Thursday April 20, 2017 1:48 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Intel plans to move up the launch of its 14-nanometer Coffee Lake processors, introducing them in August of 2017 instead of January 2018. According to DigiTimes, the launch is being moved up because of "increasing competition from AMD's Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 processors."
The site says Intel will release several K-series Core i3, i5, and i7 processors starting in August, along with its Z370 chipsets. Additional CPUs will come at the end of 2017 or early in 2018.
Intel also plans to unveil its Basin Falls platform, with Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors at Computex 2017, which takes place from May 30 to June 3, which is two months earlier than originally scheduled.
Intel's Skylake-X series features 140W processors with 6, 8, and 10-core architectures, while Kaby Lake X-series features a 112W quad-core processor. Intel also plans to release a 12-core Skylake-X processor in August. Intel's Basin Falls platform could potentially be used in future Mac Pro machines and the rumored high-end server-grade iMac.
Coffee Lake chips appropriate for Apple machines were originally set to launch somewhere around the second quarter of 2018, so if rumors of Intel's updated timeline are true, the launch could be moved forward to either late 2017 or early in 2018.
Coffee Lake chips are manufactured on Intel's 14-nanometer process and will be the fourth processor family to use the architecture after Broadwell, Skylake, and Kaby Lake.
Apple is rumored to have new machines in the works for 2017, including new iMacs, which are likely to use Kaby Lake chips.
Tuesday April 18, 2017 3:49 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Apple's new range of iMacs will launch in the second half of 2017 and will include a "server-grade" model to cater for the high end creative professional market, according to Taiwan-based supply chain sources.
Apple has already confirmed it is working on new iMac models for release later this year, but today's report offers another hint at what could be in store for creative pros and puts a more specific timeframe on those plans. According to the report, production of two new iMacs is said to begin next month, with a view to launching the consumer desktops between July and September and a "server-grade model" at the tail end of 2017.
Apple currently has a 21.5-inch and a 27-inch iMac available in the market and the new products are expected to be the upgrades of the two models and are expected to hit the market in the third quarter to catch up with the year-end holiday season.
The report comes from DigiTimes, which has a mixed track record when it comes to rumors, but with Apple already having taken the unusual step of confirming it is working on new iMac models for a late 2017 release, this latest information presents a reasonable timeline.
In addition, the technical details from the supply chain line up with previously leaked specs for Apple's upcoming upgrades. According to Tuesday's report, the high end iMac will feature Intel's as-yet-unreleased Xeon E3-1285 v6 processor, options for 16 to 64GB error-correcting ECC RAM, up to 2TB NVM Express PCI-e solid-state storage, and more ambiguously, a "latest discrete graphics card".
Typically, iMacs include a mobile-class GPU rather than a desktop-class card, so this last spec could refer to either, while AMD has a contract with Apple to supply the discrete graphics chips for future high-end 27-inch iMacs. The new iMacs for 2017 are said to be manufactured by Quanta Computer, which is expected to remain the largest all-in-one PC maker in 2017.
The earlier report detailing identical tech specs claimed Apple's new iMacs would be accompanied by a brand new keyboard. A previous report said Apple was exploring a standalone keyboard with a Touch Bar and Touch ID, but its release is said to depend on how well those features have been received on the latest MacBook Pro.
The original source of the iMac tech specs, Pike's Universum, also claimed Apple is working on an 8K external display, which would presumably feature as part of the company's highest end iMac offering. All iMacs are expected to ship with USB-C ports and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity.
Apple did not share any specific details about what the upgrades will entail, but if the blog Pike's Universum is to be believed, the next-generation iMac lineup could feature several improvements that make Apple's desktop computer a more powerful workstation for professionals and average consumers alike.
The blog, citing a "little bird" that is "usually pretty accurate," claims the incoming iMac lineup will be available with up to the following tech specs:
• Intel Xeon E3 processors: The new iMac will supposedly have up to a pro-grade Intel Xeon E3-1285 v6 processor. Intel has not released that particular chip yet, but based on previous generations of the E3-1285, the processor could essentially be the E3-1280 v6 coupled with integrated Intel HD Graphics P630. Notably, Xeon processors support ECC RAM.
• 16GB to 64GB of ECC RAM: 16GB of ECC RAM, configurable to 32GB or 64GB, in line with the current Mac Pro. iMacs currently have 8GB of non-ECC RAM, configurable to 16GB or 32GB. ECC RAM can detect and repair errors that cause data corruption and system crashes. No word if it will be DDR3L or DDR4.
• Faster NVMe SSDs: The rumor claims the next iMacs will have faster NVM Express PCIe-based flash storage with capacities up to 2TB. The current 4K and 5K iMac models are also configurable with NVMe PCIe-based SSDs or Fusion Drives up to 2TB.
• AMD graphics: The new iMacs will supposedly have AMD graphics options to support virtual reality and professional apps. The inclusion of AMD graphics in the next iMac has been rumored previously by Bloomberg. The current 27-inch iMac uses AMD Radeon R9 GPUs.
• Thunderbolt 3: Thunderbolt 3 ports would be an unsurprising inclusion in the next iMacs given they already exist on the latest MacBook Pro. Thunderbolt 3 carries power, USB, DisplayPort, HDMI, and VGA over a single cable, creating one standard for connecting most accessories and peripherals.
The report claims the next iMac models will be unveiled in late October and be accompanied by a brand new keyboard. A previous report said Apple was exploring a standalone keyboard with a Touch Bar and Touch ID, but its release allegedly depends upon how well those features have been received on the latest MacBook Pro.
Another tidbit mentioned in the report is that macOS 10.13 supposedly will not use a mountain or park name anymore, with two alternative names in the running, including one that starts with the letter M. Apple's trademarked names that could fit that description include Monterey and Mojave.
Last, the report said the next high-end Mac mini "won't be so mini anymore," suggesting that the most expensive model might have a larger or taller design. Apple recently said the Mac mini is "important" within its product lineup, but it remained tight-lipped about the prospects of future updates.
Pike's Universum is best known for spotting references to unreleased Macs or upcoming software versions hidden within Apple's operating systems. The blog does not have an established track record of reporting on Apple's plans based on its own inside sources, so this rumor should be treated with caution for now.
Tuesday April 4, 2017 5:23 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller and software engineering chief Craig Federighi have confirmed that Apple is working on new iMac models that the company expects to launch later "this year," as reported by TechCrunch.
Apple did not share specific details about what to expect from the refresh, but Thunderbolt 3 ports and faster processors are likely at the very least. At least one model will reportedly have the option for a new and likely faster AMD graphics chip, but few other iMac rumors have surfaced to date.
Federighi thinks the new iMac models will address "even more of the pro market," as noted by Daring Fireball:
That is a pretty incredible evolution that we’ve seen over the last decade. The original iMac, you never would’ve thought as remotely touching pro uses. And now you look at today’s 5K iMac, top configs, it’s incredibly powerful, and a huge fraction of what would’ve traditionally — whether it’s audio editing, video editing, graphics, arts and so forth — that would’ve previously absolutely required the Mac Pros of old, are being well-addressed by iMac. But there’s still even further we can take iMac as a high performance, pro system, and we think that form factor can address even more of the pro market.
Tuesday January 3, 2017 9:42 am PST by Juli Clover
At today's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, Intel formally announced its full lineup of 7th-generation Intel Core processors, known as Kaby Lake. Kaby Lake low-power Y-Series and U-Series processors were announced in late August, but today's unveiling covers notebook and desktop chips that could be destined for many future Apple Macs.
Intel's 7th-generation processors are built on the "14nm+" process, introducing new optimizations compared to previous 14nm Broadwell and Skylake chips.
According to Intel, Kaby Lake will bring "double digit productivity performance increases" of up to 20 percent for gaming notebooks and 25 percent for desktops, compared to 2013 Haswell chips from Intel's prior release cycle. With 4K and 360 degree content, customers can expect up to 65 percent faster performance on notebooks. Enhanced security, a new media engine, and improvements in VR and gaming are all advertised features.
Of the chips announced today, the 28-watt U-Series chips are appropriate for a future 13-inch MacBook Pro update, and we could see the 7267U/7287U/7567U used in 13-inch MacBook Pro machines this year. Those same chips are likely what Apple would use in a Mac mini update, as the Mac mini and the 13-inch MacBook Pro have traditionally included the same chips.
Intel's 45-watt H-Series chips are appropriate for a future 15-inch MacBook Pro update. The 7700HQ would be ideal for entry-level machines, while a mid-tier machine would use the 7820HQ and the top-of-the-line MacBook Pro would use the 7920HQ.
There are multiple potential upgrade options for the 27-inch iMac, but the S-Series desktop chips (7500/7600/7700K) are the straight upgrade path from the current Skylake chips used in 27-inch machines.
For the 21.5-inch iMac, Apple normally uses chips with higher-end integrated graphics, but Intel has not released Kaby Lake chips that are a clear upgrade for the smaller iMac machines. Apple could choose to use Skylake chips instead of Kaby Lake chips for the 21.5-inch iMac, and in that case, would likely adopt the 6585R, 6685R, and 6785R chips, released six months ago.
With today's announcement, Kaby Lake chips that are clear upgrades for the iMac, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini will be available to manufacturers in the near future and will be available for Apple's planned 2017 upgrades. Kaby Lake chips appropriate for future MacBook updates are already available.
Rumors suggest we will see refreshed iMacs in the spring, which is also when we may see new MacBooks, and in the fall, we expect to see Kaby Lake refreshes for the MacBook Pro lineup.
Friday December 30, 2016 10:02 am PST by Juli Clover
With the launch of the iPhone 7 and MacBook Pro, 2016 has been a mixed year for Apple. The iPhone 7 was released without a headphone jack, an unpopular choice that's now been somewhat ameliorated by the launch of the AirPods, and the MacBook Pro has been plagued by battery issues, graphics problems, and complaints about the high price of the device.
Apple also saw its first decline in iPhone sales in 2016, but 2017 could potentially turn things around for the company. We're expecting the biggest iPhone revision we've seen since the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launched in 2014, plus we're also expecting major iPad changes, refreshed desktop Macs, and software improvements.
iPhone 8 - September 2017
Rumors about the 2017 iPhone started ramping up before the iPhone 7 was even released, so there's a lot of information out there, and at this point, quite a bit of it conflicts, so it's difficult to get a clear picture of what Apple is planning for the iPhone's 10th anniversary.
If you read all of the rumors and suss out some common themes, there are a few concrete details that hint at what likely to see in the next-generation iPhone. We're assuming it's going to be called the "iPhone 8" due to design changes that are more radical than we'd expect for an "iPhone 7s," but it's entirely possible Apple will go with another name.
It looks like there's going to be at least three iPhone models, and one of those will have an OLED display. It's sounding like we're going to get one premium OLED iPhone somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 inches, with either a flexible curved display that wraps around the edges like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge or an edge-to-edge display more in line with the current design of the iPhone 7.
Tuesday December 27, 2016 12:08 pm PST by Eric Slivka
Apple's product lineup has expanded over the past couple of years with the addition of the Apple Watch, a third notebook line, and most recently AirPods, and while 2016 turned out to be a bit of a disappointment for some with the Mac in particular seeing many models go the entire year without an update, there were still a number of significant updates.
July 2016 mockups showing iPhone 7 and two variations of iPhone 7 Plus
As we reach the end of the year, it's worth a look back at some of the more notable and accurate rumors and leaks from 2016 to see how the sometimes long and winding road of rumors led to the product launches we eventually saw.
Tuesday December 20, 2016 6:22 am PST by Joe Rossignol
Apple is preparing modest updates to its Mac lineup for next year, including new iMac models with USB-C ports and new AMD graphics chips, and "minor bumps" in processing power for 12-inch MacBook and MacBook Pro models, according to Bloomberg.
Mac fans shouldn't hold their breath for radical new designs in 2017 though. Instead, the company is preparing modest updates: USB-C ports and a new Advanced Micro Devices Inc. graphics processor for the iMac, and minor bumps in processing power for the 12-inch MacBook and MacBook Pro. Cue the outrage.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo likewise said new iMacs will launch in the first half of 2017 in a research note shared earlier this year, while current iMac models have not been updated in 434 days per our Mac Buyer's Guide, so updates to Apple's consumer desktop lineup would be unsurprising. USB-C ports on new iMacs would likely double as Thunderbolt 3 ports akin to the new MacBook Pro.
Apple designers are also said to be exploring standalone keyboards with a Touch Bar and Touch ID for desktop computers. The report claims Apple will decide whether to release the keyboards depending upon how well the touchscreen strip and fingerprint scanner are received on new MacBook Pro models released a few months ago. Apple's current Magic Keyboard was released in October 2015.
Meanwhile, some Apple engineers have reportedly raised the possibility of moving Mac Pro production back to Asia, as these people believe the supply chain workers have the "required skills" for "ambitious" products. Apple currently assembles the Mac Pro in Texas as its only "Made in USA" computer, but the professional-oriented desktop machine has not been updated in three years.
Three years on, the Mac Pro is ripe for an upgrade with its chips and connector ports lagging rival products. Because of the earlier challenges, some Apple engineers have raised the possibility of moving production back to Asia, where it's cheaper and manufacturers have the required skills for ambitious products, according to a person familiar with those internal discussions.
President-elect Donald Trump recently said he will offer Apple incentives to bring manufacturing back to the United States, including a "very large tax cut" and reduced regulations. Apple CEO Tim Cook himself has said the majority of its products are made in China because the U.S. workforce has a smaller number of individuals with the "vocational kind of skills" needed.
Overall, the article suggests the Mac is "getting far less attention than it once did," partly due to "a lack of clear direction from senior management, departures of key people working on Mac hardware, and technical challenges."
Apple, for its part, told employees it has "great desktops" in its roadmap. Cook said the desktop is "very strategic" to Apple because the performance desktops can provide is "really important" to a lot of people and "critical" for others. He says the current iMac is the best desktop Apple's ever made and its 5K display is the best desktop display in the world. The fate of the Mac Pro and Mac mini is less clear.
Monday December 19, 2016 3:23 pm PST by Husain Sumra
In a post to an employee message board obtained byTechCrunch, Apple CEO Tim Cook assured employees that the company is still committed to the Mac and that "great desktops" are coming. Apple's desktop computers haven't seen an upgrade in at least 433 days.
Some folks in the media have raised the question about whether we’re committed to desktops,” Cook wrote. “If there’s any doubt about that with our teams, let me be very clear: we have great desktops in our roadmap. Nobody should worry about that.”
Cook says that the desktop is "very strategic" to Apple because the performance desktops can provide is "really important" to a lot of people and "critical" for some people. He says the current iMac is the best desktop Apple's ever made and its 5K display is the best desktop display in the world.
In regards to its future roadmap and how Apple employees can help push the company forward, Cook says that "you can rarely see precisely where you want to go from the beginning." Instead, Cook argues that "pulling strings" to see what's coming next is one of Apple's strengths, noting that the creation of Apple Watch led to the creation of ResearchKit, which lead to the creation of CareKit. Cook concludes the post by saying the company doesn't do things for a return on investment, it explores new things because it's exciting and might lead somewhere.
The lack of refreshed Mac hardware can be attributed to a combination of Apple waiting on chipmakers and suppliers to ship their new products and the Cupertino Company's renewed focus on iPad.
Apple's desktop Macs haven't seen upgrades in over a year. The iMac's last update was 433 days ago, the Mac Mini's last update was 795 days ago and the Mac Pro's last update was 1,097 days ago.
Tuesday December 6, 2016 6:02 am PST by Joe Rossignol
When looking at the current state of the Mac lineup, the new MacBook Pro is the only model Apple has updated over the past seven-plus months. Even the latest MacBook Pro models required a 527-day wait, which was considerably longer than the average of 320 days between previous MacBook Pro refreshes.
A glance at our own MacRumors Buyer's Guide shows the new MacBook Pro is the only Mac currently listed with a "Buy Now" status, as all other models beyond the 12-inch MacBook have not been refreshed for significant periods of time. The longest overdue is the Mac Pro, last updated 1,084 days ago.
• iMac — 420 days ago
• MacBook Air — 638 days ago
• Mac mini — 782 days ago
• Mac Pro — 1,084 days ago
The lack of updates can be at least partially attributed to Apple having to wait on chipmakers and suppliers such as Intel, AMD, and Nvidia, each of which follow their own product roadmaps, although that cannot be the only reason given Skylake processors are now readily available for update-deprived Macs.
A lack of meaningful updates to several Macs this year impacted Apple's bottom line, as Mac revenue has declined for four consecutive quarters year-over-year. The declines have worsened each quarter, starting with a 3% drop in Q4 2015 and progressing to a 17% drop in Q3 2016, according to Strategy Analytics.
Apple investors now await the company's first quarter earnings results to see if the new MacBook Pro models will be able to reverse that trend.
Conversely, after several down quarters, the iPad has experienced a mostly upward trajectory over the past year, thanks largely in part to the iPad Pro's higher average selling price. Apple's tablet revenue is now stable on a year-over-year basis, after dipping as low as -21% one year ago.
Strategy Analytics senior analyst Eric Smith attributes the stabilizing effect to Apple's renewed focus on iPads. He said Apple entered the 2-in-1 tablet market with the iPad Pro and Smart Keyboard right in time to renew growth and capitalize on growing enterprise demand in the future.
Recognizing that Microsoft was changing the computing device market, Smith said Apple "pretty much forgot about Mac" in order to attack the 2-in-1 tablet segment with the release of iPad Pro models over the past year.
"Apple has been a master of cannibalizing its own business before other companies do so in a major way," Smith told MacRumors. "Apple let iPad slide until it became clear that Microsoft was changing the computing device market. It refocused on iPad with the Pro series and pretty much forgot about Mac to attack the 2-in-1 segment."
Apple's move was rather effective, as iPad market share has stabilized at 22% over the past two years after declining for the previous four years. But it would seem it took a change in stance to get there as, in the past, Apple essentially dismissed the idea of releasing a tablet-notebook hybrid.
During a 2012 earnings call, when asked to comment on why the MacBook Air and iPad would not eventually converge, Apple CEO Tim Cook argued that combining the products would result in compromises. "You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator but those won't be pleasing to the user," he said.
By contrast, earlier this year Apple released a TV ad called "What's a Computer?" that positions the iPad Pro as a computer. "Imagine what your computer could do if your computer was an iPad Pro," the tagline concludes.
Likewise, Cook said the iPad Pro is a notebook or desktop computer replacement for many people. "They will start using it and conclude they no longer need to use anything else, other than their phones," he added. "I think if you're looking at a PC, why would you buy a PC anymore? No really, why would you buy one?"
In the post-PC era, it is perhaps unsurprising that Apple's attention has shifted more towards the iPhone—and by extension, the iPad. But many faithful customers are hoping Apple will eventually turn its sights back to the Mac, following what some critics believe was a disappointing MacBook Pro update amid an aging lineup of Macs.
Tuesday November 29, 2016 7:57 am PST by Joe Rossignol
Apple will issue refunds to customers who previously paid for an iMac display hinge replacement or repair, according to a recently updated service document internally distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers and obtained by MacRumors. These repairs could often cost upwards of $100 based on user complaints.
Apple's service document acknowledges some 27-inch iMacs shipped between December 2012 and July 2014 may be affected by an issue with the display hinge, resulting in the screen no longer adjusting and continuously tilting forward. The issue appears to be limited to late 2012 and late 2013 models in particular.
The issue has been frequently reported by dozens of users on the Apple Support Communities, MacRumors discussion forums, and elsewhere on the web, with a number of iMac owners describing a similar experience in which the hinge makes an audible popping or cracking sound and then stops working.
The underlying problem appears to be the use of plastic washers in the hinge's spring mechanism, which are evidently not strong enough to support the weight of the iMac's display. In many cases, the washers eventually break under the load, causing the familiar popping sound reported by users.
iMac hinge with plastic washers (Image: Mac Plus in Singapore)
Apple Support Communities user Mr Mo-Fo:
I was just sitting watching TV when there was a loud crack and my iMac screen suddenly tilted down - now the screen will not stay where it is tilted/positioned. I was not using the iMac at the time and it was not doing anything it just broke on its own. The Mac was only bought in February and has not been moved or tilted once it was in place.
MacRumors user Plazm:
My one month old 27" iMac (about a month old) at work seems to have developed a loose hinge so that the screen always tilts at its most downward. It still tilts up and down, but will always return to that position by itself.
In September, Apple extended its related iMac hinge repair program to cover late 2012 and late 2013 iMacs for up to five years from the date of their original purchase, compared to an original three-year period. Apple will replace the hinge mechanism on affected iMacs at no charge, regardless of warranty coverage.
Unlike some of Apple's other Exchange and Repair Extension Programs listed on its website, the details of this program have not been made publicly available. Apple has instead sent internal communication to Apple Authorized Service Providers with information about repairs and refunds.
Apple recommends affected customers contact the company by phone or web to initiate the refund process. Customers who still have a broken hinge can book an appointment with the Genius Bar at an Apple Store or visit an Apple Authorized Service Provider to determine if their iMac is eligible for the repair program.
Tuesday November 1, 2016 4:23 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Following its "Hello Again" Mac event last week, Apple quietly dropped the prices on higher-capacity storage upgrades across its Mac lineup. 512GB and 1TB SSD build-to-order upgrade options for the MacBook Air, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac mini, and 2015 MacBook Pro are now priced up to $200 less, bring the costs in line with upgrade options on the new MacBook Pro models.
Prior to the event, 512GB storage upgrade options were priced at $300-$400 for most entry-level machines, while a 1TB upgrade was priced at $800 to $900. With the price drop, upgrading to 512GB of storage costs an extra $200-$300, while upgrading to 1TB costs $600-$700.
On the higher-end 13-inch MacBook Air, for example, the default 256GB SSD option can be upgraded to 512GB for $200, $100 less than it cost earlier this year.
New Mac Pro storage prices. Previous prices were $300 and $800.
Upgrading the entry-level 27-inch iMac to 512GB of flash storage previously cost $500, but the price has dropped to $400. Upgrading the mid-range iMac 27-inch iMac to 512GB or 1TB of storage used to cost $400 or $900, respectively, but prices are now at $300 for the 512GB upgrade and $700 for the 1TB flash storage upgrade. On the most expensive 27-inch iMac, upgrading to 1TB storage now costs $100 less.
On the high-end Mac mini, prices have dropped to $200 for the 512GB flash storage option and $600 for the 1TB flash storage option, and the same prices are available on both Mac Pro models, a savings of $100 for 512GB and $200 for 1TB.
For 2015 MacBook Pro models, the 15-inch MacBook Pro storage upgrade options are also priced at $200 for 512GB and $600 for 1TB, down from $300 and $800. Upgrade options for the 13-inch machine are new and are priced somewhat higher at $200 for 256GB, $400 for 512GB, and $800 for 1TB.
Much to the disappointment of many Mac users, the MacBook Pro was the only machine to see an update at Apple's fall event. The iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac mini have not seen a refresh, and no new machines are expected before the end of the year.
While an iMac refresh is rumored for the first half of 2017, there's no word on when the Mac Pro and the Mac mini, both of which have not been refreshed in several years, could receive updates. Apple is also expected to phase out the MacBook Air, replacing it with the MacBook and the MacBook Pro.
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