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.
Apple's suppliers have already begun providing it with parts for an upcoming 13-inch "MacBook" update, according to a paywalled report from China's Commercial Times summarized by DigiTimes.
Notebook hinge maker Jarllytec reportedly started shipping metal injection mold-made (MiM) hinges to Apple in May, said to be destined for a 13-inch MacBook. The MacBook in question is likely to be a future revamped 13-inch MacBook Pro, which past rumors suggest will use MiM hinges.
Metal injection molding is a technique used to create small, intricate metal parts. Apple is rumored to be using hinges crafted this way to save space, as the next-generation MacBook Pro models are said to be ultra-thin.
The same report suggests Jarllytec will begin shipping hinges for 15-inch MacBook models in the third quarter of 2016, raising the possibility that Apple will stagger the releases of the redesigned MacBook Pro, first introducing a 13-inch model and following it up later with a 15-inch model. If Apple already has hinges in hand for a 13-inch MacBook Pro, it would perhaps be ready to debut in the next couple of months. We've already seen a chassis said to be for the 13-inch MacBook Pro, supporting the notion that it is perhaps already in production.
We are not expecting to see MacBook Pro announcements at WWDC, but rumors have suggested Apple will debut its next-generation MacBook Pro machines during the fourth quarter of 2016. Should Apple be planning to stagger the releases, a 13-inch model could come in September and a 15-inch model could follow in October or November should it not be ready to launch at the same time.
Predicting Apple's plans for the 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pro is difficult because there are a lot of confusing rumors about the two machines. Many of the rumors about the devices have referred to them as simply "MacBooks," and that ambiguous naming is further confused by a report from Ming-Chi Kuo suggesting Apple is also working on a 13-inch MacBook that would be sold alongside the 12-inch MacBook.
Distilling the rumors down, it's clear there are new MacBook Pro machines in the works, but figuring out a more concrete release date won't be possible until we have more information to work with.
In addition to being ultra thin with a MacBook-style design, Apple's next-generation MacBook Pros are expected to include an OLED touch panel that will replace the function keys on the existing MacBook Pro. Touch ID may be included, and rumors suggest the bar will be dynamic, changing the available keys based on the app in use. This touch panel will need to be deeply integrated into OS X, so additional hints on the upcoming MacBook Pro may be found in OS X 10.12, releasing to developers next week.
Photos have leaked depicting alleged components destined for the rumored redesigned MacBook Pro, giving us a look at the thin body of the device, the space where a rumored OLED touch panel will be positioned, and its possible ports.
Shared by Cult of Mac, the photos came from an anonymous source who claimed to work for Apple's manufacturing partner in China.
The images feature the body of what appears to be a MacBook Pro, which, based on size, seems to be the 13-inch model. The trackpad and the keys have not yet been put in place, but noticeably absent is a function row at the top of the keyboard, which rumors say will be replaced with an OLED touch panel.
Size wise, the MacBook model in the photos appears to be slightly thinner than existing MacBook Pros, and in pictures of the sides of the device, a total of four USB-C ports are available, with two on the left side and two on the right side. A headphone jack is also included, as are thin speaker grilles on either side of the keyboard.
Rumors have suggested Apple is working on completely revamped 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pro models with a thinner and lighter form factor and a dedicated OLED display touch bar that replaces physical function keys. A dedicated Touch ID button is expected to be built into the bar, as is support for USB-C and Thunderbolt 3.
According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the new MacBook Pros will feature the "most significant upgrade ever undertaken by Apple," with the machines set to be released during the fourth quarter of 2016. Many were hoping for a WWDC launch, which early rumors hinted at, but if Kuo's information is accurate, we will need to wait until the fall months to see the launch of the new devices.
Apple plans to introduce a revamped high-end MacBook Pro this year that'll include a thinner and lighter form factor, Touch ID and a new OLED display touch bar above the keyboard, according to a new report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The new MacBook Pro would come in 13- and 15-inch variations and arrive in the fourth quarter of 2016.
While long overlooked, the MacBook line is the brightest spot for Apple’s 2016 rollouts. This is particularly true of the two new MacBook Pro models, to be introduced in 4Q16, as they will have a thinner and lighter form factor, Touch ID, use OLED display touch bar (to replace physical function keys, located above the keyboard) and adopt USB- C / Thunderbolt 3.
Kuo calls the new MacBook Pro updates the "most significant upgrade ever undertaken by Apple." The new "thin and light" design will be helped by new metal injection mold-made hinges and the butterfly-mechanism keyboards that debuted in the 12-inch MacBook. There has been speculation Apple would introduce Touch ID to MacBooks and, in the meantime, Apple engineers are working on a way users could unlock their Macs with Touch ID on iPhone.
The 12-inch MacBook will also be joined by a 13-inch MacBook, according to Kuo. The analyst believes that Apple will move forward with all three MacBook lines this year, with the MacBook Pro occupying the high-end slot, the MacBook will replace the Air as the medium-level model and the MacBook Air will serve as an entry-level model with comparatively low prices.
A large number of MacBook Pro owners running OS X El Capitan are reporting widespread system freezes since installing the 10.11.4 update to Apple's Mac OS.
Hundreds of MacRumors forum members have been posting to a dedicated thread to discuss the issue, which spans 20 pages at the time of writing. The problem appears to be concentrated on 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros (Early 2015) running 10.11.4. Users report that their system becomes totally unresponsive at seemingly random times, with no way to regain access to their Mac other than to force a hard reboot.
The issue was initially reported by MacRumors forum member Antonnn on March 25, four days after Apple released what is the third update to the Mac OS. In Antonnn's case, the freezes have been occurring "about once a week", first when browsing in Safari, but then also during the use of other Mac apps, including Adobe Photoshop and several third-party browsers. The freeze seems to affect not only the screen and mouse cursor but also the Mac's Force Touch trackpad, which completely loses feedback.
Many other users have since reported similar freezes after updating to 10.11.4, with some 15-inch MacBook Pro (Mid 2015) owners also experiencing issues. One potential cause has been identified from crash logs as a system framework or an Intel Graphics driver bug. The issue is also being reported after installing Safari Technology Preview Version 1 and OS X 10.11.5 Public Beta 1.
Video by MacRumors forum member appleofmy"i" experiencing the freeze issue.
Apple Support is apparently aware of the issue but have so far offered no concrete solution. Meanwhile, some users have resorted to downgrading their system to 10.11.3 by restoring from a Time Machine backup or performing a clean install.
We'll update this post throughout the day as we learn more.
Tuesday April 19, 2016 12:47 pm PDT by Chris Jenkins
Following up on its rumor of a major AMD design win reported last October, WCCFtech has confirmed via multiple sources that the customer in question is indeed Apple. The latest design win follows Apple's use of AMD 200/300 series GPUs in the top-end 27-inch Retina iMac and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, and is a boon for the chipmaker that has seen its share of the graphics market dwindle over the past several years.
The design wins make mention of two graphics processor families, Polaris 10 and Polaris 11. The former carries a code name "Ellesmere" and is believed to be in the power range that would make it suitable for an upgrade to the iMac. Polaris 11 has the code name "Baffin" and it is believed to be in the power range suitable for an upgrade to the Retina MacBook Pro.
While Apple has limited discrete graphics chips to the top of its MacBook Pro and iMac lines, there would be suitable chips for all but the smallest form factors of Apple notebooks, should the company choose to embrace discrete graphics on a broader array of models.
As we previously noted, the switch to the new Polaris line of GPUs is set to be a significant performance upgrade over the previous 28nm GPUs. Announced by AMD at Computex, the lower-power AMD GPUs are set to be built on Global Foundries' 14nm process. Through an agreement between multiple foundries, the process is equivalent to Samsung's own second-generation 14nm FinFET process, which is the successor of the process used for the A9 and A9X featured in the latest iPhones and iPads.
Performance of these new graphics chips from AMD is expected to be double that of their predecessors, measured on a per-watt basis. This is thanks to the large size reduction and performance gains in going from the 28nm node first seen in 2011 for graphics processors to the new 16/14nm FinFET processes. This would certainly be welcome to the Mac lineup due to the increased graphics demands of the high-resolution Retina screens featured in both the iMac and MacBook Pro computers. It is reasonable to expect that Apple would allocate roughly the same power budget as on current models, meaning the 2x performance could be seen by users in some cases.
According to earlier reports, the chips should be ready to ship in consumer products in time for the back-to-school shopping season. It is not unheard of for Apple to receive priority on new chip designs, though WWDC would be the most logical time to expect these new Macs to debut. The future of the Mac Pro is less certain, though there will certainly be suitable high-end chips from AMD manufactured on TSMC's 16nm process this year.
Thursday April 14, 2016 10:40 pm PDT by Husain Sumra
Last November it was reported that Apple was working with suppliers to "fully redesign" many of the MacBook's internal components to achieve a slimmer design. Today, DigiTimesreports one of those redesigns is a move to metal injection mold-made hinges.
Metal injection molding is a metalworking process that's used to create very small metal pieces that are typically used by Apple for the internals of products like iPhone and Apple Watch. Apple is looking to use the technology for its MacBook hinges to save space and achieve an "ultra-thin" design, according to DigiTimes.
The new hinges will be supplied by Amphenol, who claims to produce some of the thinnest sliding hinges in the world on its website. The company partners with Microsoft to produce the parts for the hinges on the Microsoft Surface 4.
While DigiTimes has a mixed track record reporting Apple's future plans, the report does corroborate an earlier report that Apple was working toward a slimmer MacBook, likely scheduled for release after WWDC 2016. However, it's unclear which MacBook lineup these reports are referring to. Apple's refreshed MacBook is expected to include faster Skylake processors and Thunderbolt 3 with USB-C.
Thursday April 7, 2016 8:27 am PDT by Chris Jenkins
Major graphics processing providers AMD and Nvidia are set to unveil new GPU products this year featuring Global Foundries' 14 nm FinFET and TSMC's 16 nm FinFET Plus processor nodes, respectively, allowing for significant improvements in graphics performance.
AMD's "Polaris" and Nvidia's "Pascal" architectures both utilize the latest FinFET silicon processes and will represent the first GPU process node change since 28 nm GPUs debuted in 2011. Both AMD and Nvidia skipped the intermediate 20 nm node, elongating the typical release cycle of consumer graphics processors.
While TSMC had traditionally provided multiple process offerings within a node, including one specifically tailored to higher power applications such as GPUs, the company found that the traditional planar geometries of its 20 nm node gave the firm less differentiation with its normal set of tweaks, rendering it a poor candidate for power hungry GPUs.
In a statement released earlier this year, AMD claimed that the new 14 nm Polaris GPUs will offer over double the performance per watt of their 28 nm predecessors. This news also confirmed AMD's use of Global Foundries' 14 nm FinFET process, rather than TSMC's 16 nm process, which Nvidia will use. While AMD confirmed the use of TSMC for its higher power product offerings, any products developed from that process node would be destined for the Mac Pro only, as Apple has traditionally used mobile GPUs for its notebook and iMac product lines.
The new FinFET process nodes promise a big performance jump for AMD's Polaris architecture
Product launches for these new GPUs are expected to occur around the summer timeframe. While Nvidia introduced its massive new Tesla P100 graphics card just this week, one rumor pegs the broader launch of the company's GeForce Pascal line around the time of Computex, which takes place from May 31 to June 4.
In addition to the new process nodes, both new architectures are expected to utilize a variety of new high-speed memories such as GDDR5x and HBM2, which promise improved memory bandwidth and memory size, in HBM2's case. AMD has already previously successfully launched a product utilizing a new 3DIC memory technology with their debut of the "Fury" line in 2015.
Though GPU rumor cycles tend to focus on desktop products, AMD's CEO stated that both desktops and laptops featuring the new Polaris GPUs are expected to launch before the back to school season. Apple has traditionally alternated between GPU offerings from both AMD and Nvidia when it comes to its product lines, with AMD owning the wins for the latest iterations of both the 27-inch iMac and MacBook Pro lines.
The MacBook Pro in particular is due for an update, and rumors have suggested new models could arrive at WWDC in June, but it is unclear whether Apple would be able to feature the upcoming GPUs within that timeframe. Apple has sometimes been very quick to incorporate the latest technology from its partners, but other times as waited quite some time before upgrading. Updates for the 27-inch iMac are less imminent, as the line was just upgraded to Intel's latest Skylake processors in October.
But those waiting patiently for a Mac refresh may not have much longer to wait, as DigiTimes today reported that Apple will begin shipping new "ultra-thin" 13-inch and 15-inch MacBooks at the end of the second quarter.
The second calendar quarter ends on June 30, meaning that new Macs could feasibly be introduced by WWDC 2016, which will likely take place between June 13-17 based on scheduling information available from the Moscone Center.
The new MacBooks will allegedly "share a design similar to the existing 12-inch MacBook" and be "thinner than [the] existing MacBook Air," which makes it difficult to infer which MacBook lineup the report is referring to.
DigiTimes has a mixed track record at reporting on Apple's upcoming product plans, but its report corroborates a previous rumor claiming Apple is preparing thinner 13" and 15" MacBook Airs with "fully redesigned" internal components. That report said the notebooks would be ready by the third quarter, which corresponds to a July-September timeframe -- possibly shortly after a WWDC announcement.
Apple currently offers the MacBook Air in 11" and 13" sizes, and it has never released a 15" MacBook Air. In fact, many have assumed the MacBook Air will be discontinued at some point as declining costs allow the MacBook to become Apple's mainstream notebook offering. A redesigned MacBook Air, possibly with a long-awaited Retina display, could be considered a bit of a surprise.
The current MacBook Pro perhaps better corresponds with the rumored 13" and 15" sizes, but whether Apple is able to fit pro-level hardware in an "ultra-thin" design similar to the lower-spec 12-inch MacBook remains to be seen. There is also the possibility that the new 13" and 15" notebooks will be MacBooks, but the notion seems questionable unless Apple discontinues the year-old 12" model.
Apple last refreshed the 13-inch MacBook Pro in March 2015, while the 15-inch model was updated in 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.
Apple launched the repair program exactly one year ago today to address select 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro models, sold between February 2011 and February 2013, that have problems with distorted video, no video, or unexpected system restarts. Customers can look up their MacBook Pro model using Apple's "Check Coverage" online tool.
Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider will continue to repair affected MacBook Pro models at no charge, and customers who already paid for an authorized repair can contact Apple to arrange reimbursement. Customers can bring their MacBook Pro to an Apple Store or AASP, or mail the notebook to a local Apple Repair Center.
MacBook Pro video issues impacted a significant number of customers, prompting a class-action lawsuit against against Apple and an online petition with over 40,000 signatures. Affected MacBook Pro models often have visual banding or malfunctions on the screen, particularly when users are watching HD videos or using CPU-intensive software like the Adobe Creative Suite or Final Cut Pro.
The issues stem from defective Nvidia and AMD GPUs that do not function correctly because of lead-free soldering that causes short circuiting and other problems, according to legal documents. Apple has since launched a similar repair program for late 2013 Mac Pro video issues, which are also related to AMD GPUs. The symptoms are nearly identical, including distorted video and system instability.
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