Apple releases updated MacBook Pro line, includes Sandy Bridge, Light Peak/”Thunderbolt”, FaceTime HD technologies

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, February 24th, 2011, 09:08
Category: MacBook Pro, News

Sometimes the rumor mill can be pretty accurate.

On Thursday, Apple released a new refresh of the MacBook Pro notebook, adding new dual-core and quad-core (a first for Apple’s notebooks) Intel processors, 3x faster graphics in the 15- and 17-inch models, ultrafast Thunderbolt (i.e., Light Peak) I/O and a FaceTime HD camera.

Per Mac|Life, the line includes the upgrade to Intel’s latest Sandy Bridge processors, including quad-core on certain 15- and 17-inch models that use the 2.2GHz Quad Core 2720QM and 2.0GHz Quad Core 2630QM CPUs. These processors also include Intel’s Turbo Boost 2.0 technology, so even apps that don’t take advantage of four cores will still see a boost in speed.

Intel’s Light Peak has been included in the new lineup under the new new “Thunderbolt” monicker and using the Mini DisplayPort port. The port technology is anticipated to negate the need for USB 3.0 on computers that implement it, capable of 10 gigabits per second I/O, which is double the throughput of the current USB 3.0 spec.

Graphics performance also gets a boost with the new models, with an integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 processor now standard on all MacBook Pro models, which powers the new FaceTime HD camera capable of up to 720p video, as well as extending playback time for DVDs and iTunes movies. The 15- and 17-inch models get an extra boost by including high-performance AMD Radeon graphics processors for up to three times the performance of previous models:

-17″ 1920×1200 Display. 2.2Ghz Quad i7. 4GB RAM. 750GB HD. AMD 6750M 1GB. US$2,499

-15″ 1440×900 (1680 option) Display. 2.2GHz Quad i7. 750GB HD. AMD 6750M 1GB. US$2,199.

-15″ 1440×900 (1680 option) Display. 2.0GHz Quad i7. 4GB RAM. 500GB HD. AMD 6490M
256MB. US$1,799

-13″ 1280×800 Display. 2.7GHz Dual i5. 4GB RAM. 500GB HD. Intel HD Graphics. US$1,499

-13″ 1280×800 Display. 2.3GHz Dual i5. 4GB RAM. 320GB HD. Intel HD Graphics. US$1,199

As always, here’s the Apple Store link and let us know what you think in the comments.

Leaked photo surfaces of purported 15″ next-gen MacBook Pro specs

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, February 24th, 2011, 04:12
Category: MacBook Pro, Pictures, Rumor

el17.jpg

In the final days before the anticipated launch of the refreshed MacBook Pro notebooks, the rumors are streaming in while a new leaked photo offers some interesting possibilities.

Per French Apple site Mac4Ever, a photo has surfaced of what appears to be a 15-inch MacBook Pro box. The site also claimed to have obtained several pictures of the 13-inch earlier on Wednesday. Though the report asserts that the photo is “genuine” with “confirmation,” no sources can currently make any claims as to the authenticity.

The site was unable to verify exactly which model the box was for, but asserts that it is “without doubt the entry or mid-range,” because the 3D card has just 256MB of RAM.

According to the photo, Apple’s next-generation 15-inch MacBook Pro has:
- An Intel Core 2.0 GHz i7 quad-core processor with a 6MB cache

- 4GB of RAM at 1333 MHz

- 500GB hard drive

- 15.4-inch screen with 1440×900 resolution

- Intel HD Graphics 3000

- AMD Radeon HD 6490M GPU with 256MB of memory

- FaceTime HD camera

- 8x SuperDrive

- Thunderbolt and Mini DisplayPort

- SDXC slot, FireWire 800 port and two USB 2.0 ports

- Audio and Ethernet ports

- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

- 2.54 kg in weight

Mac4Ever has a mixed track record with predicting Apple products. In July of last year, the site incorrectly claimed that Apple would release a 64-bit version of iLife ’11 with a ‘mystery application.’ In September, the site correctly predicted that Apple was working on a FaceTime for Mac application, though a rumored FaceTime for Windows has yet to materialize.

The fact that the Apple Store went down early Thursday could provide further evidence that Apple plans to release a new product today.

Apple prepping Yerba Buena for March 2 press event, updated iPad expected

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, February 24th, 2011, 04:51
Category: iPad, News

Following yesterday’s announcement of a March 2nd media event where Apple is expected to unveil the next iPad, the company has begun posting promotional signage at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

Per MacNN, photos taken at the site show a large Apple logo surrounded by numerous colorful dots.

Invitations to the March 2 event, which contained a calendar date for March 2 being peeled away to reveal an iPad, went out to members of the media earlier this week, confirming earlier reports that had revealed the date.

Apple unveiled the original iPad at the Yerba Buena Center over a year ago. The venue has also hosted a number of other Apple product announcements over the years.

It is widely believed that the next iPad will feature at least one FaceTime capable camera, though several reports have suggested that the device will have both a front- and rear-facing camera.

The touchscreen tablet will also likely have an improved anti-reflection display and will be thinner and lighter. A reliable source has stated that the device will feature an upgraded dual-core SGX543 graphics processor from Imagination Technologies. Apple is also expected to increase the RAM and include a faster CPU on the device.

Customers hoping for a major overhaul of the device next week, however, may be in for disappointment, as reports have surfaced that the upgrade will more closely resemble a version 1.5 upgrade than a full redesign. Earlier this month, speculation arose that Apple is planning a second iPad update for the fourth quarter of this year.

An unverified report on Wednesday suggested that Apple’s initial ambitions for the March 2 iPad refresh had been deferred to an update later this year, with the models set to be released next week serving as an interim solution.

Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has stated that a second update to the iPad will include a double-resolution display, which had originally been rumored to as an addition to the second-generation iPad. Production bottlenecks and unfeasible costs are likely the cause of the rumored delay.