Less than two weeks before Intel announces new desktop Skylake processors, likely to be used in future Macs, at the Gamescom trade show in Germany on August 5, FanlessTech has leaked an Intel slide deck that offers a closer look at some of the performance enhancements the next-generation processors will deliver for both desktop computers and notebooks.
The leaked slides reveal that Skylake processors will provide a 10%-20% CPU performance boost in single and multi-threaded applications, with lower power consumption, and 30% faster Intel HD integrated graphics performance on average compared to current-generation Broadwell processors. The improved energy efficiency will also result in up to 30% longer battery life.
The specific performance improvements to the four main Skylake families are outlined below based on preliminary data, with the MacBook model appropriate for each chip listed in parentheses:
- Y-Series (MacBook): Up to 17% faster CPU, up to 41% faster Intel HD graphics, up to 1.4 hours longer battery life
- U-Series (MacBook Air): Up to 10% faster CPU, up to 34% faster Intel HD graphics, up to 1.4 hours longer battery life
- H-Series (MacBook Pro): Up to 11% faster CPU, up to 16% faster Intel HD graphics, up to 80% lower silicon power
- S-Series (iMac): Up to 11% faster CPU, up to 28% faster Intel HD graphics, 22% lower TDP (thermal design power)
Given that Intel announced a trio of Core i7 processors appropriate for the 15" Retina MacBook Pro just weeks later, and both the iMac and Mac mini still have Haswell processors, it is plausible that Apple has chosen to skip Broadwell processors entirely and release Skylake-based Macs in late 2015 or early 2016 -- and the jump from Haswell to Skylake would deliver an even higher performance boost.
Taiwanese blog DigiTimes, which has a hit-and-miss track record at reporting on Apple's upcoming product plans, says that Intel is planning to launch 18 new Skylake processors for notebooks in the fourth quarter, starting in October. The mid-range and high-end processors could be used in the next-generation 12-inch MacBook, MacBook Air and Retina MacBook Pro.
In a new research note outlining his predictions for Apple's recently completed financial quarter and beyond, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo shares his thinking about some of Apple's upcoming product plans that will provide sales momentum in the latter portion of the year.
- Apple Watch: Kuo remains conservative about the Apple Watch, pegging Apple's second quarter shipments at roughly 3.9 million and growing to 5.5 million in the current quarter as supply shortages ease and availability expands to more countries. As a result, he believes it will be difficult for Apple to reach Wall Street consensus estimates for 15 million units total through the end of the year, though analyst estimates have seen wide variations and Apple is indicated it will not be reporting Apple Watch unit sales in its financial results.
Notably, Kuo believes Apple could launch the Apple Watch Sport in new color options to match iPhone 6s colors later this year, anodizing the watch's aluminum casing with yellow and rose gold. Kuo and other sources have previously pointed to a new iPhone color (reportedly rose gold) and Kuo indicated months ago that Apple could use new casing options for the Apple Watch later this year.
- iPhone: Kuo believes Apple shipped roughly 54.2 million iPhones during the second calendar quarter, and he predicts that number will fall to 40.1 million in the current quarter as sales slow ahead of the "iPhone 6s" launch and shipments of the new device may get off to a somewhat slow start due to "low yield of Force Touch."
- iPad: Apple's iPad sales continue to slide, with Kuo predicting the company shipped just 8.8 million in the current quarter. He believes a thinner and lighter iPad mini that is essentially a smaller version of the iPad Air 2 could begin shipping at the tail end of the quarter, helping boost overall shipments to 11 million units during the third calendar quarter. Apple's iPad launches typically come in October, however, so shipments may not begin until the fourth quarter. In line with a recent report claiming Apple may not introduce a new iPad Air this year, Kuo does not mention any pending updates to that device. He also does not address the even larger "iPad Pro" that has been rumored to launch later this year.
- Mac: Kuo predicts strong Mac shipments of 5.3 million units for the second quarter, rising to over 5.8 million in the current quarter, which is traditionally Apple's best quarter on the strength of back to school sales. He sees Apple releasing new iMacs late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter, helping to sustain Mac demand.
Kuo has a solid track record based on information from Apple's supply chain, but he does occasionally make incorrect predictions. As a result, some caution should be taken with these predictions.
Thursday June 25, 2015 11:17 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple's newest OS X El Capitan beta, released on Tuesday, contains code that may hint at some upcoming Apple product updates. Shared by Pierre Dandumont (via 9to5Mac), the code references a Retina display with a 4096 x 2304 resolution, potentially referring to a future 21.5-inch Retina iMac with a 4K resolution.
There's also a mention of Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200, the graphics chipset that accompanies Intel's newest line of Broadwell processors. Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 and a Broadwell/Skylake processor could potentially be destined for a 4K 21.5-inch Retina iMac, but the chipset is also suitable for a number of notebooks. There's a further mention of AMD Radeon M380 - M395X graphics, which could be used in high-end iMac models.
Apple has updated its 27-inch iMac with a 5K Retina resolution, but the 21.5-inch iMac has thus far remained untouched as Apple has had to wait on appropriate chips for the machine. Apple's plans for the 21.5-inch iMac remain unclear, as Intel has only released two desktop-class Broadwell chips and does not plan to release additional desktop chips. For that reason, a 21.5-inch Retina iMac update could still be months off should Apple opt to wait for Broadwell's successor, Skylake.
In addition to pointing towards a potential 21.5-inch iMac upgrade, code in the latest El Capitan beta also hints at a revamped Remote with a multi-touch trackpad that supports scrolling, a dedicated Bluetooth chip, and audio support, potentially for Siri commands. Details on the remote, which will likely accompany the upcoming Apple TV, were first shared in May.
Friday June 19, 2015 10:40 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple has determined that a small number of 3TB hard drives used in late 2012 27-inch iMacs sold between December 2012 and September 2013 may fail under certain conditions. The company has initiated a replacement program to replace affected hard drives free of charge through Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP).
Apple is contacting affected iMac owners that provided a valid email address during product registration to inform them about the new replacement program. iMac owners can check if they are affected by entering the computer's serial number on Apple's support website, and visit the Genius Bar, locate an AASP or contact Apple Technical Support to initiate the replacement process.
Apple advises that customers who paid to have their hard drive repaired contact the company for a refund. The replacement program covers affected iMac models until December 19, 2015, or three years from the affected iMac's original date of sale, depending on whichever is longer. Read about the iMac replacement program on Apple's support website for further details.
Tuesday May 19, 2015 5:49 am PDT by Mitchel Broussard
Apple today announced updates to its 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display lineup and a new $1,999 configuration of the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K Display, confirming a recent rumor that said new models of the computers would be released as early as Wednesday. The refreshed MacBook Pro and iMac models are available through the Apple Store, Apple Online Store and authorized resellers beginning today.
The new 15-inch MacBook Pro gained all the expected updates similar to its 13-inch sibling: a Force Touch trackpad, faster flash storage, longer battery life, and better graphics. The new MacBook Pro comes in 2.2GHz and 2.5GHz configurations for $1,999 and $2,499 respectively. Both configurations come with a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB memory, and Intel Iris Pro Graphics cards, with the higher-end 2.5GHz model gaining expected boosts in flash storage and memory.
Given that the necessary Broadwell chips are not yet available, the new 15-inch MacBook Pro and 27-inch iMac still have Intel's fourth-generation Haswell processors. Based on the average product cycle for the MacBook Pro and iMac, Apple may choose to skip Broadwell processors and use next-generation Skylake processors for the next versions of the notebook and all-in-one desktop computer respectively. Those models are unlikely to be released until late 2015 at the earliest.
“The response to the new MacBook and updated 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display has been amazing, and today we are thrilled to bring the new Force Touch trackpad, faster flash storage and longer battery life to the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Customers love the groundbreaking iMac with Retina 5K display, and now with a new lower starting price, even more people can experience the best desktop we’ve ever made.”
The iMac line that received an update today was a new $1,999 configuration of the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display. The new model is a 3.3GHz configuration with a quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, and 1TB hard drive. Both the 15-inch MacBook Pro and 27-inch iMac are available to purchase right now from Apple's online store, with most of the models sitting at an estimated shipping time of between 1 and 3 business days as of announcement time.
Monday May 18, 2015 5:33 am PDT by Mitchel Broussard
Apple fans waiting for updates to the 15-inch MacBook Pro and 27-inch iMac may get good news sooner than expected, with MacG.co [Google Translate] reporting on Monday that updates to both models are expected as soon as this Wednesday.
The website cites an unnamed source who has provided accurate information on a number of occasions in the past, but provides no further details regarding the exact specs and upgrades that could go into the two new computers. Given that the 13-inch MacBook Pro was updated back in March with the expected processing and graphics boosts, as well as a new Force Touch trackpad, it's safe to say the new 15-inch model should receive similar upgrades.
As MacG.co points out and we have discussed in recent days, shipping times for the 15-inch MacBook Pro have been slipping, sparking speculation of a WWDC reveal for updated models.
It is unclear exactly what processors will be included in the new MacBook Pro, as Intel's timeline for Broadwell chips had previously estimated a July-August release for chips appropriate for the machine. Intel did, however, quietly launch a few higher-end chips in the Broadwell family two weeks ago, suggesting production may in fact be ahead of schedule.
The site doesn't touch much on the iMac update, beyond pointing out that the only model with a delayed shipping estimate is the higher-end non-retina 27-inch iMac with a 3.4 GHz processor. We noted slipping shipping estimates on iMacs a month ago, but while most of the models returned to "in stock" status shortly after, it now appears Apple has indeed been drawing down stock ahead of this week's update.
Delayed shipping times in the weeks ahead of a major event like WWDC generally appear as good indicators of what product categories may be getting an update, but given recent updates to the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro, the release of the new MacBook, and the pending 15-inch MacBook Pro and 27-inch iMac updates, Apple could once again have a software-focused WWDC keynote similar to last year unless it decides to show off an update to the Mac Pro.
For the past several weeks, high-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro shipping times have been quietly slipping, first to one to two weeks and then to two to three weeks, sparking questions from MacRumors readers about whether a 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro update is imminent.
While it's true we're approaching the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, where Apple often announces new products, Broadwell chip availability remains an issue that makes it unclear whether we might get a refresh announcement at the event.
We have heard no word on the status of Broadwell chips appropriate for the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro for several months. The last update on the chips came from a roadmap released in the summer of 2014, which suggested Broadwell chips appropriate for the notebook would be released in July or August of 2015.
In recent weeks, Intel has started shipping a small handful of desktop Broadwell chips, but chips that would be used in the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro and the iMac are not yet shipping out.
The desktop-class Broadwell chips that are currently shipping were also given prospective July/August 2015 release timelines, so their arrival does potentially herald the imminent release of Broadwell chips that would succeed the existing Crystalwell chips in the 2014 Retina MacBook Pro. If these chips are going to ship out earlier than the prospective July/August timeline, it's possible Apple could make a Retina MacBook Pro update announcement at WWDC.
If the chips are not shipping until July or August of 2015, however, WWDC seems a bit premature for an announcement of a minor chip refresh that would not ship for several months, making a WWDC debut unlikely.
It's possible the shipping delays on the high-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro are due to resource reallocation rather than an imminent refresh. Apple's suppliers that produce the Retina MacBook Pro are also responsible for assembling the Apple Watch and the MacBook, so the delays that we're seeing may be a combination of workers being rerouted to work on more pressing products and low demand for the high-end Retina MacBook Pro.
It's worth noting that the high-end iMac is also seeing similar delays, with a shipping estimate of one to two weeks. The high-end iMac is in the same situation as the Retina MacBook Pro -- chips appropriate for an update are not yet available. Furthermore, chip roadmaps call into question whether there will be Broadwell chips available for Apple's non-Retina 27-inch iMacs at all.
Given the significant delays with Broadwell chips, their release timelines merge with the release timelines of Intel's next-generation Skylake chips and an investigation into Intel's release plans suggests that the company may jump directly to releasing Skylake chips in the third-quarter of 2015, bypassing Broadwell chips for certain machines all together.
As an example, the successor to the Core i5-4670 chip used in the low-end 27-inch iMac is the Core i5-4690 used in the low-end 27-inch Retina iMac, and the successor to that chip appears to be the Skylake Core i5-6600, suggesting a potential refresh for the non-Retina iMac might use that Skylake chip rather than the older Broadwell chip. Any upgrades to the 27-inch Retina iMac will also use Skylake chips rather than Broadwell chips.
Processor upgrades for the 21-inch iMac are a bit murkier as the chips used in those machines have no Skylake equivalents at this point in time, so it's tougher to speculate about potential chip successors Apple could use. It's also worth noting that the close proximity of Skylake and Broadwell chip releases could see Apple waiting for Skylake chips not only for the iMac, but also for the Retina MacBook Pro.
The major takeaway from the increased iMac and Retina MacBook Pro shipping estimates is that the Broadwell delays have thrown Apple's upgrade cycle into disarray, making it difficult to determine when we might see an update due to all the variables involved. If Apple chooses to go with a minor Broadwell update for the high-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro and those chips ship soon, we could very well see an announcement at WWDC.
If, however, those chips are not ready or if Apple should choose to forego Broadwell in favor of Skylake for a more substantial update, it's unlikely we'll see a WWDC refresh announcement for the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro. iMac updates are even more difficult to pin down, but it seems unlikely a refresh is imminent.
Thursday April 23, 2015 9:25 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released an iMac Graphics Update for users of the more recent iMacs, fixing an issue that caused the computers to freeze up after viewing very large JPEG Files.
Affected iMacs include the late 2014 27-inch Retina iMac, the late 2013 21.5-inch iMac, and the late 2013 27-inch iMac.
Apple has also released an accompanying support document that describes the issue in more detail, suggesting the problem occurs when opening a large JPEG image in Finder or Preview on OS X Yosemite 10.10.3.
If you're using using OS X Yosemite v10.10.3 and one of the following iMac models, viewing certain very large JPEG (.jpg) images in the Finder or Preview can cause your iMac to briefly stop responding, display a black screen, and restart to a message that your computer restarted because of a problem.
People who own one of these three iMacs are encouraged to update their machines right away to fix the bug.
Sunday April 19, 2015 6:02 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
iMac shipping estimates have slipped to 3-5 business days on the Apple Online Store in the United States for all models aside from the entry-level 21.5-inch option with a 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor. The high-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro is also now showing an estimated shipping date of 1-2 weeks. Both the iMac and 15" Retina MacBook Pro were previously listed as in stock.
The majority of the iMac lineup, excluding the low-end 21.5-inch iMac released in June 2014 and iMac with Retina 5K Display launched in October 2014, was last updated in September 2013 with the latest Intel Haswell processors, faster PCI Express-based flash storage options and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Based on its average product cycle, the all-in-one desktop computer is long overdue for a refresh.
Nevertheless, the iMac is not expected to be updated until Intel releases desktop class Broadwell chips during the second quarter of 2015. Intel's first 14nm desktop processors, including the Core i5-5675C, i7-5775C, i5-5575R, i5-5675R and i7-5775R CPUs with Iris Pro 6200 integrated graphics, are expected to be announced during Computex Taiwan in early June, with some chips expected to launch in mid-May, and should become readily available as early as July or August.
Intel's Broadwell desktop chips based on 14nm manufacturing process (via CPU World)
Ultimately, the extended iMac shipping estimates of 3-5 business days could be nothing more than regular stock fluctuations on the Apple Online Store, although it is worth noting as the release of Broadwell desktop chips approaches. At this point, it remains more likely that refreshed iMacs will be announced at WWDC 2015 at the earliest, but Apple's plans could change based on Intel's release timeline.
Monday April 13, 2015 8:03 am PDT by Mitchel Broussard
With the release of OS X 10.10.3 last Wednesday, Apple has expanded support for high-resolution 4K and even 5K external displays (via 9to5Mac). Most notably, OS X 10.10.3 enables the Retina 5K iMac and 2013 Mac Pro to drive Dell's UP2715K 27-inch 5K display released late last year. The display requires more bandwidth than is currently supported over a current single DisplayPort/Thunderbolt cable, so it uses a dual-cable solution taking up two ports on the user's machine.
This bandwidth issue for the current DisplayPort standard has been seen as a major roadblock keeping Apple from releasing a standalone 5K Thunderbolt Display. With the Retina iMac, Apple has been able to build custom internal components to drive the massive display, but for external displays, a dual-cable solution such as that used by Dell has been considered by many to be "un-Apple like."
As a result, Apple has been widely expected to wait until the release of Intel's Skylake platform with DisplayPort 1.3 support later this year before releasing an external 5K Thunderbolt Display that will function over a single cable. Whether the inclusion of support for Dell's dual-cable solution in OS X 10.10.3 is a sign Apple may be willing to adopt that arrangement for its own display and perhaps release it earlier is, however, unclear.
Beyond 5K displays, OS X 10.10.3 has also expanded support for 4K displays to include "most single-stream 4K (3840x2160) displays" at 60 Hz, expanding beyond the previous support of only Multi-Stream Transport displays introduced in late updates to Mavericks. The new 4K display support will function with most of the Mac line, from the 27-inch iMac to the brand-new Retina MacBook. However, only the Mac Pro and iMac will support full 4096x2160 resolution at 60Hz.
With OS X Yosemite v10.10.3, most single-stream 4K (3840x2160) displays are supported at 60Hz operation on the following Mac computers:
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015)
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2014)
- Mac Pro (Late 2013)
- iMac (27-inch, Late 2013 and later)
- Mac mini (Late 2014)
- MacBook Air (Early 2015)
- MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015)
As for the new 12-inch MacBook, the laptop will be able to support displays and rates of 3840x2160 at a 30 Hz refresh rate and 4096x2160 at a 24 Hz refresh rate. MacBook users wanting to use such a display will, of course, need to use Apple's USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter to do so.
While it could be a factual error, Reddit points us towards an interesting comment on the LG Display blog last week that claims Apple announced it will release a new iMac with 8K display later this year. Apple, of course, has not made any announcements about a new iMac since last year, and 8K displays are not expected until 2016.
"It has become clear that Japan is planning to launch an 8K SHV test broadcast and then promptly restructure the UHD service. Apple has also announced that they will release the ‘iMac 8K’ with a super-high resolution display later this year. Korea is also preparing to offer an 8K service demonstration at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. LG Display displayed a new beacon of the 8K era by revealing their 98-inch 8K Color Prime Ultra HDTV at CES 2015."
VESA's new DisplayPort 1.4a standard paves the way for future displays at 7,680 x 4,320 pixels, but Apple has not made any announcements about releasing a Mac with an 8K display. Apple's highest-resolution Mac is the iMac with Retina 5K Display, which has a resolution of 5,120 x 2,880 pixels.
While this report should be treated lightly until further information surfaces, it still proves interesting that LG Display would make a public-facing comment like this on its website. The most likely scenario is that LG will eventually remove or modify the comment now that it has been put in the spotlight.
Update 7:00 PM PT: LG has since taken down the article mentioning the "iMac 8K."
Friday January 16, 2015 4:43 am PST by Kelly Hodgkins
Apple recently started selling the 27-Inch iMac With Retina 5K Display in the refurbished section of its online store, as first noticed by MacGeneration and 9to5Mac. These refurbished models offer customers the chance to save up to 15 percent off the retail price of a brand new model.
Several 27-inch Retina iMac models are available, including the entry-level model which is availablee for $2119 and includes a 3.5GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory and a 1TB Fusion Drive. Other available Retina iMacs include a $2,419 model with 16GB of memory and a 3TB Fusion Drive and a $2,549 unit with 16GB of memory and 512GB flash storage. All three models are in stock and available to ship today.
After months of speculation, Apple unveiled the 27-Inch iMac With Retina 5K Display during its October media event. The consumer desktop features a 5120 x 2880 pixel display with improved contrast, viewing angles, and color accuracy. Early impressions of the machine were favorable with reviewers praising the "stunning display" and noting that it is a "huge step up" from Apple's notebook Retina displays.
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