Broadwell Stories March 14, 2015

Lightning and USB Type-C Connectors

Yesterday on his Talk Show podcast, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber suggested that his Apple sources told him that Apple invented USB Type-C. Known for often insightful but always ‘not negative‘ Apple commentary, Gruber sometimes peppers his stories with info he’s gained from inside Apple which he calls “little birdies” (that admittedly haven’t been 100% recently, but used to be spot on).

The quote, taken from TheTechBlock about 54 minutes in:

I have heard, can’t say who, but let’s call them “informed little birdies”, that USB-C is an Apple invention and that they gave it to the standard bodies. And that the politics of such is that they can’t really say that. They’re not going to come out in public and say it, but they did. It is an Apple invention and they do want it to become a standard.

That’s a bit weird, because if Apple did invent USB Type-C, it would seem like a no-brainer for replacing Lightning. But Gruber noted in a post earlier this week that he didn’t think Apple would replace Lightning with USB Type-C.

I think the answer is probably “No, Apple is not going to switch the iPhone and iPad to USB-C”. I think Lightning is a more elegant design, including being slightly thinner. And I think Apple likes having a proprietary port on iOS devices.

But, if they did move iOS devices to USB-C, then you could charge your iOS devices and MacBook with the same cable. And within a few years, all phones and tablets from all companies would charge using the same standard.

A few minutes of research into the matter yields a wealth of data about the genesis of USB Type-C and while Apple does play an active role, it appears they had a lot of help – to put it charitably… expand full story

Broadwell Stories March 9, 2015

As expected, Apple today brought Intel’s latest Broadwell Core i5 and Core i7 processors to the MacBook Air and Retina MacBook Pro families, beefing up both laptops with additional CPU and graphics power.

Apple’s updated 11″ and 13″ MacBook Airs are shipping today with up to 2.2GHz CPUs, plus Intel’s HD Graphics 6000 GPUs, which are smaller, markedly faster, and capable of superior shading/texturing than the 5000-series GPUs they replace. They have Thunderbolt 2 ports, doubling the bandwidth of prior-generation Thunderbolt. The 13″ MacBook Air also has new flash storage that’s up to twice as fast as the prior Air’s. Apple is pricing the 11″ Air at $899 for 1.6GHz/4GB RAM/128GB SSD, or $1,099 for 256GB of SSD storage. The 13″ Air is $999 for 1.6GHz/4GB RAM/128GB SSD or $1,199 for 256GB of SSD storage, with faster processors, more memory, and more SSD space at premiums.

Also shipping today is the updated 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina Display. This machine will have fifth-generation Intel Core processors with speeds of 2.7 to 3.1GHz, and Intel Iris Graphics 6100 GPUs. Additionally, the Retina MacBook will get the new Force Touch trackpad introduced in the all-new 12″ MacBook today – including Taptic Engine feedback – as well as 1.6GBps flash memory, and 10-12 hour battery life (shorter for regular use, longer for iTunes movie playback). Pricing starts at $1,299 for a 2.7GHz/8GB RAM/128GB SSD model, with double the SSD storage for $1,499, a 2.9GHz/8GB RAM/512GB SSD model at $1,799, and further customizations at premiums.

Prior to the official announcements, a seemingly authentic spec leak showed a new version of the 13″ MacBook Air with an updated Intel Core i5-5250U 1.6GHz CPU, Intel HD Graphics 6000 GPU, and roughly 4% larger 7422mAh battery.

Broadwell Stories August 11, 2014


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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Broadwell Stories June 3, 2014


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 …

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