Archive of Retina MacBook Pro Rumors

Apple is expected to refresh its MacBook lineup in 2016 with Intel's faster Skylake processors and Thunderbolt 3 with USB-C, and supply chain sources now indicate the updated notebooks may see a staggered launch throughout the year.

The company's manufacturing partners are expected to start producing new 12-inch MacBook and 13-inch MacBook Pro models around late March or early April, followed by 15-inch MacBook Pro models in the third quarter, according to the sometimes-reliable Taiwanese website DigiTimes.

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If accurate, new 12-inch MacBook and 13-inch MacBook Pro models could debut at Apple's rumored March media event, alongside the new 4-inch iPhone, iPad Air 3, and Apple Watch updates, or at WWDC, likely scheduled for mid-June. Smaller updates could also be announced at any time via press release.

The larger 15-inch MacBook Pro may not be launched until after WWDC, however, as the third quarter translates to between July and September. While that seems questionable, Apple may elect to announce a new 15-inch MacBook Pro at WWDC and begin shipping the notebook later in the year.

Last year, Apple refreshed the 13-inch MacBook Pro in March, but its 15-inch sibling was not updated until May. For this reason, the 13-inch model is classified as Early 2015, and the 15-inch model is Mid 2015. Both notebooks received Force Touch trackpads, faster flash storage, longer battery life, and improved graphics.

The Early 2015 13-inch MacBook Pro is based on Intel's newer Broadwell chip architecture, while the 15-inch model still has older Haswell architecture. Since then, Intel has announced Skylake chips appropriate for the 13-inch MacBook Pro in September and 15-inch MacBook Pro earlier this week.

Given that Skylake chips have been announced for both the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro, there does not appear to be any reason for Apple to stagger the release of its notebooks this year. But, perhaps in line with its 2015 release cycle, Apple may plan to give the current 15-inch MacBook Pro a longer shelf life before replacing it.

Intel also announced Skylake chips appropriate for the 12-inch MacBook and MacBook Airs throughout 2015, so it is likely we will see Mac updates across the board over the coming months. The report also claims a new iMac will be released in 2016, but an update is unlikely until later in the year.
As noted by AnandTech, Intel this week quietly released an updated processor price list which includes several new Skylake chips that could be used in an updated 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro.

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The direct upgrade path for the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro would use the following quad-core chip options: a 2.6 GHz Core i7-6770HQ, a 2.7 GHz Core i7-6870HQ, and a 2.8 GHz Core i7-6970HQ, all coming in at the same price points as the Haswell variants currently used in the MacBook Pro.

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Perhaps a more intriguing but less likely scenario involves a series of new mobile Xeon E3 chips. These chips could offer even better CPU, graphics, and memory performance, although pricing becomes an issue with the highest-performing chip in the family.

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As for the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, Intel announced chips appropriate for those machines back in September, although it suggested the chips would not actually be launching until early 2016. Those chips have been included on Intel's price lists for several months, but have been slow to show up in the wild. A claimed benchmark for a 13-inch MacBook Pro running one of these chips last week appears to have been a fake.

Most of Apple's Mac lineup is in need of updates, as Intel's Skylake delays have hampered Apple's ability to launch refreshed models. But with the Skylake logjam finally starting to break, Apple appears set to update its entire notebook lineup over the next several months. Opportunities for major product introductions could come at Apple's rumored March media event or at WWDC likely scheduled for mid-June, although smaller updates could come at any time via press release.
SP715-display_mbp_13A pair of benchmark results uploaded to Geekbench 3 on January 14 purportedly belong to a next-generation Skylake-based 13" Retina MacBook Pro, but they more likely represent a Hackintosh.

The benchmarks report the machine as running an announced but unreleased 3.3GHz Intel Core i7-6567U processor, which would be appropriate for the high-end 13-inch model, and includes integrated Intel Iris Graphics 550 graphics. As a result, the results have generated some excitement among those eagerly awaiting Skylake notebooks from Apple.

Nevertheless, there are some unusual aspects of the benchmarks that suggest the results could belong to a Hackintosh instead.

First, the 15W4314 build number of OS X 10.11.3 shown in the results is an anomaly. Unreleased machines typically have unique build numbers due to customizations needed to support the new machines, but the "15W" prefix on the build number doesn't fit Apple's naming pattern even for custom builds. The build number for any machine running OS X 10.11.3 should begin with "15D", following Apple's naming pattern of "15A" for OS X 10.11.0, "15B" for OS X 10.11.1, "15C" for OS X 10.11.2 and "15D" for OS X 10.11.3.

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The model identifier SKLCRB1,1 also does not line up with any of Apple's other pre-release identifiers. The reported 6GB of 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM is also suspect in both the amount and speed of the memory.

Moreover, the single-score and multi-score scores of around 2,500 and 4,500 respectively are lower than the current high-end 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, which has a Broadwell Core i7-5557U chip. The Early 2015 model has single-core and multi-core scores of around 3,099 and 6,477 respectively.

Another sign that may point towards a Hackintosh is a motherboard ID of 50619A408DB004DA, which matches several benchmarks that have MacBookPro8,1 model identifiers but use desktop-class processors. That corresponds to a 13-inch MacBook Pro released in 2011.

Intel has slowly released Skylake processors since late 2015, and Apple will likely update at least part of its Mac notebook lineup with the new chips in the first half of 2016.
With the launch of the Apple Watch, the iPhone 6s and the 6s Plus, the new Apple TV, and the iPad Pro, 2015 was a major year for Apple. The Apple Watch introduced a whole new category, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus saw the debut of 3D Touch, and the iPad Pro brought Apple's largest iOS device yet.

iOS 9, watchOS 2, and OS X 10.11 El Capitan brought refinements to Apple's operating systems, and the fourth-generation Apple TV came with a brand new operating system, tvOS. 2015 saw a huge number of new products and software updates, and 2016 promises to be just as exciting.

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A second-generation Apple Watch is in the works and could launch in early 2016, while new flagship iPhones, the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, are coming in late 2016. Those who love smaller devices will be excited to hear a 4-inch iPhone 6c may be coming early in 2016, and Apple's Mac lineup is expected to gain Skylake chip updates.

New software, including iOS 10, OS X 10.12, watchOS 3, and an upgraded version of tvOS are all expected in 2016, and Apple will undoubtedly work on improving services like HomeKit, Apple Pay, and Apple Music.


As we did for 2014 and 2015, we've highlighted Apple's prospective 2016 product plans, outlining what we might see from Apple over the course of the next 12 months based on current rumors, past releases, and logical upgrade choices.

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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday granted Apple a patent for a low-travel keyboard design with Force Touch-like sensors that measure the pressure placed on a key when a user presses or rests a finger on it.

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As summarized by AppleInsider, the exhaustive patent filing details how the keyboard would have a switch-less QWERTY input mechanism, rather than mechanical switches, allowing for less key travel and potentially thinner Mac keyboards.
Apple's current MacBook and Mac accessory lineups employ modified scissor switches, or butterfly switches on the 12-inch Retina MacBook, nestled within hollow key caps. Today's patent mirrors the aesthetic of existing designs, but deviates from established technology by replacing mechanical switches for a stack of sensors, actuators and supporting circuitry.

Theoretically the system operates akin to Apple's Force Touch trackpads, but on a much larger scale; one force sensor package for each keyboard key. Force sensors configured to measure downward pressure are integrated beneath the keyboard's key caps, while integrated actuators — part of the key stack — generate haptic feedback.
The patent filing does not guarantee that Apple will release a Force Touch keyboard, but a pressure-sensitive keyboard is plausible alongside the Magic Trackpad and Force Touch trackpads on MacBooks.

Apple's new Retina MacBook has been criticized by some over its all-new butterfly mechanism keyboard, which has low key travel, so whether Apple implements this new keyboard design into the rest of its MacBook lineup remains to be seen.

Apple was granted U.S. Patent No. 9,178,509, and credits Jeffrey T. Bernstein as its inventor.
Intel has released detailed information about its upcoming Skylake processors for notebooks and desktops ahead of IFA 2015 in Berlin (via Ars Technica). The sixth-generation chips will deliver CPU and GPU performance improvements and longer battery life, and are likely to power future MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and iMac models released over the next year.

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Retina MacBook

Intel's new lineup of Core M processors appropriate for the 12-inch Retina MacBook will provide up to 10 hours of battery life, between 10%-20% faster CPU performance and up to 40% faster graphics compared to equivalent Broadwell chips.

CPU World accurately shared Core m3, Core m5 and Core m7 specifications last week, with all three families of chips including Intel HD 515 graphics, 4MB of L3 cache and 4.5 watt thermal design power (TDP).

Intel Skylake Core M MacBook
The low-end Core m3 6Y30 replaces the Core M-5Y31 and is likely suited for the base model 12-inch MacBook sold for $1,299. The mid-tier Core m5 6Y54 and Core m5 6Y57 replace the Core M-5Y51 on the high-end 12-inch MacBook sold for $1,599, while the high-end Core m7 6Y75 replaces the Core M-5Y71 for top-of-the-line 12-inch MacBook custom configurations.

Core M processors have configurable TDPs, allowing for performance and heat output to be adjusted. Core m3, m5 and m7 chips can be run at 3.5-3.8 watts or be increased to 7 watts to allow for higher CPU clock speeds. For the current 12-inch MacBook, Apple boosted the 900 MHz 5Y31 chip to 1.1 GHz, 1.1 GHz 5Y51 chip to 1.2 GHz and 1.2 GHz 5Y71 chip to 1.3 GHz.

Ars Technica notes that Core M processors should be available to Apple and other PC makers now, meaning that Core m3, m5 and m7-powered notebooks could begin shipping within the next few months. However, given that the 12-inch MacBook just launched in April, it remains uncertain if Apple is willing to release updated models this soon or hold off until 2016.

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facetime-mac-2015Apple has released a FaceTime Camera Driver Update for all 2015 MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro notebooks that improves FaceTime camera compatibility with Windows. Apple recommends that all Boot Camp users install the software update (1.4MB) from the Apple Support website.

The software update was released for the following notebooks:

- MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015)
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015)
- MacBook Air (11-inch, Early 2015)
- MacBook Air (13-inch, Early 2015)
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015)

Languages supported include English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Polish, Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Norwegian, Korean, Chinese (Traditional) and Chinese (Simplified).
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.

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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.

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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)

Apple refreshed the MacBook Air and 13" Retina MacBook Pro with the latest Broadwell processors in March, but the refreshed 15" Retina MacBook Pro released in May remains powered by two-year-old Haswell architecture due to the lack of quad-core Broadwell processors appropriate for the notebook at the time.

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.
Intel today at Computex 2015 announced its next-generation lineup of quad-core Broadwell processors for notebooks and desktop computers, including a trio of Core i7 processors appropriate for the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro: i7-5950HQ, i7-5850HQ and i7-5750HQ. The new processors have base frequencies of between 2.5 GHz and 2.9 GHz and feature integrated Intel Iris Pro 6200 graphics.

Intel New Broadwell Chips
The fifth-generation Broadwell chips are expected to be available in the next 30-60 days, meaning the first notebooks and desktop computers with the new processors should be available in July or August.

Interestingly, Apple refreshed the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro just last month, but noticeably missing were processor upgrades, as the new machines continue to use the same Haswell processors from the previous generation. While appropriate Broadwell chips will soon be available over the next few months, it is possible that Apple did not want to wait that long to refresh the notebook.

It is also possible that Apple will skip fifth-generation Broadwell processors entirely for the MacBook Pro and release Skylake-based notebooks as early as later this year. Intel also announced the future availability of Thunderbolt 3 with USB-C, and USB 3.1 and DisplayPort 1.2 support, and the new spec would be suitable for inclusion in the next refresh to the Mac lineup.
dell_up2715k_5kApple has updated a support document on its website to reflect that the high-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, equipped with AMD Radeon R9 M370X graphics, is capable of driving Dell's dual-cable UP2715K 27-inch 5K display. Apple initially released OS X 10.10.3 in April with support for the dual-cable 5K monitor on the Retina 5K iMac and 2013 Mac Pro, but no notebooks supported the display at the time.
Dual-Cable Displays

Some displays with resolutions higher than 4K require two DisplayPort cables to connect the display at full resolution. With OS X Yosemite v10.10.3 or later, the Dell UP2715K 27-inch 5K display is supported on the following Mac computers:

Mac Pro (Late 2013)
iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2014 and later)
MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015) with AMD Radeon R9 M370X
Dell's dual-cable 5K display requires more bandwidth than is currently supported over a current single DisplayPort cable, so it uses a dual-cable solution that takes up two Thunderbolt ports on a Mac. The availability of Intel's Skylake platform with DisplayPort 1.3 support later this year will enable Apple to update Macs with support for external 5K displays that function over a single cable, at which point the company could theoretically release a 5K Thunderbolt Display.

The support document also lists the high-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro as capable of driving most single-stream 4K displays (4,096-by-2,160) at 60Hz on OS X 10.10.3, becoming the first notebook to support single-stream 4K displays alongside the Mac Pro (Late 2013) and iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2014 and later).

Apple initially listed the high-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro with AMD Radeon graphics as capable of supporting an ultra-wide display with up to 5,120-by-2,160 resolution at 60Hz, but has since updated the notebook's technical specifications to reflect its ability to drive a single external display at up to 5,120-by-2,880 resolution at 60Hz.
Apple's new 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, unveiled on Tuesday, didn't include a processor upgrade due to Broadwell delays, but it did get a Force Touch trackpad and one other major improvement -- new PCIe-based flash storage that Apple says is 2.5 times faster than the flash storage in previous-generation machines, with throughput up to 2GB/s.

In benchmark testing conducted by French site MacGeneration [Google Translate], the entry-level 2.2GHz 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro with 16GB RAM and 256GB of storage lived up to Apple's claims, demonstrating impressive read/write speeds that topped out at 2GB/s and 1.25GB/s, respectively, in QuickBench 4.0.

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Those read/write speeds far exceed the read/write speeds achieved by the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Air, which also received faster flash storage that doubles the speeds available in previous-generation 13-inch MacBook Air machines. The 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro's performance is similar to the 13-inch MacBook Air.

At speeds that reach 2GB/s throughput, the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro has the fastest storage of any of Apple's notebooks. It took 14 seconds to transfer an 8.76GB file to the machine, compared to 32 seconds for the slower Retina MacBook. With small files, read/write speeds exceed a gigabyte per second.

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Like the 2015 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro and 13-inch MacBook Air, the revamped 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro uses a solid state drive manufactured by Samsung. As noted by MacGeneration, it does not use the faster NVM Express SSD protocol that the 13-inch model was updated to, suggesting future machines could see even greater performance improvements with a swap to the next-generation protocol and with continued leaps in SSD technology.

Apple's 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro is available from the online Apple Store at prices that start at $1,999. The notebooks continue to use Haswell processors, but should see performance boosts due to the faster solid state drives.
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.

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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.