Workers are already getting ready for WWDC 2012, and so are we.
Today at 10AM Pacific, Tim Cook will take the stage at the Moscone Center in San Francisco for Apple’s annual WWDC keynote, and if the rumor mill is to be believed, he’ll be hard pressed to fit everything Cupertino is ready to announce into its 90 minute presentation. We’re looking at massive upgrades to the entire Mac line, the official unveiling of iOS 6, loads of new apps, and maybe possibly even our first glimpse of the iPhone 5 and Apple HDTV.
Here’s what we think Apple will (and won’t) announce today, ranked in order of likelihood.
Back to black: your next MacBook could be made of Liquidmetal
Yesterday, we heard an analyst report suggesting that Apple would effectively kill off the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air lines and merge then into a single, streamlined device known only as the MacBook.
It was an interesting report, but analysts say a lot of things, including sometimes when they are at the bottom of a barrel of bourbon. But now Mactrast is saying that their own unproven source is echoing reports of a MacBook Pro/MacBook Air hybrid… boasting USB 3.0 support and a sexy, lightweight Liquidmetal chassis.
This will be the chip that features in your next Mac.
Just as expected, Intel launched its first crop of quad-core Ivy Bridge processors today. This is the chip that will replace the company’s Sandy Bridge CPUs in Apple’s next-generation of Macs. They’re the world’s first processors to use a 22-nanometer manufacturing process and feature Intel’s “Tri-Gate” 3D transistor technology.
Apple’s new Thunderbolt ports are already the fastest connection ports on the market, but if Intel has their way they’ll be even faster in the near future. In order to boost the performance of Thunderbolt, Intel is working to support PCI-Express 3.0 protocols which will significantly boost data transfer rates.
Apple first announced its incredible new Thunderbolt interface technology way back in February of 2011. Combining PCI Express and DisplayPort technology into a serial data interface, Thunderbolt allows for up to 20Gbit/s transfer rates, as well as the ability to daisy chain multiple devices, all in a tiny form factor that can fit even in the MacBook Air’s slim housing.
As usual, with Thunderbolt, Apple was at least a year ahead of the rest of the industry… and that’s not hyperbole. Only now are Acer, Asus and Lenovo getting ready to put Thunderbolt in their ultrabook offerings.
Seagate’s new, largest-in-the-world GoFlex Desk external hard drive ($250) weighs in at a strapping four terabytes. I know, that’s only one terabyte more than their next biggest desktop drive; but that’s enough storage space for 30.3 million more press images like the ones above; 833,333 more GoFlex user guides; or 2,272 more videos of me trying to duct tape some gadget to my forehead in a hilariously misguided attempt to gain interesting yet incredibly useless data about something or other.
Apple is working on a new dock connector for its devices that will boast high-speed connections including USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt, according to a new patent published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday. Entitled “Reduced Size Multi-Pin Male Plug Connector,” the patent reveals a smaller 30-pin dock connector that will also feature a dual-lane DisplayPort.
The new MacBook Pros are due on Thursday according to pervasive Internet scuttlebutt, and at the very least, a jump to Intel’s new Sandy Bridge architecture is a sure thing… but another state-of-the-art Intel technology might be coming to them as well, with Mactrast reporting that the February 24th MBP refresh might include the adoption of Intel’s Light Peak technology.
Apple’s not ready to throw their hat into the USB 3.0 ring just yet. As Steve Jobs made abundantly clear in an email last week, Cupertino’s doesn’t see USB 3.0 taking off, at least until Intel starts officially supporting it… and evidence suggests that Apple might avoid USB 3.0 entirely in favor of Light Peak.
But what if you want USB 3.0 on your Mac now? Well, Apple’s not serving up official drivers yet, but LaCie’s stepping up to fill the void: they’ve just announced USB 3.0 drivers for their line of solutions.
To get USB 3.0 on your Mac, first you’ll need to buy one of LaCie’s cards: either a $49.99 USB 3.0 PCI Express Card or the $59.99 USB 3.0 ExpressCard/34, both of which will bring a couple of USB 3.0 (and backwards compatible USB 2.0) ports to your Mac Pro or MacBook. Then install the free driver and you’re ready to pick yourself up one of those blindingly flash USB 3.0 external drives that are all the rage right now.
Not a bad solution for Mac Pros, but ExpressCards can be fairly irritating to have hanging out of a MacBook, and obviously this won’t help you if you’ve got a MacBook Air, Mac mini or iMac. Still, if you’re committed to being on the cutting edge, LaCie’s happy to take your cash and make it happen.
If you’re expecting an imminent refresh of Apple’s MacBook, Mac Pro and iMac lines supporting the blistering fast USB 3.0 standard, don’t hold your breath: Steve Jobs says they don’t care about USB 3.0 right now.