While many of the details about Apple’s upcoming iPhone may remain a mystery until its unveiling on Tuesday, one thing we can pretty much be certain of is that the device will pack the company’s latest dual-core A5 processor. And thanks to that chip, the fifth-generation iPhone will boast significantly faster graphics performance.
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Intel’s upcoming Ivy Bridge processor could finally bring Retina displays to our Macs, after the company announced support for ’4K displays’ last week. That’s a display with a staggering resolution of 4096×4096 pixels.
Speculation that Apple is to introduce ARM processors to the next revision of its MacBook Airs continues, as one source claims the company is internally testing the ultraportable notebooks with its A5 processor… but will we really see an A5 powered MacBook Air? I don’t think so.
Mac Pros released in early 2009 can now support six-core Xeon CPUs and faster 1,333MHz RAM thanks to a new firmware hack. By installing an EFI firmware update, users can convert their machine into a mid 2010 model Mac Pro.
Apple likes Intel’s desktop line of Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs well enough to put them in their iMacs, so it makes sense that they would want to avail themselves of Intel’s three new Core i5 and i7 mobile CPUs (codenamed Arrandale) for any forthcoming refresh of the MacBook line. But things may not be that simple.
One way the Arrandale line of processors differs from previous Intel mobile CPUs is that the chips include mandatory integrated graphics. According to the Bright Side of News, Apple’s not interested in that: even the most inexpensive Macs now contain NVIDIA GeForce 9400M GPUs, which offer far superior performance to integrated graphics solutions.
(A meaty smack of the palm on the expanse of forehead above the pineal gland, and then the hand trails downward to shield the eyes, as if from a bright light, leaving only the grim rictus of a man self-repulsed still exposed. “Oh, jeez, thanks, Apple!” the blogger says. “Now I look like an idiot!”)
In addition to offering the new processor configuration, Apple has also expanded the hard drive space, now offering up to 8TB of storage in the Mac Pro, spread evenly between four hard drive bays. And while the quad-core 3.33GHz Mac Pro will add another $1,200.00 to the price of your machine, the 8TB of hard drive space is now standard.
While they were at it, Apple’s Xserves also got a bit of a beef-up, with the hard drive options again being expanded to 6TB across three hard drive bays. They’ve also updated their build-to-order RAM options on the Xserve, offering 4GB RAM modules which double the capacity of the quad-core Xserve to 24GB and the octuple-core Xserve to 48GB. Apple also states that the X-Serves will support up to 96GB of RAM under Snow Leopard, so 8GB RAM modules should work in these machines.
Despite the rumor of a dual Intel Core i9 Mac Pro configuration making a lot of sense (my guess is we’ll still see it at some point), Apple needed to patch the Mac Pro quick if they didn’t want the highest-end Core i7 iMacs cannibalizing sales, due to the latter machine’s superior price-to-performance ratio. A slight bump to the CPU frequency is a swift and easy patch to make while Apple looks into a more drastic refresh… although it also resets the countdown timer to the next Mac Pro refresh. My guess is we’ll see the Core i9 Mac Pros sometime early next year.
For those unfamiliar with the ebb and wane of Apple’s actually pretty dependable product upgrade cycle, MacRumors‘ Apple Buyer’s Guide is a must–check resource for those looking to buy a new Mac, iPod or iPhone. With a glance, you can see how close any Apple product is to being refreshed, and if you check it now, you’ll see see that the MacBook Pro is only about a month away from getting an update.
So what will change in the next MacBook Pro? The new unibodies are only a year old, so it’s probably nothing much more drastic than a processor update, and not so coincidentally, Intel is planning to launch three new Arrandale-based, 32nm Core i5 and Core i7 mobile processors on January 3rd… just around the time MacBook Pros are historically refreshed.