Rumor: Next-Gen MacBook Pro units to feature fast solid-state drives, larger trackpads

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Date: Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011, 04:05
Category: MacBook Pro, Rumor

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A new rumor attributed to unnamed sources says the coming refresh of MacBook Pros will feature larger trackpads and boot from SSD, even on models equipped with a conventional hard disk drive.

Per Boy Genius Report, the “new laptops will contain glass trackpads that are even larger than the pads found on current-generation MacBook Pro models.”

It then adds that “next bit of information doesn’t quite make sense to us,” but describes an 8 to 16GB Solid State Drive being used as the Mac OS X startup volume even on base models, which will retain a regular hard drive as well.

Higher end models are said to use SSD exclusively, much like Apple’s existing MacBook Air line.

The advantage to using a hybrid SSD/HDD configuration, of course, is that the main benefit afforded by SSD is read speed, while its greatest drawback is expense per gigabyte of storage. SSD also has issues related to rewriting data as efficiently as conventional mechanical hard drives.

By combining both types of drives, Apple could provide rapid boot and “instant on” features currently available on the iPad and MacBook Air, while also providing large amounts of general storage for power users’ large documents.

The report also noted the new models are about a half pound (0.2 kg) lighter than existing models. It also describes five different SKUs, harmonizing with existing reports on the new models.

Kind of strange stuff but you never know.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple resets MacBook Pro ship times to 3-5 days, new models rumored to be on horizon

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Date: Monday, February 21st, 2011, 04:59
Category: MacBook Pro, Rumor

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Yes, you’d like the coolest new MacBook Pro.

And it may be just days away.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has bumped ship times for all US orders of its line of professional notebooks to three to five business days.

On Sunday, reports emerged that Apple had issued strict warnings to dealers not to open sealed pallet shipments that could arrive as early as Monday.

Further evidence that the secretive shipments could contain a significant update to Apple’s MacBook Pros came late Sunday when the company began delaying shipping times for online US orders of the notebooks from the usual 24 hour window to an estimate of three to five business days. Apple usually reserves this kind of across-the-board shipping delay for imminent new product releases.

Placeholder SKUs for new Apple-branded computers discovered Sunday in the Best Buy inventory system appeared to further corroborate the pending upgrade. Five models were listed on the electronics reseller’s Laptop Configuration tool ranging in price from US$1,199 to US$2,499.

Apple’s upgraded professional notebooks are expected to make the jump to Intel’s Sandy Bridge architecture and could also include subtle changes to the chassis design. According to one recent report, Apple may even roll out Intel’s new high-speed optical connector technology, dubbed Light Peak, with the new MacBook Pro notebooks.

Other rumors have stated that each new MacBook Pro will arrive with its very own unicorn.

This unicorn will sing your favorite show tunes, but is still learning the songs to the new Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark musical currently playing on Broadway.

But it’ll bang out a mean score from “Showboat” if you give it a chance…

Rumor: Anonymous Apple exec casts shadow on iPhone nano development, reveals other developments

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Date: Friday, February 18th, 2011, 05:02
Category: iPhone, Rumor

While various media outlets seemed confident that Apple was certain to release an iPhone nano, an anonymous source has told the New York Times that “Apple is not currently developing a smaller iPhone,” and that the company is “not planning to introduce a smaller iPhone anytime soon.” Per Engadget, the Times doesn’t outright deny the existence of such a device at any point in the story, it does quote an anonymous Apple executive as saying that it doesn’t make sense for the company to create multiple iPhone form factors at any given time, and an anonymous Apple engineer as saying that cheaper components, not a smaller size, would make for a cheaper overall price.

One thing’s for sure: either Apple’s making one, or it’s not.

In related news, the Times’ sources corroborate the idea that Apple will make MobileMe free, and say that the next full-sized iPhone is nearly complete.

iPhone 5 could feature 4″ screen, A5 processor

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Date: Tuesday, February 15th, 2011, 05:09
Category: iPhone, Rumor

The iPhone may be getting a bit bigger.

Per Taiwanese publication DigiTimes, upstream component suppliers report that Apple will expand the screen size of the fifth-generation iPhone to 4 inches in order to compete with a growing class of ‘super phones’ in the 4- to 7-inch range. By comparison, the iPhone 4 sports a 3.5-inch display with a resolution of 960 by 640 pixels.

The screen bump could also serve to push the iPhone toward the smaller end of the tablet market. “The component suppliers noted that the production lines for Apple’s next generation iPhone have begun testing, and Apple is interesting in expanding the screen size to 4-inches to support the tablet PC market as the vendor only has a 9.7-inch iPad in the market,” said the report.

If accurate, the report could dovetail with recent rumors of an “iPhone nano,” as Apple may be looking to differentiate its iPhone lineup with bigger and smaller displays. Though rumors of a smaller version of the iPhone have persisted for years, recent reports from Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal of an upcoming cheaper, smaller iPhone have lent credence to the rumors.

A second report from DigiTimes claims that Apple is hoping to outsource the production of its A4 processor and the next-generation A5 processor, which will likely utilize the ARM Cortex A9 design, to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company due to concerns over increased competition between Samsung and Apple. At this week’s Mobile World Congress, Samsung has shown a number of new products, such as the Galaxy S II smartphone and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, that will directly compete with Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

Though Apple’s A4 processor is currently exclusively produced by Samsung Electronics, Apple has tapped TSMC for help producing the A4 in the past when Samsung’s capacity was unable to meet demand for Apple’s devices. Sources indicated to DigiTimes that “the move at that time was perhaps to test TSMC’s capability.”

“According to Digitimes Research,” the report continued, “the iPad 2 will support an enhanced version of the A4 and the A5 will power the iPhone 5. TSMC will initially produce the improved A4, and could likely become the exclusive manufacturer of the A5.”

The report echoes rumors from January suggesting that the next iPhone will run atop “Apple’s new A5 CPU (a Cortex A9-based, multi-core chip).”

It’s speculation at this point but it’s still interesting.

If you have any thoughts on this, please let us know what’s on your mind in the comments.

Rumor: iPhone mini could drop internal storage, rely extensively on MobileMe streaming

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Date: Monday, February 14th, 2011, 10:50
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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It’s the rumors that keep technology interesting.

With that in mind, the iPhone mini is making the rounds with the cool cats at Cult of Mac stating that the smaller iPod smartphone combo may rely on the also rumored MobileMe cloud-based iTunes storage server for streaming content from user’s media libraries.

Access to music, video and photos on the iPhone mini “would be a mostly cloud-based iOS,” according to Cult of Mac’s anonymous sources.

The rumored changes to Apple’s MobileMe service include a new Internet-based iTunes library storage system for iPhone users. Since content would be pushed wirelessly to them, the need for large amounts of RAM for local data storage would go away.

The notion that users would be able to stream their entire iTunes library may not, however, go over well with cell service providers. Relying on 3G data connections instead of Wi-Fi networks at least some of the time would push up iPhone user’s wireless data usage dramatically, and carriers may not want to deal with the extra network traffic per the Mac Observer.

Streaming content libraries would also a problem in places where data connections aren’t available, such as many flights. Unless the iPhone mini includes at least some local storage for media, users won’t be able to listen to music or watch movies when they can’t get an Internet connection.

It’s been presumed that an iPhone mini would have at least some built-in storage so users could load apps and store their contacts and appointments on the device.

As of now, Apple has yet to offer any comment, leaving the rest of this up to speculation…

Rumor: Updated MacBook Pro units could arrive on March 1st

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Date: Monday, February 14th, 2011, 05:45
Category: MacBook Pro, Rumor

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You’re eagerly waiting for the next MacBook Pro refresh.

And it could happen on March 1st.

A report from Danish blogger Kenneth Lund has claimed that Lund has had heard from retailers in the country that a limited supply of the new MacBook Pros will be available from March 1st.

Last week, it was reported that supplies of MacBook Pros were running low in Japan, following on from January’s news that U.S. stores were also facing dwindling stocks.

It was anticipated that problems with Intel’s new Sandy Bridge processors could delay the MacBook Pro product line refresh, though if the reports about a March 1st launch are correct then it seems that any delays were minor.

Other rumors include the possibility that the new MacBook Pro notebooks could contain solid-state drives as opposed to conventional hard drives. This has yet to be confirmed and only time will tell.

Rumor: Apple looking to place Sandy Bridge processor in MacBook Air line this June

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Date: Saturday, February 12th, 2011, 06:22
Category: MacBook Air, Rumor

If you’re hankering for an upgraded processor in your MacBook Air, just wait a bit.

Per CNET, Apple is looking to replace the Core 2 Duo chip found in the current MacBook Air, a processor that is two generations behind Intel’s recently released Sandy Bridge processors. The MacBook Air was updated with a new, thinner design, flash memory drive, and an 11.6-inch model was added to the mix in an update released last fall.

In December, CNET claimed that future MacBooks from Apple with Sandy Bridge processor would not use Nvidia graphics processors in at least some models 13 inches and under. It is rumored that the smaller models will switch to Sandy Bridge-only integrated graphics, while Apple’s larger, higher-end MacBooks with screen sizes of 15 and 17 inches will allegedly rely on GPUs from AMD.

Intel began its roll-out of the Sandy Bridge next-generation processors in January, but the company quickly discovered an error in the chipset that accompanies the processor. That forced Intel to halt production of Sandy Bridge processors while it works on a fix for the 6 Series chipset code-named Cougar Point.

The error affected both desktop and mobile chips, leading to concerns that the issue could have an impact on Apple’s anticipated MacBook Pro refresh. Apple last updated its MacBook Pro notebooks in April of 2010, meaning an update for those products is likely to precede the alleged June refresh for the MacBook Air.

Intel announced this week that it has resumed shipment of chipsets for systems not affected by the Cougar Point design issue, which can lead to poor performance of devices connected to certain SATA ports. The chipmaker also said that it will meet its deadline to begin shipping dual-core Sandy Bridge hips on their previously announced launch date of February 20th.

Intel to ship dual-core Sandy Bridge processor for notebooks on February 20th, MacBook Pro version may not be far behind

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Date: Tuesday, February 8th, 2011, 06:47
Category: Processors, Rumor

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The bad news: Intel’s Sandy Bridge processor was delayed, the announcement coming in last week.

The good news: Intel’s dual-core Sandy Bridge processor, which is widely expected to power the next MacBook Pro line is finally shipping this month.

MacRumors is reporting that Intel will begin shipping its dual-core Sandy Bridge CPU chips for notebooks on February 20th. The processor is specced as using between 17 watts and 35 watts of power while running at speeds between 1.4GHz and 2.7GHz. The Dual-Core chips follow on the heels of a quad-core version launched last month.

“The first Sandy Bridge processors to ship were quad-core chips, mainly for high-end laptops,” PC World writes. “The dual-core chips will likely go into end-user and ultraportable laptops, many of which were shown at last month’s Consumer Electronics Show. Fujitsu said it plans to use dual-core Core i7 chips in its high-end ultraportable laptops.”

The dual-core chips are also likely candidates for upgrades to the existing MacBook Pro lineup, with rumors swirling about updates in the near future, the chips offering a better integrated graphics performance as well as better power usage.

One question that remains is how Intel has addressed complaints of a design flaw in early versions of the Sandy Bridge controller. MacRumors notes “the issue didn’t directly affect the CPUs, but affected SATA-II connectors found on the chipsets,” which manufacturers (including Apple) use to connect the CPU to the rest of the system. Intel previously announced they would begin shipping corrected controllers in mid-February.

Rumors: Apple to hold low-key iPad 2 release event in March, include NFC feature in upcoming iPad/iPhone 5 devices

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Date: Monday, February 7th, 2011, 03:28
Category: iPad, Rumor

Apple may be keeping its press event for the much-anticipated second-generation iPad on the succinct side during its release next month. In a two-line report published early Saturday by macotakara.jp, it’s claimed that the Cupertino-based company “seems to open a small event to introduce next generation of iPad.”

Such an event appears to be on track for March, the report added. Still, it cautioned that the device may only see an announcement during that time frame in the United States, with shipments and international availability possibly following at a later date.

Meanwhile, a related report filed Friday by iLounge appears to reinforce earlier rumors that both the new iPad and fifth-generation iPhone will include near-field communication technology, giving users the ability to have their device serve as an electronic wallet for quick wireless transactions.

More specifically, the report claims that Apple is actively developing new accessories that will communicate with the NFC radio chips inside the future iOS devices. For example, “an accessory could announce its presence and potential functions to an iPad or iPhone without the need for a Bluetooth or similar connection,” the report adds. The source of the tip further suggests “that an otherwise simple case could include a radio chip so that an inserted iPhone or iPad could go into power-saving hibernation mode automatically.”

Of all the rumors, the inclusion of NFC capabilities in the second-gen iPad appears most likely, especially given AppleInsider’s discovery last month that Apple was seeking hardware engineers familiar with radio-frequency identification (RFID) and an external report that claimed the electronics maker is actively testing NFC-enabled iPhone prototypes using hardware from NXP Semiconductor.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to release iOS 4.3 update on February 14th

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Date: Friday, February 4th, 2011, 13:11
Category: iPhone, Rumor

Ok, Valentine’s Day isn’t everyone’s favorite holiday.

In fact, almost no one likes it.

Still, there may be something good to come out of it this year.

Per MacStories.net, a source has claimed that Apple will release its iOS 4.3 update for the iPhone and iPad on Monday, February 14th, at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern.

The update is expected to bring AirPlay functionality to third-party applications and the new Personal Hotspot Wi-Fi tethering feature, in 10 days. Apple usually releases its iOS updates around 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern.

In the past, the website correctly predicted that Mac OS X 10.7 Lion would adopt various features and user interface elements from iOS, which powers the iPad and iPhone. But last November, the site also incorrectly reported that Apple would release iOS 4.3 in December with recurring application subscriptions.

Apple issued the first beta of iOS 4.3 to developers in mid-January. It introduced the new Personal Hotspot tethering feature for iPhone, as well as new multi-touch gestures on the iPad for quickly multitasking and accessing the home screen.

However, Apple later informed developers that the new multi-touch gestures in the iOS beta are just a preview for developers to test compatibility with their applications. The Cupertino, Calif., company indicated that the functionality will be included with a later update to iOS.

So far, Apple has released a total of three betas of iOS 4.3 to developers, with the most recent one issued this week. Other reports have speculated that iOS 4.3 could be released within two weeks.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

And if this Valentine’s Day’s choices come down to buying your significant other something nifty to express how you feel and clicking the “Check for Update” button in your iTunes device list menu, play it safe and buy her something nice.