Alongside today's introduction of a new stripped-down 16 GB iPod touch, Apple has also reduced pricing for educational customers on its 13-inch non-Retina MacBook Pro. The prices have been cut by $100 for both the low-end and high-end stock configurations, bringing pricing down to $999 and $1299 respectively. The new prices on both models are $200 below Apple's standard retail pricing.
Education pricing on the non-Retina 15-inch model remains unchanged at $1699, while the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro continues to start at $1399 for education customers. The discounted education pricing is available to employees of K-12 schools as well as faculty, staff, students, and parents of students at higher education institutions.
Digitimes briefly reports that Apple will be releasing updated notebooks "in the near future", with supply chain sources indicating that Apple's orders will rise 20% in the second quarter compared to first-quarter production.
The new MacBooks are only expected to receive specification upgrades to Intel's latest Haswell platform and are estimated to be unveiled at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, the sources said.
Claims of a 20% increase in orders come less than a month after the site claimed that orders would see a 10% increase for the quarter, although overall notebook shipments for 2013 are expected to be flat or only slightly higher year over year due to a lack of major updates and a weak PC market.
Late last month, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that an update to the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lines would be a highlight for next month's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which kicks off on June 10. Kuo had previously believed that Apple would consolidate its MacBook Pro lines into an all-Retina lineup in mid-2013, but he now believes that continued popularity of the non-Retina models has led Apple to push back its consolidation plans for the time being.
Kuo indicated that updated models of the non-Retina MacBook Pro and MacBook Air should ship relatively soon after WWDC, with updated Retina MacBook Pro models shipping somewhat later due to constraints on display production.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a new report forecasting that the product highlight of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which kicks off on June 10, will be the introduction of new models of the company's MacBook Pro and MacBook Air lines based on Intel's latest Haswell processors. The projection is in line with previous reports from Kuo and other sources, as well as recent claims that Apple will begin ramping up production of the new models in mid-May.
On the MacBook Pro side, Kuo is reversing his earlier predictions suggesting that 2013 would see Apple discontinue the non-Retina MacBook Pro lineup and shift consumers to the slimmer and more expensive Retina line introduced at last year's WWDC. Kuo believes that continued strength of non-Retina MacBook Pro models, particularly the 13-inch line, have led Apple to continue producing the non-Retina lineup for the time being.
Contrary to our previous projection, we now think Apple will continue to make the MacBook Pro alongside the MacBook Air and Retina MacBook Pro because the 13” MacBook Pro remains the most popular product in the MacBook line. Also, there is still demand in emerging markets, where Internet penetration isn’t advanced, for optical disk drives.
Kuo believes that the updated versions of the non-Retina MacBook Pro could begin shipping very soon after WWDC, but that the new Retina MacBook Pro models will begin shipping somewhat later due to production bottlenecks on the displays.
For the MacBook Air, Kuo also believes that the new models will be introduced at WWDC and ship very soon after, but he indicates that Apple is unlikely to include Retina displays in the updated lineup. He believes that cost, thickness, and production concerns will continue to keep Retina displays out of Apple's lowest-cost and thinnest notebook line for the time being.
Tuesday February 12, 2013 1:10 pm PST by Eric Slivka
Apple today released MacBook Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.7, addressing an issue related to batteries with more than 1000 charge cycles. The update applies to Mid 2010 and Early 2011 models of the 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro and is a complement to earlier updates addressing the same issue for other machines.
About MacBook Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.7
This update addresses a rare issue on some Apple notebooks where a battery that has accumulated more than 1000 charge cycles may unexpectedly shut down or stop functioning.
The update is a 1 MB download and requires OS X 10.6.8, 10.7.5, or 10.8.2.
Tuesday January 15, 2013 9:04 pm PST by Eric Slivka
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a very good track record in predicting Apple's product plans, has issued a new research report outlining his expectations for Apple's 2013 product launches. Kuo believes that Apple will focus its launches on the third quarter of this year, with a number of updates throughout the company's various product families.
- iPhone: Kuo expects that Apple will introduce both an iPhone 5S and a revamped iPhone 5 around June or July of this year, with the iPhone 5S appearing very similar to the current iPhone 5 but carrying a number of upgrades including an A7 system-on-a-chip for better performance, a fingerprint sensor, and camera improvements such as an f2.0 aperture and a smart LED flash. He also believes that the lower-cost iPhone will in many ways simply be an iPhone 5 repackaged into a slightly thicker (8.2 mm vs. the current 7.6 mm) plastic enclosure available in six colors.
- iPad and iPad mini: Kuo forecasts that Apple will update both lines during the third quarter of the year, with the iPad mini gaining a Retina display as the most notable change. He also predicts that the full-size iPad will become considerably slimmer and lighter and adopt the thinner side bezels seen on the iPad mini.
- MacBook Pro: In line with his predictions from last year, Kuo believes that Apple will do away with the non-Retina MacBook Pro line in 2013, moving to an all-Retina lineup at cheaper price points than the current Retina models. Kuo also believes that Apple will tweak the design of these thinner Retina MacBook Pros, despite having just introduced the current form factor last year.
- MacBook Air: Retina displays remain a challenge for the MacBook Air given their relative thickness, and Kuo predicts that they will not be appearing in the 2013 MacBook Air lineup. Kuo believes that a move to Intel's forthcoming Haswell platform will be the main upgrade for the machines, with the update coming perhaps as soon as late in the second quarter.
- Desktops: Kuo notes that the iMac redesign has been well-received, but it appears that he does not see Retina displays coming to the lineup in 2013. He simply predicts a shift to the Haswell platform for the iMac and Mac mini in the fourth quarter of the year. Kuo's report does not address a new Mac Pro, even though Apple CEO Tim Cook had personally shared that a significant update for the line was due in 2013.
- iPod touch: Apple will reportedly discontinue the fourth-generation iPod touch, which is currently being sold alongside the new fifth-generation models. In order to fill the gap, Kuo believes that Apple will introduce a scaled-back fifth-generation model with 8 GB of storage and no rear camera at $199.
- Apple TV: Kuo predicts a minor update to the existing Apple TV product as soon as late this quarter, but he offers no details on what the update would entail. He also notes that Apple's more substantial television effort is unlikely to appear in 2013, with content issues and a lack of experience in the television set industry pushing things back until 2014.
Friday December 28, 2012 1:38 am PST by Arnold Kim
DigiTimes reports that Apple has signaled Taiwan-based suppliers that both the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air series will see revisions in June 2013. As noted by our buyers guide, this would put the updates in line within the expected timeframes.
DigiTimes' sources also reveal that the new MacBook Airs won't have any major external design changes, but will feature a "new processor platform":
The sources pointed out that the MacBook Air for 2013 will feature a new processor platform, but its industrial design will not see any major changes.
The paper also reports that Ultrabook manufacturers are concerned that Apple "is likely to reduce the prices for its existing MacBook Airs before the launch of the new models." Such a move, however, would be extremely unusual for Apple. Apple rarely changes the prices of existing models before they are revised. So, we're skeptical about that particular concern. With the iPad 2, Apple has retained an older product and lowered its price to make room for a new product, but that move would also be unusual for Apple's notebook line.
Apple's MacBook lineup plans for late 2012 and 2013 (Source: Ming-Chi Kuo/KGI Securities)
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had previously outlined his expectations for Apple's 2013 plans back in June. The predictions in the top-portion of the graph above have already come true. Kuo expects that the MacBook Pro will consolidate back into a single hardware line next year. The new MacBook line will also use Intel's new Haswell chips which are expected between March and June 2013.
Haswell will incorporate CPU performance boosts as well as double the performance of the integrated GPU. This added GPU performance would be helpful if Apple does standardize on Retina Displays across the entire MacBook line in 2013.
Tuesday December 4, 2012 11:47 am PST by Eric Slivka
Soon after the launch of the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro in June, we pointed to an analysis by AnandTech showing how the need to drive a massive number of pixels taxed the graphics capabilities of the machine to the point where it struggled to hit 20 frames per second while scrolling on resource-intensive web pages such as Facebook news feeds.
I grabbed a build (r135516 - it's no longer the latest build but I assume the later builds also contain the fix) and tried it out on the 13-inch rMBP. Scrolling down my Facebook news feed ended up being one of the best showcases for poor scrolling performance on the rMBPs, so that's obviously the first test I ran. As always I used Quartz Debug to measure UI frame rate.
The results show frame rates of around 20 frames per second (fps) under the standard Safari 6.0.2, but jump to nearly 50 fps when using nightly build r135516 of WebKit.
Frame rates approaching 50 fps when scrolling in WebKit nightly build r135515
AnandTech hasn't been able to determine exactly what code changes were made to enable the significant boost to scrolling performance on Retina MacBook Pro models, and it is unclear exactly when those changes will be incorporated into Safari itself, but it certainly seems that a solution is on its way.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:32 pm PDT by Jordan Golson
Apple has posted a new television ad for the 13" MacBook Pro with Retina Display. The spot showcases a number of different Apple apps including Mail, Final Cut Pro, Aperture, and iTunes. The new machine is aimed at "the pro in all of us."
Tuesday October 23, 2012 1:35 pm PDT by Eric Slivka
Following the introduction of the new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro at its media event, Apple invited attendees to spend some time with the machine. Overall, the early hands-on impressions are favorable, with the reduction in thickness and weight making a significant difference for professionals on the go, but the high price tag associated with the Retina display and solid-state storage mean that it likely won't quite be able to inherit the non-Retina model's popularity just yet.
For starters, it's wildly thin. No, not manilla envelope thin, but thin enough to slip into most briefcases and backpacks without the consumer even noticing. Outside of that, it's mostly a shrunken version of the 15-incher let loose over the summer. The unibody design is as tight as ever, with the fit and finish continuing to impress. In my estimation, this is Apple's most deliberate move yet to differentiate the 13-inch MacBook Pro from the 13-inch MacBook Air.
It’s clear that Apple wants this new version of its top-performer to take over as a product that redefines the laptop category, and judging by limited hands-on experience, there’s good reason to believe they’ll eventually get their wish, though not just yet. [..]
As for how it performed, it was very much like using the 15-inch rMBP, which is my main machine currently. In the hand, however, it feels significantly lighter, at about a pound lighter than the bigger model. That’s a big difference for a machine you carry around with you all day, and alone might sway some users, price considerations aside.
Freshly announced today, and falling under our eager fingers straight after Apple’s San Jose launch event, the new notebook follows the successful route of its bigger brother. Gone is the optical drive, in comes the super-high-resolution screen, and wide open pop our wallets.
The screen size may be smaller – and lower resolution, too, at 2560 x 1600, though for an overall higher pixel density of 227ppi – but actually the 13-inch model is slightly thicker, at 0.75-inches. In contrast, the 15-inch Retina version is 0.71-inches thick. You don’t really notice the difference, however, and the advantage in weight, with near a full pound dropped, more than makes up for it.
The resolution settings for the display are just like the larger MacBook Pro — but the maximum allowed resolution is 1680 x 1050, unlike the 1920 x 1080 setting offered on the 15-inch model. Still, 1680 x 1050 is a tremendous option on a display of this size, though at the "best for Retina" setting the screen offers an effective 1280 x 800. If you've been using a 15-inch MacBook Pro for the screen size, the 13-inch just got a ton more attractive.
Tuesday October 23, 2012 8:49 am PDT by Eric Slivka
9to5Mac reports that it has received information on three models of the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro launching today. According to sources, the machines appear to use the same 2.5 GHz and 2.9 GHz processors found in the non-Retina models, and like the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro all of the 13-inch Retina models start at 8 GB of RAM.
Unlike the 15-inch lineup, however, the entry-level 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro will come with 128 GB of flash storage, with higher-end standard models moving up to 256 GB and 512 GB of storage. The 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro starts at 256 GB of storage.
- 2.5 GHz, 128GB of Flash storage, 8GB of RAM
- 2.5 GHz, 256 GB of Flash storage, 8GB of RAM
- 2.9 GHz, 512GB of Flash storage, 8GB of RAM
Pricing on the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro is said to start at approximately $1699, a $500 premium over the non-Retina model. For that premium, users will receive a Retina display, 128 GB of flash storage instead of a 500 GB traditional hard drive, and a bump from 4 GB of RAM to 8 GB. The Retina version of course also comes in a thinner form factor that omits the optical drive and Ethernet and FireWire ports.
The site has also received details on the new Mac mini models coming out today, with the high-end models now moving to quad-core processors. As with the existing lineup, there are two standard configurations and a server configuration.
- 2.5 GHz dual-core, 4GB RAM, 500GB Hard drive
- 2.3 GHz quad-core, 4GB RAM, 1TB Hard drive
- Server: 2.3 GHz quad-core 4GB of RAM, 2TB Hard drive
Friday October 19, 2012 4:31 pm PDT by Eric Slivka
Earlier this week, we pointed to a forum thread [Google translation] at Chinese site WeiPhone.com sharing a pair of photos of what was said to be the display assembly from Apple's upcoming 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro.
Battery layout of 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro
The poster of that thread has now updated the original post with additional photos showing a number of features of the machine, including the battery layout, the ports on the left and right sides of the machine, and a number of other internal features. Unfortunately, the pictures are generally rather small and of low quality, but it seems clear that the poster does indeed have access to an unreleased 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro.
Left-side ports: MagSafe 2, Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt, USB
Right-side ports: SD card, HDMI, USB
Other photos include small shots of the main logic board, internals for the various ports, and 8 GB of RAM from Elpida. Several screenshots said to be of the machine booted into Windows 7 and showing an available Retina display resolution of 2560x1600 pixels are also included.
Update October 20 10:23 AM: The poster has added several more images of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, including several comparing it to the MacBook Air.
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