Wednesday March 25, 2015 10:02 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
The recently refreshed 2015 MacBook Air can drive 4K external displays at a refresh rate of 60Hz, as confirmed by Ars Technica. The report claims that Intel's new Broadwell processors with integrated Intel HD Graphics 6000 support 4K output at 60Hz using a DisplayPort 1.2 cable, whereas previous-generation notebooks with Haswell processors were limited to lower resolutions at 30Hz.
Apple's tech specs page for the new MacBook Air lists the notebook as capable of supporting one external display at up to 2,560×1,600 pixels, which clearly is not the case. Apple may be electing not to advertise 4K support for the new MacBook Air on purpose, however, as performance can still be somewhat laggy or jerky and the company has a shortlist of supported displays and configurations.
"Given that the Air is using one of Intel’s integrated GPUs, general OS X user interface performance isn’t too bad while driving the Air’s internal display alongside the 4K display. Dropped frames are clearly visible when entering into Full Screen mode or using Mission Control, and of course you’ll never want to try playing games or doing heavy 3D work at native resolution. But things are more than smooth enough for desktop use."
The new Thunderbolt 2 port included on the refreshed MacBook Air and MacBook Pro is compatible with the DisplayPort 1.2 spec, meaning that Single-Stream Transport is possible using one cable. Meanwhile, 4K over HDMI remains restricted to a 24Hz refresh rate due to the limitations of the current 1.4 spec. Multi-Stream Transport should also be possible using DisplayPort 1.2, although the number of displays will be limited and performance will likely be impacted.
Update: Apple has now updated its tech specs page for the new MacBook Air to note that it supports external displays up to 3840 by 2160.
Now that Apple's "Spring Forward" media event has wrapped up, the company has posted a full video of the event on its website, which viewers can watch at their leisure.
During the event, Apple shared several product videos, which it has now uploaded to YouTube. There are dedicated videos on the new MacBook, each of the Apple Watch models, the new West Lake, China Apple Store, and more. A full list of videos is below.
MacBook Air and 13" Retina MacBook Pro shipping times have slipped on the Apple Online Store from "in stock" to "1 business day" ahead of Apple's upcoming "Spring Forward" media event on Monday. Earlier this week, we reported that a MacBook Air refresh with the latest Intel Broadwell processors and Intel HD 6000 graphics appears imminent, and it is plausible that Apple also updates the MacBook Pro with similar hardware.
The shipping dates have slipped across North America, with the Apple Online Store in the United States, Canada and Mexico showing the longer "1 business day" estimate. A spot check of the United Kingdom and Australia online storefronts still shows regular shipping times. In-store availability of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro in the also appears unaffected in the United States based on Apple Stores in New York and California.
Intel's Broadwell processors are available for all MacBook Air models and the 13-inch MacBook Pro, although more powerful chips for the 15-inch MacBook Pro are not expected until later this year. Nevertheless, Apple may choose to focus its March 9 media event solely on the Apple Watch and could hold off on refreshing its MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lineups until a later date.
Thursday February 19, 2015 1:44 pm PST by Juli Clover
Apple has launched a repair program to fix MacBook Pro machines sold between February 2011 and February 2013 that have problems with distorted video, no video, or unexpected system restarts.
As of February 20 in the United States and Canada (February 27 in other countries), users with affected machines will be able to visit an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider to receive repairs for their MacBook Pros at no charge. Customers will be able to bring their MacBook Pro to an Apple Store or service provider or send it in via mail for repairs.
An affected MacBook Pro may display one or more of the following symptoms:
-Distorted or scrambled video on the computer screen
-No video on the computer screen (or external display) even though the computer is on
-Computer restarts unexpectedly
Affected products include 15 and 17-inch MacBook Pro models manufactured in 2011 and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro models manufactured between Mid 2012 and Early 2013. Users can see whether their computers are affected by using the "Check Your Coverage" tool on Apple's site.
Apple is contacting customers who already paid to have their machines repaired either through Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider to arrange a reimbursement. The company asks customers who paid for a repair for the issue and did not receive an email to contact Apple.
Apple will provide repairs until February 27, 2016, or three years from the MacBook's original date of sale, depending on which coverage period is longer.
Some early and late-2011 MacBook Pro owners with discrete graphics cards have been experiencing GPU failures and crashes for years now, causing screen glitches and image distortion, among other problems.
The lawsuit asked that Apple acknowledge that an issue exists and repair affected machines, which the company appears to be prepared to do with the launch of today’s repair program covering both repairs and reimbursements for repairs already made. It is unclear how the new program will affect the class-action lawsuit brought against Apple by 2011 MacBook Pro owners.
Friday January 9, 2015 6:19 am PST by Kelly Hodgkins
U.S. District Judge William Alsup this week dismissed a lawsuit filed against Apple over allegedly defective Apple notebooks, reports Reuters. Filed on behalf of Uriel Marcus and Benedict Verceles with class action status, the suit accused Apple of deliberately selling notebooks with logic boards the company knew were faulty.
The plaintiffs claim Apple in May 2010 stated selling defective MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air notebooks with logic boards that failed within two years. Apple was accused of misrepresenting the faulty notebooks by advertising them as "state of the art" and the "most advanced" notebooks on the market. According to the suit, Tim Cook allegedly was made aware of the logic board issue in 2011 but did nothing to remedy the issue.
In his dismissal of the suit, Alsup said the plaintiffs failed to show that Apple's notebooks were of a substandard quality, noting that both plaintiffs were able to use their computers for a reasonable amount of time.
"Plaintiffs have failed to allege that Apple's logic boards were unfit for their ordinary purposes or lacked a minimal level of quality," Alsup wrote. "Both plaintiffs were able to adequately use their computers for approximately 18 months and two years, respectively."
Alsup also refuted the plaintiffs' claim that Apple misrepresented its products. Following this dismissal, the plaintiffs have until January 22 to amend their lawsuit.
Apple is facing another MacBook-related lawsuit that accuses the company of selling MacBook Pro models with defective graphics cards. This second suit is the result of a growing number of consumer complaints citing screen glitches, GPU failures, and system crashes in Apple's 2011 line of MacBook Pro notebooks.
Tuesday October 28, 2014 10:36 am PDT by Eric Slivka
Back in January, we highlighted graphics issues being experienced by a number of owners of 2011 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro models, with many users needing to pay for (sometimes multiple) expensive logic board replacements due to the issue. The apparent widespread nature of the issue has led to claims that it is a manufacturing defect that should be covered by Apple, with a change.org petition seeking relief from Apple now exceeding 20,000 signatures and affected users organizing in a Facebook group of over 5,000 members.
We noted in August that law firm Whitfield Bryson & Mason LLP had begun researching the issue, soliciting feedback from affected users to determine whether a class action lawsuit against Apple might be warranted. The firm apparently found sufficient reason to proceed as it has announced today that it has indeed filed suit against Apple on behalf of affected consumers.
Our firm recently filed a class-action lawsuit in a California federal court against Apple, Inc. on behalf of residents in the States of California and Florida who purchased 2011 MacBook Pro Laptops with AMD GPUs who experienced graphical distortions and system failures.
The firm is continuing to solicit feedback from affected users and is considering filing actions in other jurisdictions around the country.
The lawsuit lays out the plaintiffs' argument that the issues stem from hardware defects related to the lead-free solder used on the AMD graphics chips in the 2011 MacBook Pro models.
When the lead-free solder cracks it degrades the data flow between the GPU and the logic board. A small crack can cause the laptop’s graphics to become distorted on occasion. But as cracks in the lead-free solder propagate over time, the graphics issues worsen and system stability decreases, until eventually the computer is completely unusable. This defect related to the lead-free solder connecting the GPU to the logic board (the “Graphics Defect”) limits all computers at the point of sale forward from performing as advertised and warranted.
The suit goes on to note that Apple's only solution offered for the issue is complete logic board replacement, but that the remedy is ineffective as replacement parts use the same solder and fail in the same way, sometimes within days. Apple has also in many cases charged consumers for the repairs and has refused requests to reimburse consumers for repairs paid for out of pocket.
Drawing parallels to similar graphics issues in the 2008 MacBook Pro that ultimately resulted in a recall by Apple, the plaintiffs in this case request that Apple acknowledge a defect in the 2011 MacBook Pro models, notify owners of the issue, bear the costs of inspection of affected machines, and pay the full costs of repairs and damages. The suit also requests that users who have paid out of pocket for repairs be reimbursed for their expenses.
Tuesday October 14, 2014 9:22 pm PDT by Husain Sumra
Just about a day before Apple's October 16 media event, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a new report, saying that he expects supplies of iPad Air 2s to be constrained. His report also suggests that the 27-inch Retina Display iMac will have shipments begin before the end of the year and reiterates that the new iPad minis won't be a significant upgrade.
Of the new products, we think the market will be more interested in iPad Air 2. However, as the poor yield rate of anti-reflective coating cover lens has delayed mass production, we estimate 2014 shipments of iPad Air 2 of 7- 9mn units, lower than the 12mn units of the then-new iPad Air shipments in 2013. We thus expect iPad Air 2 to contribute less to the supply chain than iPad Air did last year. We also don’t expect the event to boost supply chain shares much.
Kuo goes on to once again suggest that a significant update to the iPad mini isn't likely due to the iPad Air's larger "contribution to Apple's sales and earnings" and that iPad mini is seeing limited development resources because Apple is working on a brand-new 12.9-inch iPad.
The 27-inch Retina Display iMac is likely to begin shipments before the end of 2014, with the 21-inch Retina Display arriving sometime in the second half of 2015. The delay between the two models, Kuo suggests, is because of how difficult it is to develop two different sized high resolution panels at the same time.
Finally, Kuo corroborates reports that new MacBook models will not make an appearance at the October 16 event as Apple is waiting on Intel's Broadwell chips before significantly upgrading its laptop line. This includes the rumored 12-inch MacBook Air.
Apple is holding its press event this Thursday, October 16 at 10:00 AM PT on its Cupertino campus. Besides new iPads and iMacs, Apple is also expected to announce the public launch date for OS X Yosemite. MacRumors will provide live coverage of the event.
Thursday August 21, 2014 8:51 am PDT by Eric Slivka
Back in January, we profiled growing concerns from owners of 2011 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro models over failing graphics chips and system crashes. While Apple has assisted some customers with logic board replacements, the issues have been known to reoccur after servicing and some users have been faced with expensive repair bills to address the problem.
With a Facebook group exceeding 2,200 members and a change.org petition requesting a more substantial response from Apple having surpassed 10,000 signatures, the issue appears to be a fairly widespread one, and now lawyers are getting involved in the situation.
Attorneys from Washington, DC-based Whitfield Bryson & Mason LLP have addressed the Facebook group, launching a survey to gather information from affected MacBook Pro owners as the firm considers a possible class action lawsuit.
Alerted to the pervasive failures concerning the 2011 MBP GPU’s, we commenced an investigation leading us to your community.
Your posts are a great source of information, but to determine if any legal claims may exist, we need your help. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey below.
The firm touts its experience with lawsuits against other technology companies including topics such as Google Buzz privacy issues, Lenovo IdeaPad hardware problems, and more. While it is not certain that a class action suit will be filed against Apple, it's clear the issue is a substantial one.
The discrete graphics chips used in the affected machines are from AMD, and Apple previously launched a replacement program for AMD graphics cards used in 27-inch iMacs from a similar time period. While the graphics chips used in the two machines are different, the iMac repair program indicates that Apple would be willing to launch a similar program for the MacBook Pro if it is able to diagnose the issue and be convinced the problem requires such a program. Typically such programs provide for free repairs and reimbursement for those who had previously paid for repairs to fix the issue.
Following this morning's release of Retina MacBook Pros with improved Haswell processors, OWC has procured both the entry-level 13-inch and and the entry-level 15-inch 2014 Retina MacBook Pro and provided a gallery of unboxing photos featuring the new devices.
As expected, the packaging on the updated versions is the same as previous-generation Retina MacBook Pros. The site did a quick teardown as well, revealing the internals of the new machines, which also appear unchanged.
Internal view of the mid-2014 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro
OWC also conducted some speed tests on the solid state drives of the two machines, testing the 128 GB drive of the entry-level 13-inch version and the 256 GB drive of the entry-level 15-inch model using QuickBench 4.0.
With the standard QuickBench 4.0 test, the 15-inch machine (equipped with a Samsung SSD) saw top random read/write speeds of 524/567 MB/s, and top sequential read/write speeds of 584/555 MB/s. Large tests saw read/write speeds of 741/714 MB/s.
The 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, meanwhile, saw top random read/write speeds of 438/310 MB/s and top sequential read/write speeds of 593/547 MB/s with its Marvell-controlled SanDisk SSD using the standard test. Large tests saw read/write speeds of 723/374 MB/s.
Launched earlier today, the new Retina MacBook Pros feature upgraded Haswell processors, more standard RAM for entry-level machines (8 GB for the 13-inch model, 16 GB for the 15-inch model) and a $100 price cut for the high-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro. The refreshed Retina MacBook Pros are available at Apple retail stores and in its online store.
Sunday July 27, 2014 12:16 pm PDT by Richard Padilla
Apple may be planning to launch a slightly refreshed line of 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros complete with faster Haswell processors and 16GB of RAM standard, according to a photo said to have come from the company's Chongqing, China store (via BBS Feng, Google Translate).
The purported pricing chart shows two standard configurations priced at 14,288 yuan and 18,688 yuan, which is the same as Apple's current pricing for its 15-inch notebook line in China. If real, this pricing chart would indicate that Apple would keep its current pricing instead of offering each new model for less as done for the MacBook Air earlier this year.
The first configuration comes with a faster Intel Core i7 2.2 GHz processor and 16GB of RAM standard compared to the current 2.0 GHz Intel Core i7 and 8GB of RAM found on the current base model 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro. Meanwhile, the second configuration features a 2.5 GHz Intel Core i7 processor and the same 16GB of RAM, up from the current 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7 processor. Both models feature the same graphics, with the first configuration coming with Intel's Iris Pro graphics and the second coming with both the Iris Pro and NVIDIA's GeForce GT 750M.
A third high-end configuration priced at 23,688 yuan also appears on the chart, boasting a 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, 1TB of flash storage, and Intel's Iris Pro graphics plus a NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M.
All of the processors listed on the chart correspond to Intel's new line of Core i7 Haswell processors launched last week, perhaps indicating that an updated 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro line may be imminent. Apple's line of 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros should also see an update in the near future, as Intel also launched new Core i5 Haswell processors alongside its refreshed i7 Haswell chips.
A minor refresh of the Retina MacBook Pro line was originally noted earlier this year alongside a rumored 12-inch Retina MacBook. According to the latest reports, the 12-inch Retina MacBook may be pushed back to next year because of Intel's delayed Broadwell chips.
Macworld's Jason Snell provides a nice hands-on writeup about Apple's new OS X Yosemite. Snell focuses on the user-experience from a long term Mac user, focusing on the visual and usability changes of Mac windows. He notes the increased use of transparency and the varying implementation of title bars in many applications:
Overall, Snell feels that many of the design changes were done with Retina displays in mind:
For a while now, I’ve thought that 2014 would be the year that Retina spreads across the Mac product line. After spending time with Yosemite on both Retina and non-Retina systems, I’m more confident than ever in that guess. Yosemite’s new design feels like it was built for Retina displays: Thin Helvetica Neue replaces the long-serving but chunky Lucida Grande as the system typeface.
Apple first introduced Retina displays into the Mac line in with the Retina MacBook Pro in June, 2012. Since that time, Apple has been slow to extend Retina screens to the rest of their lineup.
The MacBook Air seems likely to be the next Mac to deliver a Retina Display. Signs point to a 12" Retina model later this year, and there has already been early evidence in Yosemite of Retina iMacs in testing.
Wednesday April 9, 2014 4:29 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple is set to release a slew of new products during the third quarter of 2014 according to KGI securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo, who often provides reliable information on Apple’s product lineup.
In a 2014 product roadmap, Kuo suggests Apple will introduce its first new product of the year, a lower-cost iMac, during the second quarter. Soon after, during the third quarter, Kuo predicts Apple will introduce an upgraded iPad Air and iPad mini, followed by an iWatch in two separate sizes, and a 4.7-inch iPhone.
An upgraded Apple TV set-top box will come somewhat later, as will the rumored 12-inch ultra slim MacBook and upgraded Retina MacBook Pros. Later, in the fourth quarter, Apple will introduce the 5.5-inch iPhone, which is said to be delayed due to issues with in-cell display technology. Along with his roadmap, Kuo also gives specific information on each of Apple’s upcoming products.
- iWatch: Kuo believes the iWatch will ship during the end of the third quarter, offering biometric functionality, integration with the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and a "fashionable appearance." As has been previously suggested, he predicts the device will come in two sizes, with a 1.3-inch and 1.5-inch flexible AMOLED display. It will also include a sapphire cover lens, biometric recognition, an NFC chip, wireless charging, a 200 to 250 mAh battery, and a slim and light design. Kuo also believes that Apple will offer the iWatch at multiple price points, with the most expensive version costing upwards of $1,000.
- iPhone 6: Supporting previous iPhone 6 rumors, Kuo believes the device will come in two sizes: 4.7 and 5.5-inches, with resolutions of 1334x750 (326ppi) and 1920 x 1080 (401 ppi), respectively. Both models will come with an A8 processor, 1GB of RAM, LTPS display panels, optical image stabilization, and Touch ID. Kuo points to a 10 to 20 percent narrower bezel, a 6.5–7.0mm thickness, metal casings, and NFC integration. Mass shipments of the 4.7-inch version are expected in September, with the 5.5-inch version shipping later. Kuo suggests that only the 64GB 5.5-inch version will use sapphire displays.
- iPad Air 2: The second-generation iPad Air is expected to adopt Touch ID, an A8 processor, and an improved camera with a resolution of eight megapixels. Kuo believes the second iPad Air could come earlier in the year than the previous iPad Air, which was released in October.
- iPad mini with Retina Display: Like the iPad Air, a new Retina mini could gain an A8 processor and Touch ID, but Kuo believes it will retain the same form factor. He also suggests that the older iPad mini with Retina display could be sold at a lower cost.
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro: Kuo believes that Apple is indeed working on a 12.9-inch iPad, but he does not expect it to be launched in 2014.
- 12-inch MacBook Air: As rumored, Apple is believed to be preparing an ultrathin MacBook Air that incorporates a touchpad without buttons and functions without a fan. It is also expected to include a higher-resolution display.
- iMac: A lower-priced iMac is believed to be on the horizon, which Kuo says could help boost iMac shipments by up to 23 percent. It could be Apple’s first product launch of the year.
- Apple TV: Apple is not expected to launch a full television set this year, but an upgraded set top box with an App Store and motion control technology is expected.
While Kuo’s predictions do include many rumors that have previously surfaced over the past several months from a variety of sources, his roadmap gives a solid overview of what we might expect from Apple in 2014. We've also broken out several of his predictions into individual posts that can be found here: iWatch, iPad, iPhone 6, MacBook Air.
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