Its been a long time, almost too long. Apple is finally getting rid of the unibody design and redesigning their Macbooks to be thinner, sleeker and more powerful. Or so the rumours say. You want to know what is really going on? We have our industry specialist on the case, our top man on the M.I.C. team, back from Wujiang and he has a lot to tell you. More after the jump.
So firstly, we at M.I.C. can unequivocally tell you that the alleged spec sheet for the 13-inch MacBook Pro floating around the internet from the Chinese forum Weiphone is fake. It’s photoshopped. How do we know? There is NO 13-inch MacBook Pro being updated. Whether this means that it will be dropped like the white one was, or will be updated later remains to be seen.
New Design For 15-inch MacBook Pro
However, we have to tell you that the MacBook Air line — 11-inch/13-inch models — will be revamped with Ivy Bridge and new screens. The same goes for the 15 inch Macbook Pro. We are told the 17-inch model is also going to get the redesign, but due to GPU related issues it may not be ready for WWDC. We will talk more on that later in this post.
Every computer in the Pro line will be much thinner, and have newer USB and Thunderbolt on it. Expect new accessories to go along with them also.
Here’s the important info we’ve got: Our contacts (a Taiwan-based LCD backlight unit (BLU) maker) in Wujiang Special Economic Zone, covered here, who makes the actual screens has told us there is no longer a thicker 13-inch screen. They are producing the MacBook Pro 15/17-inch and the MacBook Air 11/13-inch ones right now for new units. Interesting? Most certainly.
What does this make us think? Apple is combining the Pro/Air line. They are redesigning everything from scratch. To put it bluntly it looks like the optical drive is going to be a thing of the past. This is what we were told.
The GPU Conundrum
Have you heard of Kepler? From Nvidia? I’m sure you have, it’s the latest and greatest GPU on the face of the earth. Fast, efficient and capable of some benchmarks making any rival company jealous. Naturally Apple wants the best for their customers so they chose Kepler and Nvidia, instead of ATI. This being said, the 28nm wafers at TSMC have been unkind to Nvidia. They can barely keep in stock their desktop GPUs let alone ramp up enough for Apple to sell. We know Apple was testing the GT640/650M, but that one phone call from the Apple executives to Nvidia must have been heartbreaking to say the least.
This means two things. One, expect ATI stuff in dedicated form, unless Nvidia can pull some big magic and get those wafers fixed. Highly unlikely within at least two quarters (by then its GK110 time).
The other thing is that Intel and their underpowered graphics will be making a strong showing again, increasing Apple’s margins but lowering performance for users. To give you reader’s an idea, playing Minecraft on a HD4000 is about 20 fps, far below the needed 30fps for smooth play. Expect these in the Macbook Airs, and switchable graphic solutions.
Awhile back, a company “delayed” the initial Intel Ivy Bridge batches, so they could stuff the top end graphics chip in there. Intel supposedly lost millions. I wonder what company on Earth is so powerful they could do that? Although the company who made the order was never named, it was Apple.
The “Retina” Issue
So readers you have weak graphics and need to fill more pixels. What happens? Heat lots of it. Where does the heat come from? Wasted energy. Expect the new Macs to have (hopefully) better cooling. We are told the heatpipes are redesigned, and the batteries also have more density. We are very much hoping for similar battery life, to the previous generation.
However, hopes are dashed quite often. Look at the iPad 3, does it charge properly with the “new” battery? Nope. It gets hot too. We at M.I.C. predict there will be complaints and issues pertaining to heat and battery-related items. We challenge Apple to prove us wrong.
On top of this Ivy bridge, the 22nm part is a poor fab shrink. It has significant issues on some CPUs. We also predict power loss form inefficiency at best, a recall at worst. Why? Apple units use BGA, so no socket, they aren’t user swappable. So far very few companies utilize this, it is unproven on the market in top end format. We will see what happens.
WWDC is coming up fast, we hope Apple wont keep us waiting for too long. As usual we will keep you informed.
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