Intel Corporation Stories January 12, 2012

Intel is looking to use its recently unveiled Medfield chips in the iPhone, according to The Telegraph. In the report, Dave Whalen, vice president of Intel’s architecture group, told The Telegraph that Intel has talked to Apple and other manufacturers about using the new Medfield chips in iOS devices. Specifically, Whalen said as iOS continues to grow, “We talk to everybody.” Intel is also looking to Android and Windows Phone to use the new chips.

It is worth noting that it is highly unlikely Apple would move to Intel chips in iOS devices, even though the company uses Intel in Macs. Since the iPhone 4, Apple has continued to use its own line of processors—with the help of Samsung. The iPhone 4 was graced with the A4, the iPad 2 had the A5, and most recently— the iPhone 4S got the A5. The iPad 3 is rumored to get the quad-core A6 (mock up on the right), and going off Apple’s recent timeline, the iPhone 5 will most likely have the A6.

The most unique aspect about the Medfield chip is that it is a single core, unlike Intel’s previous chips. The Medfield uses the ARM chips’ strategy, in pulling all processes onto a single chip, which helps to save battery life and other things. For now, it looks Apple will most likely stick with its own proprietary chips. Samsung recently opened a factory in Texas for developing the A5 chip, showing Apple is committed to producing its own goods. Therefore, it is interesting that Intel is trying to make a move.

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Intel Corporation Stories November 28, 2011

Love this Best Buy commercial but I’m not sure Apple’s Retail division does.  Best Buy also undercuts Apple significantly in Mac prices.  For instance, they have the 15 and 17-inch MacBook Pros $200 off and $150 off the 13-inch MacBook Pro as well.

They even have $50 iTunes gift cards for $40. (see all discounts)

No offense to our friends at Best Buy, but those price discounts often have a cost: you will almost always get better customer support at an Apple Store.  expand full story

Intel Corporation Stories November 21, 2011

A precision aluminum unibody enclosure gives Mac notebooks structural integrity, providing all of the mounting features in a single part.

Makers of Ultrabooks, ultra-thin notebooks that conform to Intel’s recommended specs, are facing difficulties replicating Apple’s unibody process, citing limited capacity and price restrictions on the unibody process. They’ve come to realize that unibody construction requires expensive CNC equipment to machine a sturdy notebook case from a single block of aluminum, including internal parts and mounting features. Apple’s contract manufacturer Foxconn and supplier Catcher Technology own thousands of CNC machines and you can imagine where their priorities lie.

According to DigiTimes, the makers of would-be MacBook Air killers are turning to the cheaper high-density fiberglass chassis for the low-end, said to cost up to $30. For the high-end, Apple’s rivals are combining the exterior aluminum enclosure with plastic parts inside. Such a semi-unibody case is said to cost between $40 and $80:

The new aluminum chassis with plastic internal parts design will allow Ultrabooks to feature a metal appearance, but all the internal parts will be made from plastic stuck to metal parts using glue. expand full story

Intel Corporation Stories November 20, 2011

From 9to5Toys.com:

Best Buy has the entry level 13inch MacBook Air on-sale for $1,099. This Mac retails for $1,299 and sports a 1.7GHz i5 processor, 128GB flash storage, and 4GB of memory (See below for full specs).  This is an awesome deal on one of the best portable Macs you can buy. expand full story

Intel Corporation Stories November 18, 2011

Popular Science Magazine is once again declaring their Best of What’s New Awards for 2011, and not so surprisingly this year’s top three spots in the computing category are all technologies that you will find in Apple’s latest lineup of Macs.

At number one we have OS X Lion which earned a spot for its ability to close the gap between desktop and mobile operating systems with the publication calling it “the first step toward a computing landscape in which one interface can serve all purposes”.

The number two spot goes to Intel Sandy Bridge chips and their ability to reduce “data’s travel time from component to component by replacing lengths of wire with nearly a billion close-knit microscopic transistors”. We know Apple just recently refreshed their MacBook Air and Mac Mini lineup with new Sandy Bridge processors, and future Macs will likely get the same treatment. The new Thunderbolt I/O has also been an emerging technology Apple has adopted for future Macs, and that brings us to number three…

Last but not least, we have Intel Thunderbolt at the number three spot, which we all know Apple teamed up with Intel to help develop and is now being implemented on future iterations of iMacs and MacBooks. Minor limitations aside, its contribution to the tech industry is pretty obvious, as Popular Science puts it, “Thunderbolt’s wires are the first to combine the languages that handle data and display in one channel, making it faster and more versatile than any other connection”.

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Intel Corporation Stories September 20, 2011

Since Apple and Intel’s joint announcement of the Thunderbolt high-speed I/O technology, one of the most anticipated products to make use of the technology has been the Thunderbolt-compatible Little Big Disk from LaCie. The drive – which comes in both HDD and SSD flavors – was announced all the way back in February for a “summer” launch, and is now finally arriving at Apple Stores in both the United States and internationally. LaCie’s description of Thunderbolt and why it is important for a product like the Little Big Disk:

This new high-speed cable technology connects computers and electronic devices together like never before. Thunderbolt technology supports two 10Gb/s bi-directional channels from a single port, the fastest data connection available on a personal computer. At 10Gb/s, a full-length HD movie can be transferred in less than 30 seconds.

Since the drive carries two ports, it can be daisy chained. The drives have already arrived at Apple Stores, which suggest immediate availability, and we are expecting an official announcement from LaCie in the coming days. The hard disk drive variant with 1TB of storage will reportedly cost $399.

Update: here they are.

Apple also announced Thunderbolt updates, another firmware update and a software update for Snow Leopard…

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Intel Corporation Stories September 15, 2011

…in New Zealand anyway.  One 9to5Mac reader said that the Thunderbolt Display he ordered on August 17th was now en route to his home.  If anyone else has a shipping display let us know in the comments or at tips@9to5mac.com.

What’s perhaps most interesting about this shipment information is that these displays aren’t shipping directly from China as most Apple products do. They are shipping from a holding spot in Australia (below) perhaps indicating that the wait on these displays isn’t because of hardware, but in fact software, which, incidentally was updated last night on Thunderbolt MacBook Pros and Mac Minis.

Intel Corporation Stories September 7, 2011

Usually, when a brand new industry standard debuts on Macs, there’s a period of shortage before compatible devices begin trickling in. Thunderbolt is no different. Intel partnered with Apple on Thunderbolt earlier this year and it took Apple several months to update its notebooks, iMac and Mac mini families with Thunderbolt I/O. The offering of supported peripherals was initially limited to Apple’s $49 Thunderbolt cable, LaCie and Promise RAIDs, Matrox gearBlackMagic’s solution for field video editing and a couple other devices.

Following Intel’s release of the Thunderbolt development kit, more companies are announcing Thunderbolt-ready products. By the way, 9to5Mac, MacRumors and other publications received tips that Apple began shipping its new $999 Apple Thunderbolt Display to stores. Now, among the upcoming Thunderbolt gadgets, Magma’s ExpressBox 3T, seen in the above image, caught our attention. Basically a three-slot expansion chassis allowing any Thunderbolt-equipped Mac to connect to PCIe 2.0 cards, the box also lets you power up your MacBook Air’s integrate Intel HD Graphics 3000 processor with any PCIe graphics cards, useful if you’re going to do some serious video-related work or play latest games on your Air. The accessory is to be demoed at the upcoming Intel Developer Forum which runs September 13 – 15 in San Francisco.

Magma joins Sonnet, which also unveiled a similar Thunderbolt box last month. The $150 Sonnet ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt adapter accepts ExpressCard peripherals and also expands your Air’s connectivity with eSATA, USB 3, Firewire 800, Gigabit Ethernet and SDXC and CF cards. More product highlights after the break…

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Intel Corporation Stories August 18, 2011

Apple, Microsoft and Intel are locked in a bid for a contract to supply Turkish schools with up to fifteen million iPads. The government-funded project is nick-named “Fatih”, a Turkish word for “conqueror”. The government will require the winner to build the tablets and/or peripherals in the country, however. This little nugget has been officially confirmed to Anatolia news agency by the country’s trade minister Zafer Caglayan. Bloomberg has the story:

Apple officials told Caglayan during his visit to the U.S. that the Cupertino, California-based maker of smart devices may also decide to use some Turkish manufacturers to make some peripheral equipment such as covers, earphones for its iPad and iPhone models, Caglayan said at a news conference with Turkish reporters in Seattle, according to the Ankara-based agency.

Frankly, we somehow don’t see Apple building fifteen million iPads in Turkey as the country may lack the manufacturing capacities necessary to produce such a precisely engineered gadget that is the iPad. As for Microsoft and Intel, the Windows maker “may inquire about the project” and Intel could be interested in opening a research and development center in Turkey.

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Intel Corporation Stories August 11, 2011

(Substitute PowerPC for Intel and Intel for ARM)

There are a lot of people who think Apple is going to eventually move its “Mac” line to iOS. In fact we found it curious when Apple turned ‘MacOSX’ to ‘OSX’ as of Lion earlier this year.

Steve Jobs and Apple in general are very sensitive to CPU power issues with their push to make high end devices thinner.

As part of the WSJ article on Intel spending $300 million on developing MacBook Air alternatives (a hint in itself – why does Intel need to create competition for its own Air), it was revealed that Apple was threatening to leave Intel’s ‘low power’ processors if they didn’t drastically cut power.

Welch said Apple informed Intel that it better drastically slash its power consumption or would likely lose Apple’s business. “It was a real wake-up call to us,” he said.

What are the alternative processors for the MacBook Air? AMD? Not likely (though not impossible).

The big alternative is a platform switch to ARM which certainly schools the Atom Chip in terms of power consumption. It would also mess with a lot of non-App Store Apps built on legacy code.

But, you know Apple would love to create a cheaper, thinner, more power efficient iAir type of hybrid device that still operated like a laptop. In fact, Lion seems to already be heading in that direction.

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Intel Corporation Stories July 13, 2011

We’ve been getting word from some international Apple retailers that not only are MacBook Airs, Minis and White MacBooks getting updated soon, but those Macs are also going to see modest-significant price drops in some countries we’ve polled.  While we can’t get into the specifics of where and how much, we can tell you some models are being reduced more than the equivalent of $100.

A few things to consider: One, the US Dollar has dropped significantly against Pacific currencies like the Japanese Yen and Korean Won (below) in the past year.  Apple has in the past adjusted its products against currency fluctuations.

Also, Apple has been streamlining operations across the globe over the past few years and has been able to bring its prices more in line with US prices.

While these price drops are great news for our friends overseas, it doesn’t necessarily correlate to price drops in the US.

But we wouldn’t rule price drops out either, there have been unreliable reports of a $899 base price of a MacBook Air. expand full story

Intel Corporation Stories June 29, 2011

New MacBook Airs are right around the corner and just about everyone is expecting to see a Thunderbolt port, FaceTimeHD and Sandy Bridge processors.  Apple could even update storage and RAM pricing.

But what else could these new Airs have under the hood?  Put your answers below and any additional items in the comments.

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Intel Corporation Stories June 28, 2011

Apple’s new MacBook Air line has been expected for weeks now, with evidence supporting a refresh coming by way of constraints at global retailers and most recently at major Apple reseller BestBuy.com. Although this refresh has been expected, a well-sourced and specific launch time frame is yet to emerge. Now, we’ve been told that Apple is gearing up to launch their upgraded line of ultra thin notebooks in mid-July.

The rumors regarding what the new laptops will feature have been conservative, and according to a person who has seen the new MacBook Air, exterior changes (if any) were so minute that they were not noticed. In other words, don’t expect to be able to tell this mid-2011 MacBook Air apart from the late-2010 model. That is, except for the Thunderbolt logo that sits in place of the Mini Display port logo.

Also, as expected, these new models will pack Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors and are likely the models that Intel recently made available for thinner notebook lines:

  • Core i7-2677M: 2 cores, 1.8GHz (turbos to 2.9GHz), 4MB cache, 17 watts, $317
  • Core i7-2637M: 2 cores, 1.7GHz (turbos to 2.8GHz), 4MB cache, 17 watts, $289
  • Core i5-2557M: 2 cores, 1.7GHz (turbos to 2.7GHz), 3MB cache, 17 watts, $250

In addition, the new notebooks, launching in mid-July, come with OS X Lion pre-installed. Apple shipping out their next-generation operating system with these new Macs would also mean a mid-July launch for 10.7 Lion. An exact release date for both products is yet to be pinpointed, but we’ve been hearing rumblings about July 14th, which is a Thursday.

Also, Apple is holding their financial results conference call on Tuesday, July 19th. Apple typically releases products during the days leading up to the financial results announcement (so they have something interesting to talk about). iPhones and iPads often are released the Friday before earnings, which would be the 15th.

Of course, Apple’s traditional product launch day is Tuesday, which would be the 12th or the 19th. In any case, we’re looking at Lion and new MacBook Airs in about 2-3 weeks. We are also looking, according to recent reports, at new Mac minis and Mac Pros soon after these upgraded MacBook Airs.

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Following the Thunderbolt firmware update for Macs, Apple has published three new support documents pertaining to the new $49 Thunderbolt-to-Thunderbolt cable released Monday, using Thunderbolt with Boot Camp and Windows 7 and some tricks to get the best performance from Thunderbolt. Here’s what you need to know… expand full story

Intel Corporation Stories June 27, 2011

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It looks like the report that Apple has a lock on Light Peak technology for a year was wrong.  Sony has gone ahead and announced their first Light Peak product in Europe and perhaps most interestingly, it contains an External GPU.  TIMN summerizes:

The vertically standing peripheral (pictured above) uses Intel’s Light Peak (yes, the same thing as Apple’s Thunderbolt) via a proprietary port and USB 3.0 socket to connect to the laptop. And not only does it provide an AMD Radeon HD 6650M with 1GB of VRAM, but also allows you to connect up to three additional displays via its HDMI and VGA ports.

One of the promises of Thunderbolt was External GPU video cards.  Imagine hooking your Thunderbolt-equipped, Sandy Bridge MacBook Air (with crappy integrated Intel GPU) to an external Thunderbolt GPU which drives a few 27-inch screens?

I like where this is going.

More shots below: expand full story

Intel Corporation Stories January 6, 2011

We’ve been hoping Light Peak might make an appearance in new Macs since the technology first made an appearance working with a lab demo Mac Pro in 2009. We’ve been excited for the super-fast and super-flexible connectivity standard ever since — now it seems there’s a way to go before its ready to hit the market, according to Intel.

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