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Rumor: Apple's 12-inch MacBook Air to enter production in Q3

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
A report out of East Asia on Tuesday claims Apple's partner manufacturers will begin production of the long-rumored 12-inch MacBook Air sometime in the third quarter.


Apple's 2014 product roadmap as predicted by KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.


Citing the usual upstream supply chain sources, hit-or-miss Taiwanese publication DigiTimes reports Quanta Computer will begin mass production of the rumored 12-inch MacBook Air in quarter three, which technically starts in July.

According to the publication, Apple is planning to stick with the current MacBook Air design, with only minor unseen tweaks to rearrange certain internal structures and accommodate an adequately sized battery.

Sources said Apple is introducing the new format Air to delineate a clear boundary between the 11-inch model and the iPad Air, which boasts a 9.7-inch screen. Confusingly, the same sources contradict themselves by claiming Quanta Computer was chosen to build a rumored 12-inch iPad in the second half of 2014, a move that would completely negate efforts to define product boundaries by screen size. In any case, the super-sized iPad project has supposedly been delayed.

The timing is consistent with predictions from noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a strong track record in forecasting Apple's hardware releases, said in April that he expected Apple to launch a 12-inch Air towards the middle or end of the third quarter.

Kuo believes the new model will be a combination of the 11-inch MacBook Air's portability and the 13-inch model's performance. He also noted that the 12-inch thin-and-light could be the first MacBook Air model to feature a Retina-quality display.
post #2 of 47
16:10 screen please!

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post #3 of 47
That timeline certainly seems reasonable, insofar if all those devices do get released that I could see them getting updated in that order around those timeframe, except perhaps for that 5.5" iPhone which would appear to be placed right at Christmas, which is far too late. Even the low-volume Mac Pro started shipping earlier in the month of December. That would seem to be folly for that device but I also have a hard time seeing a 5.5" iPhone without something major added. Was there talk of new digitizer APIs for iOS 8 at WWDC or is that my imagination.

I can definitely the logic in replacing 11" and 13" MBAs with a 12" model and I'd love to see a new Mac mini and Retina Thunderbolt Display, too.

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post #4 of 47
I don't see the point in the 12" MacBook Air, unless it is going to replace both the 11" and the 13". A third model in between the two current models makes no logical sense to me at all.

But then if that 12" new Air model has a retina screen, how do you make the 13" Retina Pro differentiated?
post #5 of 47

Did they forget to put the Mac Mini on that chart? The Mac Mini hasn't been upgraded in ages, and since 2014 is supposed to be the mother of all product releases for Apple, I would definitely expect to see a new Mac Mini. According to another site which tracks release dates, it's been 608 days since the last Mac Mini Release.

 

I am of course typing this for purely selfish reasons, as I'm thinking about picking up a Mac Mini, but there had better be some new ones soon.

 

I'm also looking forward to the new iPad releases. I doubt that there is going to be any larger iPad or any iPad Pro this year, but I'll be more than happy with a faster and more powerful iPad Air with Touch ID.

 

It'll also be interesting to see what the rumored "iWatch" is like. Also the new, larger iPhones should be interesting.

 

Actually, if Apple releases all of the products indicated on that chart in 2014 and also the Mac Mini, which is absent from that chart, then this will indeed be a very busy and good year for new Apple product releases.

post #6 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Did they forget to put the Mac Mini on that chart?

They also made no mention to the iPods which will have gone a full two years so I think it'll get an update.

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post #7 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


They also made no mention to the iPods which will have gone a full two years so I think it'll get an update.

 

Which iPod are you talking about, because according to that other site which I probably shouldn't mention on here, it's only been 286 days since the last iPod Touch, iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle release.

post #8 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Which iPod are you talking about, because according to that other site which I probably shouldn't mention on here, it's only been 286 days since the last iPod Touch, iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle release.

Then my mistake. For some reason I thought the HW for those hadn't been updated since 2009 for the iPod Classic, 2010 for the Shuffle, and 2012 for the Nano and Touch, save for the Touch getting a low-cost16GB version in May 2013.


edit: MacTracker seems to match up with my dates. The September 2013 updates appear to be changes to the casing color, not to the design, performance, or features.

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post #9 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Then my mistake. For some reason I thought the HW for those hadn't been updated since 2009 for the iPod Classic, 2010 for the Shuffle, and 2012 for the Nano and Touch, save for the Touch getting a low-cost16GB version in May 2013.

 

If I hadn't looked it up, then I wouldn't have known either, since I haven't been keeping close track of any iPod developments these past few years.

 

You're right about the Classic though. That thing hasn't seen an update since 2009. I'm thinking that it's pretty much dead, even though Apple still sells it.

post #10 of 47
The only thing that sells the classic is it's huge 160GB storage space. Apple haven't bothered updating it because they're encourging the next gen iPods, like the touch, and the app ecosystem they can continuously make money from. Once the touch gets 128GB, which could be this year, I believe the classic is goonnee.
post #11 of 47
What about the broadwell integration on the rMBP?
post #12 of 47
If there is a new MBA it better be retina otherwise what's the point? I'd love it if new Macs had a space gray option but my guess is we won't see that.
post #13 of 47

I wonder if they will lower the price or keep it the same?

post #14 of 47
Is it using an intel CPU or a ARM CPU?
post #15 of 47
"Sources said Apple is introducing the new format Air to delineate a clear boundary between the 11-inch model and the.."

But there is no 11" Macbook Air. It is 11.6" which as we know can be better described as 12".
If true it could have an industry standard 1080p 12" screen, maybe even switching from using a cheap TN panel to the IPS type.
post #16 of 47
The fact that we have seen the lower-cost iMac does help lend credibility to that chart.

The Classic really hasn't seen an update since 2007, when the iPod Touch was introduced. The 2009 "update" just consolidated the storage options to the sole 160GB model. That being said, I expect it will be discontinued soon, and I would expect the rest of the iPod lineup to largely be ignored. A new Touch is all I would count on.

Well past time for a new Mini, though. I hope they're not waiting for Broadwell.
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post #17 of 47

12" MBA (retina) to be the first Mac with touch screen. Will replace entire MBA line

post #18 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by herbapou View Post

Is it using an intel CPU or a ARM CPU?

It is highly unlikely that Apple will switch to an ARM CPU in their Macs anytime soon. One of the most important advantages of the Intel CPU is x86 compatibility, which lets people run Windows and Windows programs on Macs (Bootcamp, Parallels, etc.).

 

Better battery performance from an ARM CPU would not offset the loss of the x86 binary compatibility. Mac notebooks already have excellent battery performance, so there is little pressing need to sacrifice x86 application support for extra life.

 

There may also be chipset, GPU, and memory performance considerations with ARM that are disadvantageous vis-a-vis Intel architecture. Again, if the main ARM advantage is lower power consumption, that does not appear to be sufficient reason to switch architectures at this time.

 

Anyhow, this whole rumor sounds half-baked. It is DigiTimes after all. Perhaps ~95% of what they publish about Apple ends up wrong.

post #19 of 47
Quote:
 Kuo believes the new model will be a combination of the 11-inch MacBook Air's portability and the 13-inch model's performance.

 

This statement alone inclines me to disbelieve this report.

What performance difference is Kuo referring to when the only difference between the two Macbook Airs are the SDXC slot, screen size and battery size?

post #20 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ensoniq View Post

I don't see the point in the 12" MacBook Air, unless it is going to replace both the 11" and the 13". A third model in between the two current models makes no logical sense to me at all.

But then if that 12" new Air model has a retina screen, how do you make the 13" Retina Pro differentiated?
Idea is the 12 inch replaces both.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Did they forget to put the Mac Mini on that chart? The Mac Mini hasn't been upgraded in ages, and since 2014 is supposed to be the mother of all product releases for Apple, I would definitely expect to see a new Mac Mini. According to another site which tracks release dates, it's been 608 days since the last Mac Mini Release.

I am of course typing this for purely selfish reasons, as I'm thinking about picking up a Mac Mini, but there had better be some new ones soon.

I'm also looking forward to the new iPad releases. I doubt that there is going to be any larger iPad or any iPad Pro this year, but I'll be more than happy with a faster and more powerful iPad Air with Touch ID.

It'll also be interesting to see what the rumored "iWatch" is like. Also the new, larger iPhones should be interesting.

Actually, if Apple releases all of the products indicated on that chart in 2014 and also the Mac Mini, which is absent from that chart, then this will indeed be a very busy and good year for new Apple product releases.
Yep they forgot that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

They also made no mention to the iPods which will have gone a full two years so I think it'll get an update.
They forgot that mention as well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

If I hadn't looked it up, then I wouldn't have known either, since I haven't been keeping close track of any iPod developments these past few years.

You're right about the Classic though. That thing hasn't seen an update since 2009. I'm thinking that it's pretty much dead, even though Apple still sells it.
Classic seems to be dead because all it is is large capacity harddrive and now apples only devices with 1/2 harddrive are IMac and Mac mini.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

If there is a new MBA it better be retina otherwise what's the point? I'd love it if new Macs had a space gray option but my guess is we won't see that.
Most likely Retina.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marvfox View Post

I wonder if they will lower the price or keep it the same?
If it's retina they probably will have it between $1200 and $1500 and keep the old.

Quote:
Originally Posted by herbapou View Post

Is it using an intel CPU or a ARM CPU?
Likely still uses intel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aBeliefSystem View Post

"Sources said Apple is introducing the new format Air to delineate a clear boundary between the 11-inch model and the.."

But there is no 11" Macbook Air. It is 11.6" which as we know can be better described as 12".
If true it could have an industry standard 1080p 12" screen, maybe even switching from using a cheap TN panel to the IPS type.
People exclude the decimals, and it seems to point that despite a 1 inch smaller screen the new Mac book air will have same resolution as the 13 inch retina MacBook Pro.

With this all pointed out a elimination of the 13 inch Mac book pro may be possible and this long awaited retina Mac book air could replace it.
post #21 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

16:10 screen please!
that would be nice!
post #22 of 47
Originally Posted by jrui View Post
What about the broadwell integration on the rMBP?

 

Broadwell is Q2 2015, so even if this fantasy product exists, it can’t use it.

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post #23 of 47
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


They also made no mention to the iPods which will have gone a full two years so I think it'll get an update.

 

I honestly don't think Apple will be updating the iPods again. Truly I believe they will be discontinued within the next 3 years. 

post #24 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

Broadwell is Q2 2015, so even if this fantasy product exists, it can’t use it.

I think the same. But the thought of the possibility of buying today a new MBPr and in October see an overall upgrade stops me from buying

post #25 of 47
I look at my wife's 13inch MacBook Air. The bezel adds almost an inch to each diagonal. So what if Apple made that model ever so slightly larger -- but added a bezel free screen?

You'd have a 15 inch screen on an Air almost the size of the 13 inch. Therefore a '12 inch' MacBook Air might be able to house a 13 inch bezel free screen.

I believe both would be an amazingly popular products.
post #26 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Pool Man View Post

I look at my wife's 13inch MacBook Air. The bezel adds almost an inch to each diagonal. So what if Apple made that model ever so slightly larger -- but added a bezel free screen?

You'd have a 15 inch screen on an Air almost the size of the 13 inch. Therefore a '12 inch' MacBook Air might be able to house a 13 inch bezel free screen.

I agree with shrinking the bezel down a bit on the Air. I wouldn't say bezel-free because it's nice to have a buffer for the edge of the content and there's a camera in the bezel but they can push it out a bit. The old Powerbook bezels looked smaller:



The screen has to be positioned right vs the curvature of the corner or it looks odd. The Powerbook had sharper corners.

Fitting a 13" screen into a 12" size would be a bit too much IMO. I think they'd get away with drawing a circle round the corner and pushing the screen to the circle edge:





This is an increase of about 4% so an 11.6" Air would house a 12.1" display like the old 12" Powerbook. The 15.4" MBP could house a 16" display.

I'd like to see Apple make a 12" Retina Air, a larger ~15" Retina Air to replace both 13" Air and 13" Pro and then have the 15" Pro. The larger Air could be 14" while the Pro moves to 16" or they can both stick to 15" and reduce the chassis size. Whatever combination suits.
post #27 of 47
I think 12“ is too small for the MBA. I don‘t think Apple will go below 13“.
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post #28 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

I think 12“ is too small for the MBA. I don‘t think Apple will go below 13“.

 

Yeah, an 11" MBA is highly unlikely!

post #29 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by fastasleep View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

I think 12“ is too small for the MBA. I don‘t think Apple will go below 13“.

Yeah, an 11" MBA is highly unlikely!

You said it.
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post #30 of 47

The Jobsing of Aperture leads me to believe that Apple knows its product line is growing too wildly and needs to be pruned a bit. If this translates to hardware, I expect that the 11" will be cut when the line goes Retina.

 

I know this is anecdotal, but I don't think I've personally seen anyone with an 11" in at least two years. I'd be interested to hear the stories of those who have one and do real work on them. At the Apple Store, it always looks too small for my personal needs.

 

The wild card is Apple's desire to go low-cost. The stripped down iMac shows that Apple sees a market for the low-cost niche in these turbulent economic times.

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post #31 of 47
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
The wild card is Apple's desire to go low-cost. The stripped down iMac shows that Apple sees a market for the low-cost niche in these turbulent economic times.

 

What desire? Apple posted record quarters every single quarter during the recession, which some would say is still on.

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post #32 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

The Jobsing of Aperture leads me to believe that Apple knows its product line is growing too wildly and needs to be pruned a bit. If this translates to hardware, I expect that the 11" will be cut when the line goes Retina.

I know this is anecdotal, but I don't think I've personally seen anyone with an 11" in at least two years. I'd be interested to hear the stories of those who have one and do real work on them. At the Apple Store, it always looks too small for my personal needs.

The wild card is Apple's desire to go low-cost. The stripped down iMac shows that Apple sees a market for the low-cost niche in these turbulent economic times.

I still see them in London. But I share your sentiment. To me, the 11" was always a compromise too far; it's just not a good ergonomic design because the screen is too low, whereas the 13" works well. That's partly why I have doubts about a 12" Air.
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post #33 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

What desire? Apple posted record quarters every single quarter during the recession, which some would say is still on.

 

But Apple JUST introduced a low-cost iMac with performance compromises beyond the normal.

 

I don't think they would do that without a good reason.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post


I still see them in London. But I share your sentiment. To me, the 11" was always a compromise too far; it's just not a good ergonomic design because the screen is too low, whereas the 13" works well. That's partly why I have doubts about a 12" Air.

 

The difference is that the 12" Powerbook was a decent machine. I used to own one.

 

Eventually, I moved to a 15" because of the screen limitations, but the 12" was decent enough for everyday mobile computing.

It just isn't a machine for photographers, serious video work or DTP.

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post #34 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

I know this is anecdotal, but I don't think I've personally seen anyone with an 11" in at least two years. I'd be interested to hear the stories of those who have one and do real work on them. At the Apple Store, it always looks too small for my personal needs.

I've seen people travel with them in Airports. They'll fit on the small tables very well and being extra small and light helps in hand luggage. I find them to be far too small though. I used to have a 12" Powerbook too and thought it was a good size but it did have a 4:3 display, which is better for documents and productivity and worse for movies.

The 13" MBA is currently 13.3". If they cut the display down a little, maybe not even as much as an inch and cut the chassis size down a bit to tighten the bezels, they should be able to easily replace both the 11" and 13" Air. Half way between 11.6" and 13.3" would be 12.5" so somewhere around that would be ok.
post #35 of 47
If Apples new hardware line up went 12", 14" & 16", I could see a lot of people getting behind the product line as the sizes would better suite a wide array of users. This especially if the new screen technologies allows Apple to control the physical size of the machines. That is ship a 16" machine that isn't much bigger physically than today's 15" and the same thing in regards to the 14" vs today's 13".

Given that I still have this idea in my head that the 12" device rumored is an ARM based device. Frankly if Apple got the OS capabilities right id go for An ARM based device in a heart beat.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

I still see them in London. But I share your sentiment. To me, the 11" was always a compromise too far; it's just not a good ergonomic design because the screen is too low, whereas the 13" works well. That's partly why I have doubts about a 12" Air.
post #36 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

But Apple JUST introduced a low-cost iMac with performance compromises beyond the normal.

I don't think they would do that without a good reason.
The economy is getting far worst every month. Businessman have to keep tabs on what is happening with the economy both domestically and world wide. As such I don't think they are seeing a pretty picture.
Quote:

The difference is that the 12" Powerbook was a decent machine. I used to own one.

Eventually, I moved to a 15" because of the screen limitations, but the 12" was decent enough for everyday mobile computing.
It just isn't a machine for photographers, serious video work or DTP.
As you get older even a 15" can seem a bit small. Of course that has lot to do with not seeing well. At my age I can admire the 11" Air and at the same time know that I'd never be happy with it as my only machine.
post #37 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I've seen people travel with them in Airports. They'll fit on the small tables very well and being extra small and light helps in hand luggage. I find them to be far too small though. I used to have a 12" Powerbook too and thought it was a good size but it did have a 4:3 display, which is better for documents and productivity and worse for movies.
I suspect iPad has absorbed most of the demand for the 11" machine. If ultra mobility is needed it is a far better choice than the 11" machine. If extreme mobility isn't needed I suspect most people would opt for a bigger less cramped machine.
Quote:
The 13" MBA is currently 13.3". If they cut the display down a little, maybe not even as much as an inch and cut the chassis size down a bit to tighten the bezels, they should be able to easily replace both the 11" and 13" Air. Half way between 11.6" and 13.3" would be 12.5" so somewhere around that would be ok.

I still like the idea expressed above of 2" increments starting at a 12" machine. Some of the new LCD technologies should allow for much smaller borders around the screen so the hope would be bigger screens in similar sized machines. A 16" screen in a 15" sized machine would be especially appealing.

I realize that there isn't exactly enough room to do this on most of Apples current machines. The idea though would be to minimize any physical increase in size.
post #38 of 47

I want a 14 or 15" macbook air.  Ready to buy when it comes out. :)

 

Ah I loved my 12" MBP.  My MBP 15" is still trucking nicely. My wife has MBA 11" Air and it's a cute little thing. If they keep it, they should make it even smaller with less bezel, which they could do. Harkens back to the Apple Duo days of subnotebooks. It's a cool option. In fact they should just make a touchscreen MacBook Air that runs iOS. An answer to MS Surface.  Then again, they want to sell you two products, not one.

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post #39 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquatic View Post

I want a 14 or 15" macbook air.  Ready to buy when it comes out. 1smile.gif

If they went 15", they could share the display panel between the Air and Pro and just switch out the base unit. This means their laptop line would only have 2 panels vs 4 if they dropped the old Air.

This may be why the laptop line is taking so long to update. It looks like Broadwell is off the table:

http://www.macrumors.com/2014/07/09/broadwell-early-to-mid-2015/
http://www.cpu-world.com/news_2014/2014052801_Intel_Broadwell_GPUs_to_use_HD_5x00_Iris_6100_and_Iris_Pro_6200_branding.html

That would have brought faster Iris Pro graphics. If they instead go the route of introducing a Retina Air, they won't want to do it near the April refresh. It's best to leave a 6 month separation. That would mean October.

A 13" Retina Air is not different enough from a 13" Pro to have both so I reckon they have to make a single model and I think it makes more sense to make a 14/15" Retina Air than a 13" model as the lower Retina model can take over the 13" rMBP role.

That site lists February 2015 for ULT chips for the Air. Maybe Apple could get chips for a late 2014 launch of a Retina Air but the 15" Pro would have to go with a Haswell Refresh and NVidia 800 series GPUs.

The iMac is probably going to go Retina this year too and will get Thunderbolt 2 to be able to drive Retina TB displays and I expect the Retina Airs will be able to drive these displays. A potential setup could be:

Retina 15" Air
dual-core i5 ULT chip
8GB RAM
128GB SSD
$1299

Retina Thunderbolt display $999

A future revision of Thunderbolt will also allow enough power to charge the laptop so you'd have one power cable at the back of the display and one thunderbolt cable to the laptop.
post #40 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

If they went 15", they could share the display panel between the Air and Pro and just switch out the base unit. This means their laptop line would only have 2 panels vs 4 if they dropped the old Air.

This may be why the laptop line is taking so long to update. It looks like Broadwell is off the table:

http://www.macrumors.com/2014/07/09/broadwell-early-to-mid-2015/
http://www.cpu-world.com/news_2014/2014052801_Intel_Broadwell_GPUs_to_use_HD_5x00_Iris_6100_and_Iris_Pro_6200_branding.html
If the Broadwell delay in fact happens the way it has been reported, I have to imagine that it will be screwing up many of Apples plans. We may not see new MBP until 2015 .
Quote:
That would have brought faster Iris Pro graphics. If they instead go the route of introducing a Retina Air, they won't want to do it near the April refresh. It's best to leave a 6 month separation. That would mean October.
I don't think Apple is so hung up on dates. They will ship when hardware is available. The longer hardware is delayed the greater the need to ship when that hardware finally comes.
Quote:
A 13" Retina Air is not different enough from a 13" Pro to have both so I reckon they have to make a single model and I think it makes more sense to make a 14/15" Retina Air than a 13" model as the lower Retina model can take over the 13" rMBP role.
I don't see a problem, all they need to do is keep the professional features on the 13"MBP. That is TB 2 ( 2 ports), faster graphics and a faster CPU in general. In fact it is about time the 13" MBP went quad core.
Quote:
That site lists February 2015 for ULT chips for the Air. Maybe Apple could get chips for a late 2014 launch of a Retina Air but the 15" Pro would have to go with a Haswell Refresh and NVidia 800 series GPUs.
Which has to piss Apple off to no end!

I do wonder though if they might have worked out a deal with Intel for custom chips. Sooner or later Intel will have no choice but to offer custom SoC solutions for customers and Apple is one of the few progressive companies here.
Quote:
The iMac is probably going to go Retina this year too and will get Thunderbolt 2 to be able to drive Retina TB displays and I expect the Retina Airs will be able to drive these displays. A potential setup could be:

Retina 15" Air
dual-core i5 ULT chip
8GB RAM
128GB SSD
$1299

Retina Thunderbolt display $999

A future revision of Thunderbolt will also allow enough power to charge the laptop so you'd have one power cable at the back of the display and one thunderbolt cable to the laptop.

The TB ports on a laptop are sources of power, I've seen no evidence that the power can be sourced from other devices to charge the laptop. It would certainly be interesting if true. I actually have problems with supplying that much power over flimsy cables and connectors. Sometimes it just doesn't make sense to keep tacking on features to a port just because. We will need to see what happens, Apples long delays between hardware updates is a bit frustrating.
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