Wednesday October 23, 2013 1:16 pm PDT by Juli Clover
In his lengthy and ultra-detailed review of Mavericks, John Siracusa of Ars Technica conducts battery benchmark tests to measure Mavericks' power saving features on both a 2007 MacBook Pro and a 2013 13.3-inch MacBook Air.
While both systems saw notable battery gains going from Mountain Lion to Mavericks, the 2013 MacBook Air in particular saw impressive improvements of up to 30 percent, lasting for more than 15 hours in some instances.
For his battery tests, which were conducted using OS X 10.8.5 and the GM build of Mavericks, Siracusa created a light Web browsing and text-editing automation script, including websites that used Flash. In his tests, battery life varied significantly, but provided, on average, an increase of two hours of work time.
I suspect the aggressiveness of the auto-playing Flash ads that happen to be on specific websites on a particular day may partly explain the huge variability in Mountain Lion's numbers. Some of the lower-scoring Mountain Lion trials may have also had the bad luck to coincide with energy-intensive periodic jobs—jobs that are prevented from running on Mavericks due to AC power or battery-level restrictions as part of centralized task scheduling.
These tests may or may not be representative of how you use your Mac, but regardless, it's clear that Apple's efforts have not been in vain. Mavericks really does consume less energy than Mountain Lion when performing the same tasks.
Since its debut at WWDC, Apple has touted the power saving features bundled into Mavericks, poising improved battery life as the keystone of the operating system. Mavericks is designed to cut down on CPU activity using Timer Coalescing, Compressed Memory, and App Nap.
While Timer Coalescing bundles low-level operations into a single batch action that reduces CPU utilization by up to 72 percent, App Nap cuts down on the power usage of apps that are not running in the foreground, reducing their overall power draw by up to 23 percent. Compressed Memory also works in conjunction with these two features, compacting the least used processes so less time is spent reading and writing virtual memory swap files on disk, which improves power consumption.
There's also a new power saving feature built directly into Safari, called Power Saver. With Power Saver, Safari intelligently detects plug-in content playing in the margins of a website and pauses it, preserving battery life.
During Apple's October 22 event, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi also highlighted Mavericks' battery saving capabilities on the new 13-inch MacBook Air, noting that the operating system provides an extra hour of web browsing and an hour and a half of extra video time.
Mavericks is available for free from the Mac App Store and is a one-step update for all Mac users running OS X Snow Leopard and above. It can be installed on most computers produced after 2007. As of this morning, total Mavericks adoption hovered at approximately seven percent.
Wednesday October 16, 2013 12:39 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Intel yesterday confirmed that it is delaying the production of its next-generation Broadwell processors on account of a manufacturing issue. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced the news during Intel's earnings call, stating that production on the chips will begin during the first quarter of 2014 (via PCWorld).
Intel's Broadwell chips are designed to be the successor to its existing Haswell chips, manufactured on a 14-nanometer process as opposed to Haswell's current 22-nanometer process.
Intel ran into some problems with the 14-nanometer process used to manufacture the chips and will have to fix them before it can resume production, CEO Brian Krzanich said during Intel’s earnings call on Tuesday.
Intel normally releases new chips like clockwork on an annual basis, and the manufacturing problems are a rare misstep for the company. Krzanich said there were problems with the "yield"—or the number of good chips the company gets per silicon wafer.
The Broadwell chips, which will eventually find their way into Apple's line of MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros, are said to be 30 percent faster and more power-efficient than Haswell, leading to even greater increases in battery life and performance. The inclusion of Haswell chips in Apple's MacBook Air boosted battery life to 12 hours on the 13-inch version and nine hours on the 11-inch version.
Based on Intel's prospective timeline with production beginning during the first quarter of 2014, Broadwell MacBooks could make an appearance at next year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, which is where the Haswell MacBook Airs debuted.
It is unclear whether Apple had planned to introduce Broadwell updates earlier, and whether Intel's delay will affect its future release plans. Apple's scheduled desktop updates, for its iMacs, will not be affected as they will incorporate updated Haswell architecture rather than Broadwell chips.
Apple has yet to release a Haswell Retina MacBook Pro, which is expected to come before the end of 2013 and should bring significant improvements to battery life.
According to Intel, the delay of Broadwell will not affect the company's next line of processors, Skylake, as the chips are based on new architecture. Broadwell, however, will have a shorter lifespan due to Intel’s manufacturing issues.
Saturday October 12, 2013 10:34 pm PDT by Richard Padilla
Apple may be planning to release a 12-inch MacBook with an all-new design and high-resolution Retina Display in the middle of 2014, according to KGI Securities anaylst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Specifically, the new MacBook is expected to feature a clamshell form factor even thinner than the current MacBook Air, and may debut at a lower-price point than the current Retina MacBook Pro line due to an improving yield rate. While Kuo stops short of calling the new model a replacement for the current MacBook Air line, his description of the model suggests that it would indeed supplant Apple's current ultra-slim notebook line.
We expect the unprecedented 12” model will boast both the portability of the 11” model, and productivity of the 13” model. The high resolution display will also offer the outstanding visual experience of the Retina MacBook Pro. The offering will likely be lighter and slimmer than the existing MacBook Air to further highlight ease of portability in the cloud computing era. We think the form factor will showcase a much improved clamshell structure, and that it will redefine laptop computing once again following the milestone created by the MacBook Air.
Kuo's claims match with a report from NPD DisplaySearch analysts earlier this week claiming that Apple is planning to introduce a new 12-inch MacBook Air next year. That new model was predicted to use a high-resolution 2304 x 1440 display
Both rumors also fall in line with earlier reports that Apple is set to move to IGZO displays for many of its future products, allowing for higher-resolution displays with lower power consumption.
Kuo has generally been quite accurate with his predictions over the past several years, including accurately outlining many of the details of Apple's 2013 launch plans as far back as January. Other accurate predictions have included the introduction of a "third MacBook line" that arrived in the form of Retina MacBook Pro models and the discontinuation of the 17-inch MacBook Pro last year.
Thursday October 10, 2013 2:20 pm PDT by Jordan Golson
Apple today released EFI Firmware Update 2.7 for the mid–2013 MacBook Air, which comes with several Boot Camp-related bug fixes for the MacBook Airs that were released in June.
MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update 2.7
This update is recommended for MacBook Air (mid 2013) models.
This update addresses an issue which may cause a black screen to appear when installing Windows 7 or Windows 8 using Boot Camp Assistant if both an external optical drive and USB thumb drive are connected to the system. This update also ensures that the system will boot by default into OS X after installation of Windows 8.
Wednesday October 9, 2013 9:33 am PDT by Husain Sumra
Apple is set to revamp the displays for the majority of its product lines within the next year, according to supply chain research done by NPD DisplaySearch (via CNET). The new research corroborates an earlier report that Apple is set to revamp its displays across multiple product lines and offers some speculation on Apple's plans rooted in the supply chain hints.
Based on supply chain research, we believe Apple is planning to revamp nearly all of the displays in its products over the next year. This would indicate that Apple, once again, intends to count on display technology for new product innovation. We can speculate about Apple’s new products as follows:
DisplaySearch speculates that Apple may launch both a 4.7-inch and a 5.7-inch iPhone next year, roughly in line with a Wall Street Journalreport from September claiming Apple has been experimenting with iPhone models carrying displays of 4.8 inches to 6 inches, perhaps for a 2014 release.
DisplaySearch's report also covers the slimmer-bezeled iPad and Retina iPad mini, which will reportedly be unveiled on October 22. Unsurprisingly, the report indicates that both displays will carry the same 2048 x 1536 resolution as the current full-size iPad. DisplaySearch also suggests that a 12.9-inch iPad is set for debut next year, in line with the Wall Street Journal'sreport that Apple is looking at larger iPad models.
The MacBook Air, which is unlikely to get an update at Apple's October 22 event, is likely to see a new 12-inch Retina Display model launch next year, according to DisplaySearch's findings. This new low-power MacBook Air would likely feature a 2304 x 1440 display, although this would be the usable screen real estate at a non-Retina equivalent of just 1152 x 720, lower than that of the current 11-inch MacBook Air. Users would, however, be able to opt for higher-resolution non-Retina settings as seen on the Retina MacBook Pro. Mac display upgrade rumors also fall in line with earlier reports that Apple is set to move to IGZO displays, which allow for higher-resolution displays with lower power consumption.
DisplaySearch also claims there will be two Apple-branded 4Kx2K television sets in 55- and 65-inch sizes, feeding longstanding rumors of an Apple television set project that has yet to come to fruition. Finally, the report claims that 1.3- and 1.6-inch iWatch models could debut in late 2014 with flexible 320 x 320 AMOLED displays. This, too, falls in line with earlier rumors claiming Apple is set to adopt AMOLED display for its smart watch device.
The first of these rumored devices with all new displays is reportedly set for an unveiling at an iPad-centric event on October 22. Apple has yet to officially confirm the event, but should send out media invitations roughly one week ahead of time.
Thursday October 3, 2013 12:42 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple is shaking up the display market with a multitude of upcoming product debuts and enhancements, according to Korean site ET News. The site summarizes several known product rumors that will impact display manufacturers, including larger iPhone and iPads, an OLED iWatch, and IGZO displays for its MacBook lineup.
Multiple reports have suggested that Apple is working on both a larger iPhone and a larger iPad. ET News suggests that a larger iPhone will be at least 5 inches, in line with a September report from The Wall Street Journal indicating that Apple was experimenting with a number of screen sizes from 4.8 inches to 6 inches.
Several iPad changes are in the works as well, with Apple planning to introduce a Retina iPad mini and experimenting with a larger (possibly 12.9-inch) iPad. The Wall Street Journal has confirmed that Apple is experimenting with larger screen sizes for its iPad lineup and a Retina mini has been confirmed by multiple sources.
ET News further suggests that the iPad will be offered at multiple price points based on display, similar to the iPhone 5c and the iPhone 5s. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has made a similar prediction, stating that Apple has plans to introduce a low-cost iPad mini.
Rumors have previously indicated that Apple is considering a 1.5-inch OLED display for its iWatch, which will be produced by Samsung. Apple CEO Tim Cook previously stated that OLED displays were oversaturated, but Apple has hired at least one OLED expert in recent months.
Apple will also adopt AM OLED which the company has shunned so far to hold Samsung in check and for picture quality issue, etc. Yet, Apple recently began to develop associated technologies, adopting flexible OLED for its iWatch. Apple has drawn up a new OLED display strategy, hiring OLED experts from LG Display early this year.
As far as MacBooks go, ET News points to rumors that Apple is considering the adoption of IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) displays. IGZO is a semiconducting material that has forty times more electron mobility than the standard amorphous silicon, resulting in higher resolution displays with better reaction times and less power consumption. IGZO seems like a logical move for Apple as it works to improve both displays and device size and may be a future solution for a MacBook Air with a Retina display.
According to ET News, the implementation of these sweeping product changes will have huge impacts on display manufacturers in Korea. Japan Display is expected to diversify beyond Apple, leaving LG Display to increase its shipments to the company. Samsung Display is also expected to be a key Apple supplier in the months to come, with both Samsung and LG providing components for the iPhone, iPad, and MacBooks. Though rumors have suggested Apple is aiming to reduce its dependence on rival Samsung, it has been unable to find a supplier able to match Samsung's production capacity and quality.
Apple is expected to release the first of its major products during the fall months. A Retina iPad mini and a redesigned fifth-generation iPad mini are both expected to debut in the October/November timeframe. Other products, such as the iWatch, a larger iPad/iPhone, and MacBooks that incorporate new display technology could come in 2014 and beyond.
Wednesday September 18, 2013 10:27 pm PDT by Husain Sumra
Apple today began offering refurbished units of its mid-2013 11-inch MacBook Air models in its online store. The move comes a little over three months after they were announced in June, and both stock configurations are currently available. The current 13-inch MacBook Air has yet to appear in Apple's store for refurbished products.
Both models include Intel's Haswell processors and "all-day" battery life along with 4GB of RAM, and are offered at a 15% discount off of Apple's prices for brand-new units. The 128GB model is available for $849, a $150 discount from the standard price of $999, while the 256GB model is available for $1,019, a $180 discount from the standard $1,199 price.
Apple's refurbished units come equipped with the same one-year warranty that brand-new products carry and have been thoroughly tested for reliability. The units also come with brand-new batteries and outer shells.
Saturday June 29, 2013 12:17 pm PDT by Eric Slivka
Last week, it was reported that a growing number of owners of Apple's new MacBook Air were experiencing Wi-Fi issues, with users reporting problems such as dropped connections that require a restart in order to reconnect. It was reported earlier this week that Apple has been replacing affected machines and collecting the defective units in order to examine them as part of the company's investigation into the issue.
As noted by AppleInsider, Apple is now sending out invitations to certain MacBook Air owners asking if they wish to participate in the company's AppleSeed customer software seeding program for the purposes of testing a new "MacBook Air WiFi Update 1.0". While Apple does not specify in its invitation exactly what problem the software update is designed to address, it presumably focuses on the connection issues being reported by users.
You have been selected to join our AppleSeed program. If you accept, we will provide you with a pre-release version of the MacBookAir WiFi Update 1.0 to install and use.
While trying out MacBookAir WiFi Update 1.0, we ask that you provide us with your feedback. Our program includes a bug reporting system for our participants. If you wish to be a seed volunteer and help Apple release high-quality software, follow the instructions below.
Beyond the connection issues, Apple's OS X 10.8.4 public release and OS X Mavericks beta also appear to have a software issue that prevents machines supporting the new 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard from taking advantage of the faster speeds for file transfers. It is, however, unclear whether Apple will address this issue for current MacBook Air owners through this software update in testing or through a separate update such as the upcoming OS X 10.8.5 update.
Gizmodo reports on a growing number of complaints from owners of Apple's newly updated MacBook Air regarding Wi-Fi performance issues. The issues are being documented in Apple's support forums and a few users in our own forums have also seen similar problems.
The problems they’re seeing sound eerily similar to those we’re experiencing with our machines: Wi-Fi will initially connect, but after a minute or two the connection will stop working, and a total reboot is needed to be able to connect again. [...]
An anonymous source at one of Apple’s retail stores in London has also told me they’ve had “well above average” complaints and returns (in a few cases) of Airs owing to Wi-Fi issues.
It is not uncommon for users to raise issues following the launch of new hardware as they put machines through their paces and discover differences in their behavior. Some of these issues are more significant and widespread than others, however, and Apple generally addresses many of the most significant ones with subsequent software or firmware updates.
Apple's new MacBook Air adopts the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, offering faster connectivity and bandwidth. Apple's new AirPort Extreme base stations also offer better signal strength by taking advantage of beamforming to focus their Wi-Fi signals toward connected 802.11ac devices such as the new MacBook Air.
Thursday June 13, 2013 11:38 am PDT by Jordan Golson
The first reviews of the 2013 MacBook Air models are beginning to come out and, aside from new CPUs and a new SSD architecture, the biggest new feature is a dramatic increase in claimed battery life.
Apple has increased the battery capacity of the 13" MacBook Air from a 7.3V 6700mAh unit to a 7.6V 7150mAh battery. As a result, the claimed battery life of the 13" model has increased from 7 to 12 hours. In its review, Engadget found the 13" MBA achieved 12 hours and 51 minutes on a charge under their standard battery test.
If that didn't impress you enough, there's one area where the performance has really gone off the charts, and that's battery life. Apple rates the 2013 edition of the MacBook Air for up to 10 hours of battery life playing video or 12 hours of wireless web surfing. Our standard rundown test, as it happens, also entails playing video and last year's machine managed just over six and a half hours before expiring. We were, then, skeptical that this new edition could manage nearly twice that longevity -- but it actually did better. This year's Air survived 12 hours and 51 minutes on a charge. That's a stunning number from a laptop this thin, achieved with WiFi enabled and without any external batteries.
Laptop Magazine's test unit achieved 10 hours and 53 minutes on a home Wi-Fi connection suggesting that, while mileage may vary, Apple's claims appear to be largely legitimate.
A review from Forbes found that the battery life would be somewhere between 8 and 9 hours under more strenuous use conditions. Competing 13" notebooks don't come close to reaching 12 hours of battery life without external batteries.
Apple says OS X Mavericks, when its released this fall, will include a number of battery-saving software features which could push the battery life of the new Air even further.
Other notes from the review confirm previous reports of significant increases in flash storage read/write. Engadget reported similar numbers for reads and writes to the new PCIe-based SSDs, while also saying boot time has decreased to 12 seconds from 18 seconds on the 2012 models.
Reviews also indicated substantial increases in both CPU and graphics performance on both benchmarks and real world tests. Laptop Magazinefound the 13" MacBook Air returned 44.6 fps in a World of Warcraft test on 'good' settings, comparing favorably to similar Windows machines that returned between 30 and 33 fps in a similar setup.
The teardown experts at iFixit have just taken apart the new 13-inch Mid-2013 MacBook Air that was announced at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote yesterday, and while there aren't too many drastic changes in the internals there are a few differences that are worth noting.
The team found that the PCIe-based SSD module from Samsung is smaller than the previous model's Toshiba SATA module, which also means that the drive is not compatible with previous MacBook Air models. As noted earlier by AnandTech, the read/write speeds of the flash storage approach 800 MB/s.
Samsung SSD in Mid-2013 MacBook Air
When Apple announced the Haswell-based MacBook Airs yesterday, perhaps the main highlight of the introduction was the "all-day" battery life topping out at 12 hours for the 13-inch model. And while the processors are a large part of the claimed all-day battery life, iFixit found that the new Airs also sport batteries with increased capacity driven by higher voltages: increasing from a 7.3 V, 6700 mAh power battery to a 7.6 V 7150 mAh power battery.
Other changes that the iFixit team found include a redesigned AirPort card that provides 802.11ac Wi-Fi and an expanded heat sink covering both the CPU and platform controller hub (PCH), although the PCH does not have any thermal compound applied to assist with transferring heat to the heat sink.
The 11-inch MacBook Air starts at $999 with a 128 GB hard drive, while the 13-inch MacBook Air starts at $1099 with a 128 GB hard drive. Both lines are available at Apple's Online Store and at the company's retail outlets.
Aside from the "all-day" battery life that comes alongside the upgrade to Intel's Haswell processors in the new MacBook Air, one of the other major improvements is the adoption of PCIe-based flash storage for much faster performance. The new PCIe flash will also be coming to Apple's radically redesigned Mac Pro later this year, and undoubtedly other Macs as well.
Available in capacities up to 512GB, this next-generation flash storage is up to 9x faster than a traditional 5400-rpm notebook hard drive. And it’s up to 45 percent faster than the flash storage in the previous-generation MacBook Air. So when you flip open MacBook Air, it’s ready to go right away. Even after a month in standby mode, the screen springs to life.
AnandTech has taken a closer look at flash storage performance and other benchmarks in the new MacBook Air, finding that read/write speeds are approaching 800 MB/s.
The drive in my system uses a Samsung controller, although I've heard that SanDisk will have a PCIe solution for Apple as well. A quick run through Quick Bench reveals peak sequential read/write performance of nearly 800MB/s.
This is a pretty big deal, as it is probably the first step towards PCIe storage in a mainstream consumer device that we've seen.
Beyond battery life and flash storage enhancements and the shift to Haswell, Apple's new MacBook Air brings several other enhancements as well, including faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi and dual microphones for reducing background noise.
With the introduction of its new Haswell-based MacBook Air models yesterday, Apple revealed a strong emphasis on battery life, pushing the rated operating time from five hours to nine hours on the 11-inch model and from seven hours to 12 hours on the 13-inch model.
Even with the focus on battery life, Apple was also able to bring some minor performance improvements, as seen in Geekbench 2 benchmarking results highlighted by Primate Labs. Overall, the new MacBook Air models performed 3-8% better than their previous-generation counterparts.
With Haswell, Intel's focus was on reducing power usage. Rather than improve performance by 25%, Intel improved performance by 10% while consuming 25% less power.
Apple then went a step further. Apple reduced power usage even more by selecting processors with lower frequencies. In the low-end Air, the frequency has been reduced to 1.3 GHz from 1.7 GHz, while in the high-end Air, the frequency has been reduced to 1.7 GHz from 2.0 GHz.
The new MacBook Air is available now through Apple's online store, although the company recommends waiting until tomorrow before trying to obtain one at any of its retail stores. Pricing begins at $999 for the 11-inch models, with the 13-inch models starting at $1099.
At today's WWDC keynote in San Francisco, California, Apple announced new 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs, which have been designed with battery life in mind. As expected, the new Airs use Haswell processors that offer enhanced performance and significantly improved battery life, but feature no cosmetic changes.
With the new Haswell processors, The 11" MacBook Air will now have nine hours of battery life while the 13" MacBook Air will have a stunning 12 hours of battery life.
In addition to Haswell processors, the new MacBooks feature 802.11ac compatibility, with support for the "Gigabit WiFi" 802.11ac specification. Gigabit WiFi offers speeds up to three times as fast as existing 802.11n wireless networks.
The 11" MacBook Air starts at $999 with a 128GB hard drive and the 13" MacBook Air with a 128GB hard drive starts at $1099. Apple's MacBook Airs are available today from Apple's Online Store and at retail locations.
Wednesday June 5, 2013 3:08 pm PDT by Jordan Golson
9to5Mac has received information from a source that suggests the MacBook Air updates that are expected at WWDC will ship soon after the keynote, perhaps with updated AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule wireless base stations that support a new, faster wireless standard.
These leaks line up with a report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who said in April that the MacBook Air update expected at WWDC would ship very soon after the event, while the Retina MacBook Pro would ship later due to production bottlenecks on the advanced displays.
Today, we have received specific pricing for the aforementioned SKUs, and the price-points correspond to Apple’s current pricing for the 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air models. We have yet to receive pricing information that points to the imminent availability of new MacBook Pros (as some had hoped), but perhaps the next refresh to Apple’s Pro portables will arrive in the coming months. Supply constraints to the Retina MacBook Pro line seems to infer that…
The site also says it received pricing for three new accessories that could be new AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule models. If accurate, these would likely support the new 802.11ac-wireless standard.
As we wrote in our WWDC rumor roundup earlier today, the notebook updates are likely to be the hardware highlight of WWDC, with new MacBook Air and Retina MacBook Pro models announced.
Expected upgrades include a shift to Haswell processors, a possible slimmer design for the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, a new full HD (2.0-megapixel) FaceTime camera on the Retina models, and a dual-microphone system on the MacBook Air.
With Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) kicking off next Monday, June 10 at 10:00 AM Pacific Time with a keynote address, it's time for a roundup of rumors about what we might see at the event.
In announcing the conference back in late April, Apple unsurprisingly revealed that it will be delivering "new versions of iOS and OS X" to developers, undoubtedly referring to iOS 7 and OS X 10.9. And as has become tradition since Apple moved its iPhone launches later in the year starting in 2011, WWDC 2013 is indeed expected to live up to its developer focus with an emphasis on software.
iOS 7 will almost certainly make its consumer debut alongside updated iPhone hardware later this year, but WWDC will offer the first glimpse of the upcoming software and Apple should spend a fair amount of the keynote walking through the changes. Apple will also begin seeding versions of iOS 7 to developers at WWDC, giving them time to help test the operating system itself and to build and update their own apps to take advantage of new features coming in iOS 7.
The big discussion surrounding iOS 7 has been regarding a new "flat design" driven by Jony Ive, who took over control of Apple's software-focused Human Interface team late last year in addition to his longtime role as head of Industrial Design. Prominent rumors for iOS 7 include:
For this year's OS X 10.9, many had been expecting Apple to mirror its 2012 OS X Mountain Lion schedule with developer previews beginning around February ahead of a late summer public launch, but despite a evidence of the next version of its Mac operating system showing up in web blogs late last year, the company has yet to make any public announcements about the update.
Back in April, Daring Fireball's John Gruber reported that with iOS 7 having been running behind schedule, Apple had been pulling engineers from OS X 10.9 in order to assist with the iOS work. The report was later confirmed by AllThingsD and The Loop, although it seems unclear whether the shift had any effect on Apple's internal timeline for OS X 10.9. Details on what to expect in OS X 10.9 have been relatively scarce, but rumors have included:
Apple has been rumored to be working on a Pandora-like streaming radio service for quite some time, but difficult negotiations have reportedly slowed the effort considerably. Just weeks ago, it was reported that continued difficulties with record label and publisher negotiations might result in Apple being unable to unveil the service at WWDC, but just this past weekend Apple signed Warner Music in what appears to be a last-minute push to secure deals in time for a WWDC announcement. The service would not, however, launch until later this year alongside iOS 7.
The service, informally dubbed "iRadio", is said to be free to users, relying on advertising support through Apple's iAd team to generate revenue. Apple is reportedly seeking to deploy a service similar to that offered by Pandora but with additional flexibility for users.
With Intel having announced a series of new Haswell chips yesterday, Apple's Mac lineups may be ready for updates. Apple's notebook lineup appears to be the primary target for updates at WWDC, with reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo calling the notebook refresh the hardware highlight of WWDC. Leaked model numbers have hinted at notebook updates for WWDC, although the identities of the products associated with those numbers have not yet been confirmed.
Upgrades will primarily be internal with the shift to Haswell, although Kuo believes that the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro may see a slimmer design. Other rumored upgrades include a shift to full HD (2.0-megapixel) FaceTime cameras on the Retina MacBook Pro models and adoption of a dual-microphone system on the MacBook Air to improve sound quality. Kuo believes that Apple will continue to offer the non-Retina MacBook Pro, but handicap the line by continuing to offer Intel's older Ivy Bridge chips in a bid to push consumers to the thinner and more expensive Retina MacBook Pro models. Apple may also be upgrading to faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi in its next-generation machines.
Following a disappointing update for the Mac Pro last year, coming approximately two years after the previous update, Apple took the unusual step of confirming that the company would have a redesigned Mac Pro for "later" in 2013. Some rumors had suggested that Apple might launch the new Mac Pro this spring, but the update failed to come to fruition. Apple has even been forced to halt sales of the current Mac Pro in Europe over non-compliance with certain safety requirements.
WWDC represents a reasonable opportunity for Apple to update the Mac Pro given the developer and professional focus for the conference, and stocks of the workstation are said to be running low. Timing may not, however, be in Apple's favor, as at this point the Mac Pro would be expected to adopt Intel's Ivy Bridge E processors, the full line of which is not expected until around September of this year. Still, it is possible that Apple could announce a new Mac Pro at WWDC with availability scheduled for the future.
Live Keynote Coverage
The WWDC 2013 keynote kicks off at 10:00 AM Pacific Time on Monday, June 10, and we will be providing live updates here. We will also be issuing Twitter updates through our @MacRumorsLive account. Separate news stories regarding the event announcements will go out through our @MacRumors account.
Intel today officially announced the launch of its latest family of Core processors, formerly known as "Haswell". The new processors are making their way into a number of new computers, and are expected to be included in Apple's next-generation Macs, some of which are likely to make their debuts at next week's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).
The new chips offer significant improvements in integrated graphics performance, as well as modest CPU performance improvements and a major effort toward increasing battery life in notebooks.
Delivering Intel's largest generation-over-generation gain in battery life enablement in company history, 4th generation Intel Core processors can bring an 50 percent improvement in battery life over the previous generation in active workloads when watching movies or surfing the Internet, and two to three times improvement in standby battery life. For some systems coming to market this year, over 9 hours of active use battery life or 10 to 13 days of standby with fresh data on a single charge is expected.
Ars Technica has been providing overviews of the new chips, beginning with the quad-core desktop and notebook chips that were unveiled over the weekend. That group included six Core i7 and six Core i5 chips for desktop machines, as well as ten varieties of Core i7 notebook chips.
All of the mobile parts being announced today belong to the i7 family and, like their desktop counterparts, they're all quad-core chips with Hyperthreading enabled. The differences here come in the suffixes: the MX and MQ parts (reversed from Ivy Bridge's QM and QX suffixes) come with the Intel HD 4600 GPU, while most of the HQ parts come with the faster Iris Pro 5200 GPU.
With today's announcement of dual-core Haswell chips highlighted by AnandTech, the picture for Apple's notebook lineup comes into more focus. Intel has emphasized mobile chips for this round of dual-core launches, a move that will likely see the chips showing in updated MacBook Airs and 13-inch MacBook Pros as soon as next week.
A notebook refresh is expected to be the hardware highlight of WWDC alongside previews of OS X 10.9 and iOS 7. The latest rumors suggest that Apple may even be able to slim down the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, which is currently slightly thicker than its 15-inch sibling. Less substantial tweaks are expected for the MacBook Air, although the move to Haswell should offer significant performance improvements in certain areas.
9to5Mac reports that it has received an initial set of leaked model numbers for products expected to be released at next week's Worldwide Developers Conference.
The first series of codes that we have received are:
MD711LL/A — Better — USA
MD712LL/A — Best – USA
MD760LL/A — Better – USA
MD761LL/A — Best – USA
While the identities of the products corresponding to the four model numbers is unknown, the pattern showing two sets of two models suggests that they may be either MacBook Air or Retina MacBook Pro models at two different screen sizes, corresponding to Apple's current stock configurations. Apple's non-Retina MacBook Pro is currently offered in only a single stock configuration at the larger 15-inch size, suggesting that these model numbers may not represent that line.
A second set of model numbers have also leaked, but it is unclear to what products they refer:
ME177LL/A — Better — USA
ME182LL/A — Best — USA
ME918LL/A — Good — USA
A notebook refresh is expected to the hardware highlight of WWDC, although Apple is likely to introduce a number of new products once accessories and configuration options are accounted for.
9to5Mac also notes that, beyond the notebooks, supplies of the Mac Pro and Mac mini are also somewhat constrained, although not to the same level as seen for notebooks. As a result, desktop updates may come somewhat later in the year.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has proven to have relatively reliable information over the past several years, released a new research note last week highlighting his expectations for changes to Apple's notebook lineup at next week's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). With Intel preparing to launch its latest Haswell processors this week, Apple will be able to make significant upgrades to at least part of its notebook lineup, but additional changes appear to be in store as well.
Among the most interesting predictions from Kuo is word that the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro will see a slightly slimmer design, as well as an improved camera. Kuo had indicated as long ago as January that Apple would be tweaking the design of the Retina MacBook Pro this year, despite having just introduced the form factor last year.
We expect the 13” Retina MacBook Pro will have a slightly slimmer form factor for increasing its portability. Also, we think the camera spec will be upgraded from HD to full HD. This will improve Facetime and video conference quality in the high resolution Retina display.
Kuo also now believes that Apple will not be upgrading the non-Retina MacBook Pro, instead simply continuing to sell the current Ivy Bridge-based models as it seeks to phase out the non-Retina line. Kuo had originally believed that Apple would discontinue the non-Retina line at this year's WWDC, but adjusted his predictions earlier this year based on the belief that continued strong sales of the machines would drive Apple to continue selling them.
On the MacBook Air, Kuo believes that the line will see a shift to dual built-in microphones, as was introduced on the Retina MacBook Pro last year.
We forecast that this year’s new MacBook Air model will also have dual built-in microphones as a result of positive feedback on this feature in Retina MacBook Pro, which delivers clear voice quality on Facetime and VoIP service.
Overall, Kuo expects that improvements to the Retina MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, along with stagnation of the non-Retina MacBook Pro line, will continue Apple's shift toward solid-state storage in its notebooks. Kuo's predictions see Apple putting solid-state storage in 64% of its notebook shipments this year, up from 45% last year when the company began transitioning the MacBook Pro line.
Despite Apple's updates, Kuo believes that the company will see a 10-20% decline in notebook shipments for 2013, with a slow overall PC market and cannibalization by the iPad contributing to lower sales. The company's predicted strategic move to lower the appeal of the non-Retina MacBook Pro would likely also contribute to declining sales unless pricing on Retina models can be lowered.
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.
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