The good news is that the new 2011 MacBook Pro notebooks are out and they are generally considered speedy and awesome.
The bad news is that Apple may have been aware for some time of the problem of new MacBook Pros crashing under heavy loads. According PC Pro magazine, Apple appears to have deliberately turned off Turbo Boost for the top-end 13″ model (with a dual-core 2.7 GHz Intel Core i7-2620M processor) when running Windows under Boot Camp.
PC Pro originally thought that Turbo Boost had been disabled under OS X as well, but then tests performed by AnandTech showed that the feature was only disabled under Windows. “We first noticed a problem when the benchmarks finished five full runs and the results popped up on screen: the times taken to complete several of the most intensive tests were rising with each run” says PC Pro. “This would suggest an overheating problem, so we ran a temperature monitor to find out how hot this Sandy Bridge CPU was getting.”
In fact, the CPU was reaching around 93°C — almost 200°F. “93°C is not necessarily too high for a modern CPU, but it is the root cause of the bigger performance problem.” The magazine went on to state that it was sure the processor isn’t turning off Turbo Boost dynamically, since it didn’t work at all during their week of testing no matter what the CPU temperature was. Also, the cheaper model with the i5 processor did use Turbo Boost, as did the i7 model under OS X.
After measuring the underside temperature of the top-end model at 60°C — 140°F — they conclude that it might actually be a better deal to buy the cheaper 13-inch MacBook Pro. If Turbo Boost is disabled on the higher model, the lower-end version will actually run Windows faster than the more expensive MacBook Pro.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.
It’s not as specific a problem as you might like but it’s getting some attention.
Per MacRumors, a lengthy discussion thread on Apple’s discussion forum reveals an issue that some new 2011 MacBook Pro owners have been having with their new machines. A MacRumors discussion thread also mirrors some of the complaints.
Forum user lithast describes his situation:
“Received a new 15″ 2.2/6750M MBP last week and have been having some issues with the machine locking up under load.
For example if I boot up a VM using Fusion the temperature will spike up above 90 degrees and the machine will lock up most of the time. The machine appears locked (cannot move the mouse at all and keyboard is unresponsive). I can SSH into the machine still and it still is running however. This is one example but it will freeze under a number of circumstances where the CPU/GPU load is very high (rendering, DJ Software, compiling so far in my travels).”
There’s been speculation that the issue is related to the graphics driver or power management, and it seems the issue is reliably reproducible. A wiki has been organized to document the issue. Apple is reportedly aware of the issue, but no reliable solution has been provided.
If you’ve seen this on your end, please let us know.
As nifty as the 2011 MacBook Pro notebooks are, there may be some debugging that needs to be done.
Per AppleInsider, a number of early 2011 MacBook Pro owners report being unable to connect devices or maintain connections through iTunes Home Sharing.
A support thread in Apple’s Discussion forums has received over 200 posts from owners of Apple’s latest MacBook Pros reporting issues with iTunes Home Sharing. Several readers have also contacted AppleInsider regarding the issue.
“This is turning out to be a bigger problem than I thought with many people giving up and returning their new MBP 2011 due to this conflict. Apple has yet to find a fix but it has been widely documented via phone through AppleCare and through many Apple retail stores,” wrote one reader.
According to forum user ‘themacbear,’ the new MacBook Pro was able to stream to a second-generation Apple TV at first, but then the Apple TV reported being unable to connect or would display the error message “There are no movies in this library.”
In March, Apple released iOS 4.3 with new Home Sharing features. The Mac maker also issued iTunes 10.2 and then iTunes 10.2.1 to add compatibility with iOS 4.3 and Home Sharing. In spite of the updates, a number of users continue to report being unable to connect or maintain connections with iOS devices on their early 2011 MacBook Pros.
Recent improvements to the Home Sharing feature expand iTunes library sharing from just between Macs, PCs and Apple TVs to include mobile devices such as iPods, iPhones and iPads. When working properly, Home Sharing in iOS 4.3 allows an unlimited number of iOS devices to access content over Wi-Fi.
Though early 2011 MacBook Pros appear to be having the most trouble with Home Sharing, owners of older machines have also reported problems with the feature in a support thread for Home Sharing in iOS 4.3 that has reached 60 posts.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know.
Apple’s first build-to-order units for its 2011 MacBook Pro notebooks began shipping, the company promising delivery by next Thursday.
Per AppleInsider, Apple began dispatching these shipments from its Far Eastern manufacturing facilities to Fed-Ex’s Shanghai, China-based shipping hub where they’ll be mailed via air fright this weekend to the courier’s stateside hubs for delivery to customers early next week.
Apple is currently promising delivery by Thursday the 3rd through its own order status system, while FedEx is a bit more ambitious, promising delivery by 10:30 am local time on Wednesday the 2nd for this particular order.
It should be noted that the custom configured MacBook Pro shown in the order below was shipped via Apple’s US$18 2-3 day shipping method, as opposed to its standard free shipping method. This particular notebook was upgraded with a 256GB SSD drive and 8GB of memory.
Meanwhile, several of Apple’s larger authorized resellers are already reflecting stock of the company’s five standard retail configurations for the MacBook Pro. And a handful are offering considerable early discounts of up to US$150 on the new models.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.
It’s been all of a day since the release of Apple’s new Thunderbolt-equipped MacBook Pro noteboooks, but already the cool cats at iFixit have performed a full teardown of the new models.
“We believe the chip’s footprint is a testament to the potential of this port,” they said.
iFixit ranked the new 2011 MacBook Pro a 7 out of 10 on its reparability scale. It noted that the new version allows for the battery to be disconnected without removing it from the laptop.
The addition of a “spudger” makes disconnecting the battery easier.
“It’s a nice design choice since you *should* remove all power before performing any repairs,” they said. “The unibody design also allows for easy access to most of the other components, so it won’t be terribly hard to replace things on the machine. The only tricky repair is LCD replacement, which could easily result in shattering the front glass panel.”
Other noteworthy details from the teardown:
– You can chain up to six Thunderbolt devices. In comparison, FireWire supports 63 devices and USB supports up to 127 devices.
– The lower case is secured by Phillips #00 screws, while the battery is secured by Tri-Wing screws, just like the predecessor. There were no Pentalobe screws inside or outside.
– The new MacBook Pro has the same 77.5 watt-hour battery as the earlier model, but Apple has decreased their run-time estimate from 8-9 hours to 7 hours, likely due to more stringent testing.
– The Thunderbolt controller is the fourth-largest chip in the new MacBook Pro.
– iFixit said they’re concerned about Apple’s quality control, as they found a stripped screw holding the subwoofer enclosure in place, and an unlocked ZIF socket connecting the IR sensor.
– RAM has been upgraded to PC3-10600. That’s the same RAM used in the 2010 revision of the 21.5″ and 27″ iMacs, but faster than earlier MacBook Pros.
– The wireless card received a make-over and now includes four antennas instead of three. Wireless connectivity is provided by a Broadcom BCM4331 “wireless solution.”
– The wireless card bracket is aluminum, rather than the plastic found in earlier MacBook Pro revisions. The change was likely made for thermal reasons, as a pink thermal pad is visible and used to transfer heat from the Broadcom chip to the aluminum bracket.
The logic board features four primary chips:
– Intel i7 Quad-Core Processor
– AMD Radeon HD 6490M GPU
– Intel BD82HM65 Platform Controller Hub
– Intel L051NB32 EFL (which seems to be the Thunderbolt port controller)
The teardown uncovered a great deal of thermal paste on the CPU and GPU when the main heat sink was removed. The excess paste may cause overheating issues down the road, iFixit said.
The new 15-inch MacBook Pro is still designated Model A1286. Apple has been using that same model number since October 2008.
In addition to introducing new MacBook Pro notebooks, a new unsubstantiated rumor claims Apple this week may also release an updated iMac all-in-one desktop with a modified screen size.
Per DigiTimes, Apple may launch its new iMac desktop alongside new MacBook Pro models. The report said Apple “may make some changes over the screen size to allow panel cutting to reach its optimization.”
While a flurry of reports have surrounded the anticipated MacBook Pro update, little has been said about an iMac update. In fact, the last indication of an iMac refresh came from the same publication in December 2010, when it said that Apple could release its new iMac in the first half of 2011. That report said the new iMac would have a “new panel size and price point for the mainstream market.”
Apple’s iMac line of desktops were last updated in July 2010 with Intel’s Core i3, i5 and i7 processors and ATI Radeon graphics. The current lineup has a starting price of US$1,199.
In the article, DigiTimes added even more support to the belief that new MacBook Pros will launch before the end of February, likely this Thursday. The publication said that most IT malls in Taiwan do not have any MacBook Pro inventory in stock, but added that volume shipments of the new notebooks will not pick up “significantly” until March.
The MacBook Pro lineup is even more due for an update than the iMac, as Apple’s high-end notebooks have not seen an update since April 2010. The systems were updated to what were then Intel’s latest high-end Core i7, Core i5 and Core 2 Duo mobile processors.
You’ve been hankering for a white iPhone and it just might be on its way.
Per Boy Genius Report, the white iPhone has been sighted in AT&T’s online systems, but there is still no indication when the phone will be available.
In a recent sighting, listings appeared for a white iPhone 4 16GB model and a 32GB model. AT&T also has 32GB and 16GB models of the iPhone 3GS, as well as a 16GB white iPhone 3G.
Signs at Apple’s retail stores in December listed the white iPhone as becoming “available spring 2011.”
Apple has never given a specific reason for the delay of the white iPhone 4, other than it has “proven more challenging to manufacture than expected.”
Originally scheduled to be released shortly after the black iPhone, the white iPhone 4 delayed in late July until “later this year,” and again in October until spring 2011.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.
Wireless carrier Vodafone Germany was the source of minor attention on Monday with a spotting of white iPhone 4 listings in its inventory system. Per Engadget, entries for both the 16GB and 32GB versions of a “weiß” (“weiss,” or white) version showed up alongside the usual black (“schwarz”) versions. The source who leaked the images claimed these weren’t just placeholders and would have a launch “soon.”
The timing should be treated with caution as Apple has officially delayed the alternate color scheme until spring 2011. A spring debut even in March could have it on sale for three months or less before it was replaced with the iPhone 5. A white iPhone 4 isn’t thought likely to co-exist with the iPhone 5 as Apple has never had more than one previous-generation iPhone on sale at a time.
Unofficial reasons for the virtual cancellation of the white iPhone 4 have been broad. Most have pinned it on inconsistent coloring for the iPhone’s glass. In one circumstance, it was claimed that the white hue combined with the iPhone 4’s design interfered with the camera, but this hasn’t been proven so far.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve been hankering for a white iPhone 4 since June, I’m not sure what to say.
It’s the second generations of a device where things get really interesting.
Per Electronista, Apple is looking to ship three separate versions of the next iPad and may ship earlier than expected, part suppliers said on Tuesday. The tablet should still have a pure Wi-Fi version but will serve 3G with both a regular HSPA version and an EVDO model for carriers like Verizon. The 3G versions have been unusually popular, at 60 to 65% of shipments and the extra wireless support would help fill demand.
The 3G push is corroborated by a slew of subsidized carrier plans that have been rolled out in recent months. Many cut the price of the iPad by half or less on a contract, and in some cases give the unit away for free.
Along with the known design change and extra wireless support, Apple is also reportedly taking steps to draw in Kindle buyers with changes to the screen. The display would get both an improved oleophobic (oil-resistant) screen to further reduce smudging as well as a more glare-resistant treatment to make it more suitable to the outdoors. A clue as to the anti-glare panel may have come with the new MacBook Air, whose display is still glossy but noticeably less reflective than on earlier MacBooks.
Apple might also be eager to advance the ship date beyond the original April target. Production shipments would start heading out as soon as late January, not the previously suggested February, and would see a small initial batch of 500,000 to 530,000 units arrive, 30% of which would be Wi-Fi, 40% HSPA and 30% EVDO. Additional shipments would continue right up to the release date, which could now include a March release date if Apple doesn’t have to push it back to a previously cited April target.
The release would be ambitious and could see Apple deliver as many as 40 million iPads in 2011, possibly taking hold of as much as 65% to 75% of the market worldwide. Such a ratio would be higher than expected by analysts, as many of them expect Android 3.0 to give Google’s partners a much stronger platform.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available