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With dearth of major chip upgrades from Intel, Apple opts for cheaper Macs in 2014

post #1 of 66
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Apple fans hoping for significant Mac upgrades have been disappointed thus far in 2014, thanks in part to a lack of next-generation chips from Intel. That trend continued on Wednesday with the launch of a new low-end iMac that's focused on price rather than specs.




The new $1,099 iMac does feature a newer Intel chip: The dual-core i5-4260U, which debuted in the second quarter of 2014. But it also has half the cores and clocks in at 1.3 gigahertz slower than the $1,299 model, while the remaining iMacs remain unchanged, both in terms of price and specifications.

Lower pricing was also the focus in April, when Apple boosted the processors on its MacBook Air lineup by just 100 megahertz. The real selling point of those refreshed models is the price, with a new $899 starting cost positioning the latest MacBook Airs as the most affordable mass-market notebooks Apple has ever sold.

Apple's new $1,099 iMac doesn't quite reach those all-time-low levels for the company's all-in-one desktop lineup. But it does continue a trend of more affordable Macs that thus far has represented Apple's approach for selling new Macs in 2014.

It's possible that Apple's hand may have been forced.

In reality, the company is unlikely to introduce the kind of sweeping changes that dedicated fans desire until more powerful next-generation processors are available. Namely, the MacBook Air is expected to be updated to a new look with a high-resolution Retina display later this year, while iMac holdouts are hoping for a 4K-caliber resolution panel on future desktops.

To power those pixel-packing screens, Apple needs horsepower. And its sole Mac chipmaking partner, Intel, has yet to deliver in that category this year.

Intel
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich shows concept devices running new Quark CPUs. Image via ABC News.


The holdup is in Intel's next-generation chips, dubbed "Broadwell," which have seen numerous delays. Intel has promised that the first Broadwell CPUs will hit the market before the end of the year, but it remains unknown whether any of them will appear in time to power any of Apple's 2014 Mac lineup.

Broadwell is the codename used to refer to a 14-nanometer die shrink of Intel's existing 22-nanometer Haswell architecture. Intel says its new, smaller designs will bring a 30 percent reduction in power consumption while offering the same horsepower.

Apple's rumored MacBook Air with Retina display would be a prime candidate for Intel's more efficient Broadwell chips. The notebook is rumored to pack a high-resolution panel into an all-new 12-inch design that would be offered alongside the current 11- and 13-inch MacBook Airs with standard resolution screens.

The 12-inch Retina MacBook Air is also rumored to sport a fan-less design, which would require cooler and more efficient CPUs. Apple is also expected to achieve an exceptionally thin design with a new click-less trackpad and fewer inputs and outputs.

Another potential Broadwell candidate in 2014 would be Apple's high-end MacBook Pro lineup. Little has been said about that anticipated refresh, but if Broadwell chips were to be available in time, it's likely that Apple could offer greater performance with enhanced battery life.
post #2 of 66

Here we go. Again.

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post #3 of 66
Yes, there is a similarity between the Air and iMac updates. It makes you wonder if Apple might switch to their own ARM CPUs at some point.
post #4 of 66
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Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Yes, there is a similarity between the Air and iMac updates. It makes you wonder if Apple might switch to their own ARM CPUs at some point.

How much work would it take to shift to ARM? What do Intel CPUs do that ARM CPUs don't? I've heard acceptable GPUs might be a problem with ARM CPUs. Is the A7/8/whatever fast enough to power a desktop or is Intel still way ahead in this market?

 

I thought Grand Central was supposed to make it easier and automatic for applications to make use of multiple cores without any/much reprogramming. If so, why aren't we seeing two or three dual or quad core CPUs being used in an iMac? Wouldn't that be a way to improve the overall power of an iMac without having to wait for the latest Intel CPU? If this would work, then maybe the iMac needs to put on a little more girth to fit the extra CPUs. I don't see the iMac getting multiple GPUs, especially since the iMac isn't really geared toward the type of applications that use GPUs for computational power.

post #5 of 66
Seriously. Slowest news day ever. They've posted three articles apparently about some low end iMac. If DED writes one, I'm gonna be stunned. Nah, I'm kidding: I won't be stunned.

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post #6 of 66
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Originally Posted by rob53 View Post
 

How much work would it take to shift to ARM? What do Intel CPUs do that ARM CPUs don't? I've heard acceptable GPUs might be a problem with ARM CPUs. Is the A7/8/whatever fast enough to power a desktop or is Intel still way ahead in this market?

Fundamentally Intel CPUs don't do anything that ARM CPUs can't, they're both just Turing machines and all Turing machines are equivalent. The GPU question is an important one, mobile GPUs are a long way behind desktop ones. But still, look at some of the 3D graphics on the iPad these days, good enough for all but AAA games.

 

I don't know how they would perform on CAD or technical apps, that is some important testing Apple has to do in their labs before making the leap.

post #7 of 66
http://www.macrumors.com/2014/05/19/intel-broadwell-holiday-season/

Intel CEO seems pretty confident that Broadwell will ship Q4.
post #8 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Seriously. Slowest news day ever. They've posted three articles apparently about some low end iMac. If DED writes one, I'm gonna be stunned. Nah, I'm kidding: I won't be stunned.

Doing it this way will maximize Rogifan's chances for using the term "bean counter." He's doing the same thing at MacRumors today. He could set a new record.
post #9 of 66
I really, really need to upgrade my iMac (2009). So apparently the time is not now? 1frown.gif

Will we see any refresh in the fall? I don't know how much longer I can wait. Good grief, Apple.
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post #10 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post

Doing it this way will maximize Rogifan's chances for using the term "bean counter." He's doing the same thing at MacRumors today. He could set a new record.
I call it like I see it. And I'm not the only one who thinks this new iMac is overpriced. I do think its a bean counter move. Said the same thing about the 8GB 5C. At least Apple didn't send out a press release on that one.

There are so many great things about Tim Cook's Apple. They could have really given us a 'whoa' moment pricing this at $899 or even $999. Especially with Windows 8 being such a turd. And I hate seeing Chromebooks gain share in education markets.
Edited by Rogifan - 6/18/14 at 7:31am
post #11 of 66
Apple will never switch from the X86. But, unless Intel can keep up with the innovation that Apple expects, Apple will build their own.
post #12 of 66
$999 would have been better, IMO.

So we're sort of in a similar situation that Apple was in in the first half of the last decade. A partner who can't get new parts out fast enough.

At the very least the Mini could get a bump to Haswell...this current model is the longest-lasting in the Mini's history. It's dated.
post #13 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedHotFuzz View Post

I really, really need to upgrade my iMac (2009). So apparently the time is not now? 1frown.gif

Will we see any refresh in the fall? I don't know how much longer I can wait. Good grief, Apple.

Did you miss the point of this story? The problem is Intel's, likely the die shrink. What do you want Apple to do?
post #14 of 66
good...
post #15 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post


Did you miss the point of this story? The problem is Intel's, likely the die shrink. What do you want Apple to do?

 

How about reducing the price of *all* of these overdue-for-a-refresh models rather than just introduce a single cheaper model that appeals to very few of us on this forum?

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post #16 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedHotFuzz View Post

How about reducing the price of *all* of these overdue-for-a-refresh models rather than just introduce a single cheaper model that appeals to very few of us on this forum?
Troll. /s
post #17 of 66
I can't understand the release cycle for most of apples products. All we kinda know is iPhones and maybe iPods in the fall and that's it. It's really fustrating not knowing when a new Mac mini or MacBook comes out. Even the software, we only know when the an os will be out but other software who knows.

I would like to plan out certain upgrades for work. Mainly for budget purposes. I've been a customer for a fairly long time apple and I'm kinda pissed off with a poor schedule and not being able to plan stuff out.
post #18 of 66
On the iMac It's not the chip it's the screen. Outdated.
 
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post #19 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Broadwell is the codename used to refer to a 14-nanometer die shrink of Intel's existing 22-nanometer Haswell architecture. Intel says its new, smaller designs will bring a 30 percent reduction in power consumption while offering the same horsepower.

30 percent reduction in power consumption is a good thing for notebooks, but no big deal for iMac especially if it is the same horsepower. Seems like computers are already as fast as they need to be for consumer use. I think I'll pick up one of the new iMacs, maybe two. One for the kitchen and the other for the guest bedroom, just for surfing an email. I'm waiting for a 27" retina iMac for my home office though.

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post #20 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by waldobushman View Post

Apple will never switch from the X86. But, unless Intel can keep up with the innovation that Apple expects, Apple will build their own.

 

Never say never. Apple's shift from the 68000 (CISC) to PowerPC (RISC) was mostly seamless from the user's point of view. And who saw the shift from PowerPC to Intel? Apple said they were running their last few versions of Mac OS on Intel (for years) before that switch.

 

And Apple has accumulated companies and new hires for the A-series processor development. It is not out of the realm of possibility that Apple makes the switch to A-series for more products.

post #21 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by DennyC2013 View Post

I can't understand the release cycle for most of apples products. All we kinda know is iPhones and maybe iPods in the fall and that's it. It's really fustrating not knowing when a new Mac mini or MacBook comes out. Even the software, we only know when the an os will be out but other software who knows.

I would like to plan out certain upgrades for work. Mainly for budget purposes. I've been a customer for a fairly long time apple and I'm kinda pissed off with a poor schedule and not being able to plan stuff out.


Agree, bugger all since October 2013 and NOTHING till October 2014, I am starting to tire of Apple, yes their stuff can be good but boring now and these spec boost are futile, nothing to cream your pants about, even iPhone 6 is not that exciting.

post #22 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedHotFuzz View Post

How about reducing the price of *all* of these overdue-for-a-refresh models rather than just introduce a single cheaper model that appeals to very few of us on this forum?

So you're switching to a new whine. You were saying "I don't know how much longer I can wait . . . "

Why don't you go to an Intel forum and throw a fit there?
post #23 of 66
I wish Intel would simply come out with 8-core i5 and i7 chips. This would increase the speed when doing multi-core apps and would improve multitasking.
post #24 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post


So you're switching to a new whine. You were saying "I don't know how much longer I can wait . . . " If they lower the prices you won't wet your pants? Why don't you go to an Intel forum and throw a fit there?

 

Speaking of pants, who got yours in a twist?  As for my "fit" (whatever, dude), yes, a lower price would be a logical move for outdated hardware, even if the updates are being held back by an external supplier.

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post #25 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedHotFuzz View Post

Speaking of pants, who got yours in a twist?  As for my "fit" (whatever, dude), yes, a lower price would be a logical move for outdated hardware, even if the updates are being held back by an external supplier.
I'm not usually a fan of Mark Gurman but his tweet this morning announcing Apple's new 21.5" MacBook Air was pretty funny.
post #26 of 66
"Horsepower" that is almost as bad as "far east". May I suggest processing power.
post #27 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


I call it like I see it. And I'm not the only one who thinks this new iMac is overpriced. I do think its a bean counter move. Said the same thing about the 8GB 5C. At least Apple didn't send out a press release on that one.

There are so many great things about Tim Cook's Apple. They could have really given us a 'whoa' moment pricing this at $899 or even $999. Especially with Windows 8 being such a turd. And I hate seeing Chromebooks gain share in education markets.

Disrupting the pricing model from a .99c iPhone to a 999 MBA,  that would be a "Whoa, Duude!" moment.   But it didn't and won't happen in a press release.   Bean Counters or no, those moments require Tim or Craig standing in front of a Keynote screen that screams, "Inexpensive, but not Cheap!"   

 

Tim has always fought to keep the price tight to the market's ability to undercut it.   You may find a cheaper all-in-1 (yes, I'm an Old DEC hand), computer, but the vendor won't be able to make it as good or with much profit margin.

 

This is an 'eMac' pricing release.   without calling it as such.  at $1049 list for edu, plus volume discounts (and back to school discounts), this sets a base for desktops in schools (which they need plenty of, and they also need need little performance to support).   To me the big thing is the AC networking (streaming lessons in hard to wire classrooms), big glass, and the ability to pretty much epoxy close all the connectivity ports.   

 

ToG.

post #28 of 66

I personally still believe Apple will be moving Macs to their ARM processor, you seeing it today they are making OSX look and act more like IOS. With their new development tools it will make it easier for companies to make apps for both OSX an IOS.

 

Also, if you look at apple past, they start high and as they market begins to slow they move down into the next level. Mac sale maybe slowing so now they are considering the next level down and this change is a low risk approach to testing the waters.

post #29 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post

Disrupting the pricing model from a .99c iPhone to a 999 MBA,  that would be a "Whoa, Duude!" moment.   But it didn't and won't happen in a press release.   Bean Counters or no, those moments require Tim or Craig standing in front of a Keynote screen that screams, "Inexpensive, but not Cheap!"   

Tim has always fought to keep the price tight to the market's ability to undercut it.   You may find a cheaper all-in-1 (yes, I'm an Old DEC hand), computer, but the vendor won't be able to make it as good or with much profit margin.

This is an 'eMac' pricing release.   without calling it as such.  at $1049 list for edu, plus volume discounts (and back to school discounts), this sets a base for desktops in schools (which they need plenty of, and they also need need little performance to support).   To me the big thing is the AC networking (streaming lessons in hard to wire classrooms), big glass, and the ability to pretty much epoxy close all the connectivity ports.   

ToG.
Apple isn't even featuring this on apple.com (they did with the MBA update earlier this year). We got a press release but no comments from Schiller in it. I guess Apple is treating this as as a no big deal update.
post #30 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 


I don’t know about that. Plenty of times before the launch of the product it has been said that Intel doesn’t have any new CPUs and won’t until Q2 2015. Anyone demanding Apple to do something about this is either willfully ignorant or trolling.

 

Hoping for at least a price cut on overaged hardware while waiting for delayed processor updates is "trolling"?  Please.

 

As for DennyC2013's point, it's completely rational to wish for some sort of routine upgrade schedule for Apple OS X computing hardware.  As he mentioned, we have a reasonable expectation for iOS device updates occurring on a yearly basis in the fall.  Wouldn't it be nice if we could count on some sort of reliable schedule for desktop and laptop models as well?  (I'm speaking aside from the current Intel processor delay.)  When will the Mac Mini be updated?  Who knows?  Should I buy one now or wait?  Who knows?  It's frustrating.  If Apple ever really wants to become a fixture in enterprise, they are going to have to address this issue.

 

Sorry if any challenge to the less-than-ideal status quo is enough to send Flaneur into a spittle-fueled rage.  :no:

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post #31 of 66
Really wish that Apple would offer the iMac with a 256GB SSD standard.

Their base config laptops should not be faster than the base config 27" iMac!
post #32 of 66
Originally Posted by RedHotFuzz View Post

Hoping for at least a price cut on overaged hardware while waiting for delayed processor updates is "trolling"?  Please.

 

No, but that’s not what I said anyway.

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post #33 of 66
This is a pathetically underpowered computer in today's world. blehh . .
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post #34 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by xgman View Post

This is a pathetically underpowered computer in today's world. blehh . .

For you maybe, not for the majority of women and older people who just look at the internet and email.

 

I think that dipping into a lower market is a good way to get people in the Apple eco system.

They experience what Apple has to offer, when in previous years they may not have stumped up that much money just to see if the iMac was suitable when they could throw down $600 on a crap PC that they know works.

 

The majority of these people will trade up to a more expensive version next time around.

 

So don't be ignorant. Just because a lower spec iMac or iPhone doesn't suit you, doesn't mean there isn't a big market or a good reason to bring them out.

post #35 of 66
Originally Posted by xgman View Post
This is a pathetically underpowered computer in today's world. blehh . .

 

Which you know how, exactly?

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post #36 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedHotFuzz View Post

Hoping for at least a price cut on overaged hardware while waiting for delayed processor updates is "trolling"?  Please.

As for DennyC2013's point, it's completely rational to wish for some sort of routine upgrade schedule for Apple OS X computing hardware.  As he mentioned, we have a reasonable expectation for iOS device updates occurring on a yearly basis in the fall.  Wouldn't it be nice if we could count on some sort of reliable schedule for desktop and laptop models as well?  (I'm speaking aside from the current Intel processor delay.)  When will the Mac Mini be updated?  Who knows?  Should I buy one now or wait?  Who knows?  It's frustrating.  If Apple ever really wants to become a fixture in enterprise, they are going to have to address this issue.

Sorry if any challenge to the less-than-ideal status quo is enough to send Flaneur into a spittle-fueled rage.  1oyvey.gif

The story is about the uncertain availability of Intel's new processors. Then you say, "Good grief, Apple," because you don't know how much longer you can wait.

When you're called out for missing the point, you change your demand to across the board price reductions, never mind you needed the latest upgrade in the previous post. What's a person to think about your intentions?
post #37 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

No, but that’s not what I said anyway.

 

You said: "Anyone demanding Apple to do something about this is either willfully ignorant or trolling."

 

They can do something about this.  They can reduce the price on their overaged hardware to incentivize buyers while they wait for beyond-their-control new components to materialize.  Or bump up the stock HD sizes.  Or add an SSD by default.

 

There's nothing unreasonable or "ignorant" about such a request.  Product refreshes for Apple's desktop lineup have been woefully slow for years.  They don't need across-the-board updates all the time to keep the product line fresh.  Make some minor component tweaks or play with the price to juice sales.

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post #38 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedHotFuzz View Post

I really, really need to upgrade my iMac (2009). So apparently the time is not now? 1frown.gif

Will we see any refresh in the fall? I don't know how much longer I can wait. Good grief, Apple.

 

the delays are entirely due to Intel, not apple. apple doesnt build new intel's chips.

 

but -- the time to upgrade is when you need it. if you need the machine now, get one for gods sake. in 2012 i upgraded my old imac to a mid-2011 refurb -- 256GB SSD HD, 16GB ram, 2GB VRAM. the thing absolutely screams compared to my prior machine, and im still very happy w/ it, especially for gaming (Payday 2 today).

post #39 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedHotFuzz View Post
 

How about reducing the price of *all* of these overdue-for-a-refresh models rather than just introduce a single cheaper model that appeals to very few of us on this forum?

 

readers of this forum arent going to be interested in the lowest-end imac. ever. it's not designed for you.

post #40 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by DennyC2013 View Post

I can't understand the release cycle for most of apples products. All we kinda know is iPhones and maybe iPods in the fall and that's it. It's really fustrating not knowing when a new Mac mini or MacBook comes out. Even the software, we only know when the an os will be out but other software who knows.

I would like to plan out certain upgrades for work. Mainly for budget purposes. I've been a customer for a fairly long time apple and I'm kinda pissed off with a poor schedule and not being able to plan stuff out.

 

re-read the article, if you even read it the first time.

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