Thursday September 22, 2016 7:40 am PDT by Eric Slivka
While many Mac notebook users have been long awaiting refreshes for the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air lineups based on Intel's 6th-generation Core "Skylake" processors, a recently leaked April roadmap for Intel's processors beyond Skylake posted to the AnandTech forums raises questions about future updates for the 15-inch MacBook Pro in particular.
The update bottleneck for future Mac notebooks is primarily related to the performance of Intel's integrated graphics, and it appears that an emphasis on processing cores over graphics by Intel may force Apple to make some changes to its graphics strategy down the road.
Wednesday September 14, 2016 6:58 pm PDT by Juli Clover
In recent weeks, Apple has been sending out surveys to users asking about MacBook Pro features, most notably the headphone jack. A survey question shared by MacRumors reader Blake asks "Do you ever use the headphone port on your MacBook Pro with Retina display?"
There are several other reports on Twitter from users who have been asked similar questions about the headphone jack, suggesting Apple is exploring the removal of the headphone jack in a future version of the MacBook Pro. Apple has eliminated the headphone jack from the iPhone, so it makes sense that the trend will continue for other products.
Apple is also asking users about battery life and other ports, including the SD card slot. One question asked "How do you upload photos from a digital camera or phone to your MacBook Pro with Retina Display?"
Based on a leaked MacBook Pro shell, the upcoming MacBook Pro will include four USB-C ports and a headphone jack, with Apple doing away with all other ports on the machine. If the shell is an actual part, the machine will not include an SD card slot, HDMI port, USB-A port, or a MagSafe connection.
The design of the MacBook Pro that's launching in 2016 has already been finalized ahead of its release, and Apple is likely to continue using the same design for several years going forward, so the removal of the headphone jack is probably not something that MacBook Pro users need to worry about for the foreseeable future.
Rumors suggest Apple will release a redesigned MacBook Pro with a redesigned chassis and an OLED touch panel as early as October.
Friday September 2, 2016 12:33 pm PDT by Juli Clover
We're just a few days away from Apple's annual fall event, where we expect to see the launch of the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, a second-generation Apple Watch with new bands, and refreshed Beats products.
We may also see the debut of Apple's rumored wireless "AirPods" earbuds, and we'll find out when iOS 10, macOS Sierra, tvOS 10, and watchOS 3 will officially launch. For details on all of Apple's new products culled from the rumors we've heard over the course of the last year, read our below guide on what to expect, but beware -- there are lots of spoilers!
Monday August 29, 2016 3:35 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple is planning to refresh its Mac lineup, including the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, as early as October, according to Bloomberg. The report also claims Apple is working on a standalone 5K display in partnership with LG Electronics, while it plans to update iMac models with an option for new graphics chips from AMD.
The report reiterates that the new MacBook Pro will be thinner and include an OLED-based touchscreen strip along the top of the flatter keyboard, which will present functions that dynamically fit the current task or application, as well as integrate Touch ID to enable users to quickly log in using their fingerprint.
For example, if a user is on their desktop, the screen will show a virtual representation of the standard function row, which includes brightness and media controls. When in an application, the virtual row will show options specific to the task at hand, but volume controls and a switch to show the default functions will always be present.
Apple has reportedly named the feature "Dynamic Function Row" internally, but its official name may differ when announced.
The tweaked MacBook Air models, meanwhile, are said to include multipurpose USB-C ports, which makes the inclusion of Thunderbolt 3 a possibility. No other details were shared about the planned MacBook Air and iMac refreshes.
Apple's plans to work with LG on a standalone 5K display surface two months after it discontinued the five-year-old Thunderbolt Display. It remains unclear if the monitor will be based upon the Retina 5K iMac, and it is also unclear if the report's broad late 2016 timeframe for "some of the new Mac products" includes the display.
The report makes it nearly certain that the focus of Apple's just-announced September 7 media event will be on the iPhone 7 and the second-generation Apple Watch, the latter of which has now been confirmed for the event. Apple will also provide updates about its software, including iOS 10, macOS Sierra, watchOS 3, and tvOS 10.
Wednesday August 24, 2016 1:17 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Code discovered within the macOS Sierra beta suggests the operating system will include support for second-generation USB 3.1 transfer speeds of up 10Gb/s, hinting at hardware upgrades that will be included in future Macs set to be released later this year.
Found in a localizable text string in macOS Sierra by 9to5Mac, the code points to support for "Super Speed Plus," another name for the faster 10Gb/s USB 3.1 Gen 2 specification. Current Macs (and OS X El Capitan) only support current-generation USB 3.1, capable of reaching transfer speeds of up to 5Gb/s, so the obvious conclusion is that Apple is planning to add USB 3.1 Gen 2 support to its upcoming Mac machines.
Apple's new Macs almost always include support for the latest USB and Thunderbolt specifications to maximize performance, so it should come as no surprise that Apple is planning the same upgrades for Macs to be released in 2016. Rumors have also previously suggested Thunderbolt 3, which includes support for 10Gb/s USB 3.1 and DisplayPort 1.2, will be introduced in Apple's most highly anticipated machine due for a refresh, the MacBook Pro, so the code found today is in line with what we'd expect to see.
There is no word on when Apple plans to debut its new MacBook Pro, and if there are other Mac updates in the works, but it is rumored to be debuting before the end of the year, perhaps at an event set to be held in October or November. The machine is said to feature a thinner, redesigned body with an OLED touch panel and Touch ID support.
Wednesday August 10, 2016 4:50 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Apple is about to unveil the most significant overhaul of its MacBook Pro lineup in over four years, according to people familiar with the matter (via Bloomberg).
Today's claim appears in the second report from the news outlet this week professing insider information on Apple's upcoming product plans.
Consistent with previous rumors, the article says the updated notebooks are thinner and will include a touchscreen strip along the top of the keyboard, which is expected to present functions on an as-needed basis that fit the current task or application, as well as integrate Touch ID to enable users to quickly log in using their fingerprint.
The new top-of-the-line MacBook Pros will be slightly thinner than the current models but are not tapered like the MacBook Air and latest 12-inch MacBook, one of the people said. The new MacBook Pros have a smaller footprint than current models and the casing has shallower curves around the edges. The pressure-sensitive trackpad is also slightly wider, the person added.
More significantly perhaps, the anonymous source claims the new MacBook Pros will feature more powerful and efficient graphics processors for "expert users such as video gamers".
An option for a version featuring a higher-performance graphics chip from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. will be available, another person familiar with the matter said. It’s unclear which provider Apple will use for the main processor, but Intel Corp. has supplied this in the past.
Apple is using one of AMD's "Polaris" graphics chips because the design offers the power efficiency and thinness necessary to fit inside the slimmer Apple notebook, the person said. The new graphics card is more than 20 percent thinner than its predecessor, AMD said earlier this year. AMD declined to comment, referring inquiries to Apple.
As reported previously, the switch to the new Polaris 11 architecture is expected to be a significant performance upgrade over the previous 28nm chips, with AMD promising "console-class GPU performance for thin and light notebooks" and "extraordinary VR experiences" from the new low-power mobile architecture.
The new design will also include USB-C connectivity that can handle charging, data transfers, and display outputs, according to the source, corroborating earlier rumors. Apple is also reportedly considering whether to offer the notebooks in gray, gold, and silver, although it's unclear if colored MacBook Pros will be available on initial release.
The new computers have been in advanced testing since earlier this year, according to the source, although they aren't likely to debut at an event "currently scheduled for September 7 to introduce next-generation versions of the iPhone".
With Monday, September 5 being Labor Day, previous predictions tagged September 6 as the day of Apple's iPhone 7 event, but Wednesday still roughly lines up with Apple's usual pattern for iPhone releases. Last year, Apple announced the iPhone on September 9, started pre-orders on September 12 and released it on September 25. The company may opt to unveil refreshes for the Mac at a separate event later in the fall, perhaps in October.
Monday August 8, 2016 8:51 am PDT by Mitchel Broussard
Back in May, KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that the next-generation MacBook Pro will include an OLED "touch bar" above the keyboard and Touch ID support, with a subsequent part leak of the machine's chassis supporting the idea of this touch bar replacing the current row of function keys.
Kuo did not address exactly how Touch ID would be integrated into the new MacBook Pro, but a new report from 9to5Mac claims the technology will be built into the device's power button. The MacBook Pro's power button currently resides in the row of function keys, so it is a logical place to incorporate a fingerprint sensing power button as part of the new touch bar.
A source who has provided reliable information in the past has informed us that the new MacBook Pro models, expected to be launched in the fall, will feature a Touch ID power button as well as the previously-reported OLED touch-sensitive function keys.
If placed in the power button, the fingerprint sensor would allow users to wake the MacBook Pro and authenticate its security in one touch, similar to waking up an iPhone by pressing the Home button while simultaneously activating Touch ID.
Beyond the Touch ID power button, the OLED touch panel is rumored to be contextual, displaying different controls and user prompts depending on which apps and programs are open on the MacBook Pro. Designer Martin Hajek created a few renders with the OLED panel earlier in the summer, but didn't include what the Touch ID button might look like.
With the announcement of macOS Sierra at WWDC this year, Apple introduced another way for users to gain access to their Macs while still keeping the device secure, called Auto Unlock. The feature works with an Apple Watch to automatically unlock a password-protected Mac when an authenticated and unlocked Apple Watch is nearby, so it would still only be available to those Mac users who also have an Apple Watch.
In addition to Touch ID and the OLED panel, the new MacBook Pro is expected to be slightly thinner than the current generation thanks to new metal injection mold-made hinges, have thinner speakers aligned on the side of the keyboard, and introduce support for USB-C. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the new MacBook Pro will be "the most significant upgrade ever undertaken by Apple."
The state of the current Mac lineup is causing turmoil for users interested in upgrading their machines on the eve of the big refresh this fall, but with no word yet from Apple, even the launch period is somewhat muddled. The new MacBooks could be revealed in September, alongside the iPhone 7 and new Apple Watch models (now believed to be split into twoeditions), but the company could also opt to hold refreshes for the Mac until a separate event later in the fall, perhaps in October.
Apple stock enjoyed its biggest one-day rise since May on Thursday, following a brief dip as investors speculated on the company's prospects in the run-up to its Q3 earnings call and the release of the iPhone 7 later this year.
Shares closed at $98.78, almost hitting their previous high since Apple reported its fiscal Q2 earnings, when the company's stock fell below $100. Shares remain down 26% from its own record high close of $133 set on February 23, 2015.
The rise followed Wednesday's blip after consumer research firm Kantar Worldpanel released data showing that Samsung is outselling Apple in U.S. smartphone sales.
In the three months ending in May, Samsung accounted for 37% of all U.S. smartphone purchases, with Apple at 29%. However, a closer look at the figures showed Samsung's Galaxy S7 series accounted for 16% of sales in the same period, while the iPhone 6S series accounted for 14.6%, suggesting a much closer battle when it comes to flagship devices.
Outside the U.S., Kantar data revealed that Apple's iPhone 6s and 5s were the top two best-selling phones in the U.K., followed by the Samsung Galaxy J5 and the iPhone SE.
In Q2 2016, Apple saw its first year-over-year revenue decline since 2003 along with its first ever drop in iPhone sales, and that downward trend is expected to continue into the third quarter of the year.
The company's earnings announcement for the third fiscal quarter (second calendar quarter) of 2016 will take place on Tuesday, July 26.
Last week, industry research revealed that Mac sales experienced a slight year-over-year decline in the second quarter, dropping to 4.4 million from 4.8 million during the year-ago period. Apple fell behind ASUS to finish as the fifth-largest PC vendor by shipments worldwide.
Apple has not updated the MacBook Pro in over 400 days, with a refresh for its entire MacBook Pro line-up expected in the fourth quarter. The company is expected to unveil its new iPhones in the fall.
The latest numbers from market research firm IDC reveal that Mac sales experienced a slight year-over-year decline in the second quarter, dropping to 4.4 million from 4.8 million during the year-ago period.
Apple fell behind ASUS to finish as the fifth-largest PC vendor by shipments worldwide, with 7.1 percent market share through late June. Apple had 7.4 percent share in the second quarter of 2015 comparatively, according to IDC's data.
The decline can as typical be attributed partially to seasonal fluctuations and increased competition, but many prospective buyers are patiently impatiently waiting for Apple to release its next-generation MacBook Pro and other refreshed Macs.
Overall PC sales totaled an estimated 62.4 million worldwide in the second quarter, a year-over-year decline of 4.5 percent, as the PC market continues to decline. Nevertheless, North American PC shipments increased for the first time in five quarters, reflecting the strength of the U.S. dollar and "relative market stability."
Gartner has also released similar worldwide PC shipment data for the second quarter.
Thursday June 16, 2016 6:22 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
In the weeks leading up to WWDC 2016, multiple reliable sources indicated the opening keynote would be a no-hardware affair. And as it turned out, the focus of the event was unsurprisingly on software, including iOS 10, macOS Sierra, tvOS 10, and watchOS 3. So, when can we expect new Apple hardware?
Many products were at some point rumored to have a possible connection with WWDC 2016, including the next-generation Apple Watch, MacBook Pro, and Thunderbolt Display. Those that have been following rumors consistently, however, will know that the most of the products are actually expected in the second half of 2016.
The following roundup serves as a refresher of rumors we have heard up until this point.
Apple last updated the 13-inch MacBook Pro in March 2015, followed by the 15-inch model in May 2015, with Force Touch trackpads, faster flash storage, longer battery life, and improved graphics. As our Mac Buyer's Guide indicates, that was around 400 days ago, leading many to believe that a refresh is overdue.
Prospective buyers were hopeful that Apple would surprise with a new MacBook Pro at WWDC 2016, despite the keynote being billed as a no-hardware affair, but the comapny delivered upon expectations and focused on software announcements only. So, when will the 2016 MacBook Pro be released? ➜ Click here to read rest of article...
Following rumors suggesting the next-generation MacBook Pro will feature an OLED touch panel that replaces the function keys, designer Martin Hajek has created some renderings imagining what such a MacBook Pro might look like.
Hajek's design incorporates some recent information indicating the touch panel on the MacBook Pro could be contextual, with icons and imagery that changes based on the app that's in use. Hajek imagines music controls when Spotify is open, which morph into a download monitor when using Transmission.
Also included in the images is an example of Siri on the Mac, with the colorful Siri waveform depicted on the touch panel. Siri for Mac is rumored to be one of the main features coming in OS X 10.12, set to debut on Monday. Not pictured is a Touch ID button, a feature also expected to be included on or alongside the panel.
In addition to an OLED touch panel, Apple's next-generation MacBook Pro, which will come in 13 and 15-inch sizes, is expected to be thinner, incorporating metal injection mold-made hinges, thin speakers at the sides of the machine, and USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 support.
As has been seen in a leaked chassis image, the OLED panel will be located at the top of the keyboard, where the function keys would normally be positioned. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said the upcoming MacBook Pro will feature "the most significant upgrade ever undertaken by Apple."
We don't yet know when the new MacBook Pro will launch, but Kuo has said he expects it to debut in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Wednesday June 8, 2016 9:03 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple plans to announce new MacBook Air models within the month of June, and begin shipping the notebooks to retailers in August, according to Japanese website Mac Otakara. The conflicting report also claims that Apple will announce a refresh to its entire MacBook Pro series this month, although it did not specify when shipments of those models would begin.
The report, citing "a reliable Chinese supplier," mentions earlier rumors that Apple will discontinue the smaller 11-inch MacBook Air to focus on 13-inch and all-new 15-inch models, although it is unclear if Mac Otakara's source is independently corroborating them. All of the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models are expected to be equipped with Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports, while USB-A, MagSafe 2, and Thunderbolt 2 ports found on existing models will allegedly be removed.
Mac Otakara said it is unclear whether Apple plans to announce the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models at WWDC 2016, but multiple reliable sources have indicated that it will effectively be a no-hardware event. Apple could still make a non-WWDC announcement in June by way of press release, as was the case with the new 12-inch MacBook in April, possibly indicating only minor updates.
Today's report is mostly in line with Taiwan's hit-or-miss Economic Daily News, which reported that Apple will announce slimmer 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air models with "fully redesigned" internal components at WWDC 2016, followed by a launch in the July-September quarter. That report is from November 2015, however, so Apple's exact product roadmap may have changed over the past eight months.
Taiwanese website DigiTimes also reported that Apple will begin shipping new "ultra-thin" 13-inch and 15-inch MacBooks at the end of the June quarter. The report said the new MacBooks will "share a design similar to the existing 12-inch MacBook" and be "thinner than [the] existing MacBook Air," which makes it difficult to infer whether the report is referring to the MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro lineup.
In a recent research note, however, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that Apple will not introduce new MacBook models until the second half of 2016, including a thin and light 13-inch MacBook in the third quarter, and two thinner and lighter 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models in the fourth quarter. Other reliable sources have also suggested new Macs will be released later in the year.
In terms of the new MacBook Pro, Kuo said the 2016 model will feature a thinner and lighter form factor, Touch ID, and a new OLED touch bar positioned above the keyboard. Leaked photos of what appears to be the notebook's unibody revealed space for the OLED touch panel and four USB-C ports. The new MacBook Pro is also expected to adopt metal injection mold-made hinges, which are reportedly already shipping.
Other improvements to the 2016 MacBook Pro should include faster Skylake processors across the lineup, while the top-of-the-line models may sport AMD's new 400-series Polaris graphics chips. Apple last refreshed the 13-inch MacBook Pro in March 2015, followed by the 15-inch model in May 2015, with Force Touch trackpads, faster flash storage, longer battery life, and improved graphics.
Meanwhile, Apple has not fully refreshed the MacBook Air since March 2015, when both the 11- and 13-inch models were upgraded with faster Broadwell processors, Thunderbolt 2, and Intel HD Graphics 6000. The 13-inch MacBook Air also received up to two times faster flash storage. The only minor update to the lineup since then was in April, when Apple bumped the stock 13-inch MacBook Air to 8GB of RAM, up from 4GB.
Apple not updating the 11-inch MacBook Air with 8GB of RAM as well lends credence to rumors claiming the ultra-portable model will be discontinued.
While it is widely believed that Apple may eventually discontinue the entire MacBook Air, which currently sits awkwardly between the Retina MacBook and MacBook Pro, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently said the notebook will remain part of Apple's lineup for now, repositioned as its lower-priced offering.
We expect new MacBook Pro models to be thinner and lighter with better hardware specifications. As such, it will retain its high-end position in the line. MacBook will replace MacBook Air to become the medium-/ high-end model. As both MacBook Pro and MacBook have a thin and light form factor, there is no need to keep MacBook Air. For this reason, we predict no significant upgrade for MacBook Air going forward. Rather, it will serve as an entry-level model sold at low prices.
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