new iPad models on Fridays (or Saturday for the original version), making it unlikely that the new tablets would hit store shelves on a Wednesday or Thursday (as the MacGeneration report claims).

As for the Mac Pro, that machine is a built-to-order computer, so perhaps it would be difficult to pinpoint an actual launch date for that product. MacG also happened to have claimed that Apple’s event would occur today, so that does not add much credibility to these new claims.

Below is what we’re expecting to see for each product …  Read more

The good news and bad news on that ASUS 31.5-inch 4k monitor for Mac users

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We told you a few days ago about ASUS launching a 31.5-inch 4k monitor, and predicted that today’s Macs would struggle to drive it. The Verge has now confirmed this, by briefly hooking it up to a 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display.

Tangible lag was introduced when working in more demanding applications like Adobe’s Lightroom, while the mouse cursor also exhibited a troublingly low refresh rate …
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WWDC 2013: Slimmer Retina MacBook Pro w/1080P camera and MacBook Air microphone improvements expected

specs_camera_2xIn a report this morning, one of the better Apple analysts, Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI securities listed his forecast for MacBook Pro and Air updates expected at WWDC. Apple’s annual developer-centric conference begins on June 10th with a keynote. The biggest change is Apple will move to Intel’s Haswell processors. These chips dramatically reduce power consumption, which in turn could allow Apple to need fewer batteries in the Retina MacBook Pros:

We expect the new MacBook, featuring an upgrade to Intel’s (US) Haswell processor, will be in the spotlight for Apple at the upcoming WWDC from June 10. Along with the new processor, we expect the following modifications to each product line:

Retina MacBook Pro to be slimmer slightly, along with a camera upgrade. We expect the 13” Retina MacBook Pro will have a slightly slimmer form factor for increasing its portability. Also, we think the camera spec will be upgraded from HD to full HD. This will improve Facetime and video conference quality in the high resolution Retina display.

The 1080P camera would match the capabilities of the rear-cameras in recent iOS hardware, but this would represent the first time in which Apple shipped a 1080p-capable front-facing sensor.

Screen Shot 2013-06-02 at 8.53.09 AM

If Apple does choose to keep the same batteries and size of the Retina MacBook Pro, the new Haswell chips could push battery life up over 10 hours – an outcome I’d personally prefer. Additionally, how can you make the 13″ Retina MacBook Pro any thinner?

It is so thin that the ports+ fan outlets barely fit now. It would also be an uncharacteristically short sub-1-year duration for the current design.

As for the MacBook Air, at least one improvement is expected by Kuo: Read more

New Model (Early 2013) Retina MacBook Pros use some upgraded internal parts

2013-Retina-MacBook-PRo (Click to enlarge)

It appears the recent spec update to the MacBook Pros wasn’t as minor as we had originally thought. According to a leaked Apple repair guide for the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, many internals including the SSD, I/O Board, Logic Board and even the bottom case have been updated to new parts. While it isn’t clear yet how the updated parts were changed (besides the obvious CPU speed), it reminded us of a Foxconn leak we got in October 2012:

1. The rmbp in production line D2 is identified as defected products as in terms of thermal heating and screen ghosting. P/S: Apple is not going to re-launch the 15” rmbp. Just that Apple will improve on the production technique in D2 line. Apple will launch the 13” rmbp. Ghosting and thermal issues will be fixed but internals and design will be similar to 15” rmbp.

Interestingly, the report also said that Retina MacBook Pro production would move, at least partially, to Mexico.

We also have the 2013 repair manual for the 13-inch MacBook Pro below that only shows 2013 updates to logic board (likely just for CPU updates) and how to tell which model of Retina MacBook Pro you have for both 13- and 15-inch varieties. Read more

More 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro pictures surface: 2 Thunderbolt ports, HDMI, 2560×1600 resolution


15″ Retina MacBook Pro above, 13″ Retina MacBook Pro below (note no speaker and port/keyboard alignment):

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Another visit to WeiPhone.com forum thread [Google translation] (via MacRumors) from last week yields some additional new pictures of the upcoming 13-inch MacBook Pro. You can see different placement of the side jacks as they relate to the keyboard and lack of speaker.

There’s nothing unexpected but it does seem to confirm a few things:

  • 2 Thunderbolt ports like 15-inch Retina and unlike 13-inch Pros
  • The Windows screens seem to confirm the 2560×1600 pixel display
  • HDMI port like Retina 15, unlike Pro 13.

We expect to see the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro at the October 23rd event with a base price in the $1599-1699 area. More pictures below:

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Estimated prices on 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros: Starts around U$1,699

Alongside the new mini/iPads, Mac Minis, and iMacs, Apple will reveal a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display on Oct. 23. We have now received pricing information on the base model and the “best” model. We believe the entry model 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro will cost roughly $1,699 at launch, based on wholesale prices we received, while the higher spec model will cost $200 to $300 more.

The base model Retina MacBook Pro retails for $2,199 in the United States, so the 13-inch varieties would create a more inexpensive option for those who also prefer a smaller device. We expect these to be available shortly after launch, but we can probably expect some supply constraints as we saw with the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro. We also expect initial supply constraints on some of the new iMacs.

It sounds like the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro will have a 2,560-by-1,600-pixel display (the same as a 30-inch Cinema Display), with the effective area being the same as the 1,280-by-800 screens as the current MacBook Pros when used in pixel-doubled Retina mode. We do not yet have other specs on the Retina Pro configuration, but we will update as that information comes in.

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