Apple may surprise with late-2011 MacBook Pro refresh

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Exclusive: With Intel's next-generation Core i-Series mobile platform not expected until the second quarter of 2012, Apple is reportedly preparing a refresh of its professional notebook line ahead of the holiday shopping season to better bridge the gap, AppleInsider has been told.



According to people with proven insight into Apple's future product plans, the late-2011 MacBook Pro refresh will deliver marginal speed bumps to the notebooks' Core i-Series of Sandy Bridge processors but will otherwise introduce no material changes over the existing models.*



While precise timing for the update may change, those same people say the Mac maker currently anticipates an introduction of the refreshed line before the end of the month, possibly following the close of the company's Back-to-School promotion, which ends on September 20th.



Word of the new models comes just one week after Intel quietly refreshed its Sandy Bridge lineup of processors, adding four new Core i7 chips suited for adoption by the MacBook Pro in addition to slashing prices on some other chips, while phasing out a handful of others.



In particular, the chipmaker introduced new 2.4GHz, 2.5GHz and 2.7GHz quad-core Core i7 processors that could replace the 2.0GHz, 2.2GHz and 2.3GHz versions offered in the current 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros, in addition to a 2.8GHz dual-core Core i7 that could serve as an upgrade path for the current 2.7GHz 13-inch MacBook Pro.



Intel introduced 4 new Core i7 mobile chips this month.



As for the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro, Intel continues to list a couple of Core i5 chips at speeds of 2.5GHz to 2.6GHz that Apple could elect to use to bump 2.3GHz Core i5 MacBook Pro for little to no cost increase. *



The chips above are also well-suited for the entry-level Core i5 MacBook Pro.



In addition to these chips, which are listed on Intel's latest price sheet [PDF] dated September 4th, Apple may have discounted access to handful of older Core i5 and Core i7 chips that were introduced early this year, such as the 2.1GHz and 2.3GHz quad-core Core i7 models.



Although the new models may come as somewhat of a surprise for industry watchers given that there has been no indication that Apple is drawing down inventories of existing models, the refresh is likely geared towards assuring the Mac maker's top-selling notebook family remains competitive in the market until Intel releases its next-generation Ivy Bridge platform at some point in 2012.



Ivy Bridge was originally slated to debut in late 2011, but leaked documents from Intel surfaced in May and revealed that the next-generation processors are slated to arrive at some point in the first half of 2012. The Ivy Bridge chips are now scheduled to become available at some point in March or April of next year.



This week, Intel began to share details on its 2012 Ivy Bridge lineup, promising up to 60 percent faster performance with its integrated graphics. All mobile versions of the chips bound for Apple's next MacBook Pros will sport Intel's GT2 GPUs, known as HD Graphics 3000.







The MacBook Pro remains the bread and butter of Apple's mostly mobile Mac business, even as the newer, thin-and-light MacBook Air gains in sales. Apple's MacBook Pros are the only notebooks offered by the company that still offer discrete graphics, making them the only option for video professionals and power users on the go.



In addition, the MacBook Pro remains the only Apple notebook with screen sizes larger than 13-inches. While the MacBook Air (and now defunct white MacBook) max out at 13-inches, the MacBook Pro still comes in 15- and 17-inch screen sizes, with faster CPUs and graphics to accompany the greater screen real estate.







Apple last updated its MacBook Pro lineup in February, giving its entry-level 13-inch models dual-core Sandy Bridge Core i5 and i7 chips at speeds of 2.3GHz and 2.7Ghz. The higher-end 15- and 17-inch models gained quad-core Sandy Bridge Core i7 chips at speeds of up to 2.3Ghz.



The new notebooks, which are depicted in the chart above, were also upgraded to add Apple's new high-speed Thunderbolt data and video port. All of the early 2011 MacBook Pros sport discrete AMD graphics processors.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 135
    Because i ordered the top of line MBP on Sunday this was a given.
  • Reply 2 of 135
    Holding out for an iMac built for Lion. Last one is getting a little stale. Or at least a keyboard/touchpad combination, MacBook style.
  • Reply 3 of 135
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,803member
    This shouldnt surprise anybody. Everything is in place for a bump, I pretty much detailed this in another thread a couple of days ago. To be honest though I was thinking the end of October.
  • Reply 4 of 135
    I really hope they improve the heat patterns. When I use skype, it sounds like the laptop is about to take off.
  • Reply 5 of 135
    AI is running out of rumors to write about so now we get speculation. If correct you will read about accuracy of reporting. If not correct you'll never read another work about a MBP by year's end.

    50/50 guess. An equally good a chance to be right or wrong.

    I'm outta here.
  • Reply 6 of 135
    This would not be much of a bump, but the current MBP's would drop in price by at least a couple of hundred dollars. making them an excellent deal.



    Also, there is $500 price difference between the 2.5 Quad i7 and the 2.7 Quad i7. I doubt if Apple will offer the 2.7 as a BTO upgrade.
  • Reply 7 of 135
    I LOVE my Early 2011 13" MBP 2.3GHZ - it is the fastest laptop I have ever owned and the quality of construction is unsurpassed. Yes there was a moment where the new 13" MBA with the i5 processor was calling my name - but for $200 I can get 8GB memory and a 120GB SSD - That is the way I'm going before I trade up or sideways or whatever.... If you have a chance to pick one up - go for it - I got mine at Microcenter for $999 - I don't know if they have the same deal - So, until they radically change the MBP - I am a happy hoser.
  • Reply 8 of 135
    bigpicsbigpics Posts: 1,371member
    Sigh. I was holding out for a new 15" form factor Pro (likely sans ODD, possibly with SSD + HDD and maybe a pound lighter + whatever other sweetness) in the 1st Q of 2012, but looks not to be in the cards until Summer. Too long - and since I usually keep hardware for 4-6 years, I want the next real iteration, not drop the same amount on what I'm giving odds is the last build of the old shell.



    So as a more affordable bridge ('cos mine's out), might as well pounce on the first refurb'd 13" current model Air I can find - or as Apple Green noted above, wait for a price drop on refurbed early 2011 MBP's - and "lease" one or the other for a year (i.e., buy now and sell it for a decent price in late 2012) when the Ivy Bridge pros come out.



    (BTW, you can now readily find current refurb'd iPad 2's on the store site now, but if there are any 2011 Airs, they're gone in no time. Unless someone else knows of a supply....??)



    Won't meet all my needs for mobile speeds, views and feeds for the next x years, but will get me a) outta the weeds, and b) into the iCloud....
  • Reply 9 of 135
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,624member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post


    Holding out for an iMac built for Lion. Last one is getting a little stale. Or at least a keyboard/touchpad combination, MacBook style.



    I'm loving my late 2009 quad i7 iMac, but I'm holding out for an iMac that uses the MBA-style SSD setup. I really think that is where Apple is going to go. TB external drives and internal SSD drives ala MBA. That will make for super-thin iMacs and only the CPU/GPU will be the last things to deal with heat dissipation.



    My current iMac has Lion on it. Sure it's not "built" for Lion, but it seems pretty solid. Are you thinking there's a problem with upgraded macs vs. mac's coming out of factory pre-installed with Lion?



    My 6-week old MBA came with Lion installed and it still is a little quirky.
  • Reply 10 of 135
    Come on, give the MBP a real refresh already. It's had the same stupid glass-screen design forever.



    What do these do:

  • Reply 11 of 135
    "All of the early 2011 MacBook Pros sport discrete AMD graphics processors."



    Except the 13" model, which uses Intel integrated graphics. Does no one proof read anymore?



    And this is fine with me, because I was looking to trade up my 2009 MBP to a 2011 model in the next month anyway.
  • Reply 12 of 135
    Refresh the Mac Pro design already...



    Don't refresh the MBP and force me to use Lion...ugh...you need to fix Lion first.
  • Reply 13 of 135
    The 13" Macbook Pro is looking weak. Yes, it's the only Pro Macbook with integrated graphics - but with a 1280x800 screen, it's at lower resolution than the 13" Macbook Air, and with even fewer pixels than the 11" Air. The 13" Air appears better value - same HD graphics, higher-res screen.



    Bumping the 13" and 15" Pro screensizes up - to 1440x900 (13") and 1680x1050 (15", already available as an option) has to be done.
  • Reply 14 of 135
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macosxp View Post


    Come on, give the MBP a real refresh already. It's had the same stupid glass-screen design forever.



    Please tell me you're making a terrible joke.



    Quote:

    What do these do:





    PLEASE tell me you're making a terrible joke?
  • Reply 15 of 135
    I predict a huge event in SF to announce this--and only this--new MBP. The reason is that Tim Cook wants to do a keynote dry run, make sure his slides are in order and that his gray short-sleeve turtleneck, Lee jeans and Adidas running shoes are in shimmering condition.
  • Reply 16 of 135
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ernstcs View Post


    Refresh the Mac Pro design already?



    For what purpose?



    Quote:

    Don't refresh the MBP and force me to use Lion...ugh...you need to fix Lion first.



    What's "broken"?
  • Reply 17 of 135
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,151member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ernstcs View Post


    Refresh the Mac Pro design already...



    Don't refresh the MBP and force me to use Lion...ugh...you need to fix Lion first.



    I've been using Lion since the day it launched, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. I could never go back to SL. It's their best selling OS yet and has garnered almost universal positive reviews. Don't make blanket statements. It's a new OS so obviously doesn't have 2 years of updates, but for most it seems to run just fine. Maybe Apple should keep selling the last 5 iterations of its OS, so it doesnt 'force you' to use its latest one. Or, maybe they should give you an option of what OS to have pre-installed on their new machines? I'm sure theres a few that still prefer OS9.



    RIdiculous.
  • Reply 18 of 135
    Hmm somehow I had missed the news back in May about Ivy Bridge being delayed till March or April. That really sucks. My wife and I were all set to take the plunge and switch over to Macs w/MBPs in February, but I guess we can hold off on our tax return for a bit longer and buy the new Ivy Bridge ones.
  • Reply 19 of 135
    I just bought an MBP. I don't want any refresh now.
  • Reply 20 of 135
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rbonner View Post


    I really hope they improve the heat patterns. When I use skype, it sounds like the laptop is about to take off.



    That is the fault of Skype, as it uses a lot of CPU power for video chatting.

    As the newer CPUs use the same TDP with just a slightly faster frequency, it will probably stay the same, unless Skype improves their code.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    What's "broken"?



    Spaces and Exposé for example, but not many people (majority) seem to be missing it. But I can't live without Spaces, I have twelve of them, four columns and three rows. How should I cram that into 12 tiny shite icons on the top of the stupid screen, especially with ten to 20 applications open?



    PS: I tried Lion for a month on my home iMac with my usual uses and it is just not for me. There will always be some minority not really liking some progress, but I never thought I would be part of such minority.

    MC is still a bit buggy too on the version I used, which was just 10.7.0, I may try again when 10.7.5 or .6 arrives.



    PPS: Which is the current Lion version - 10.7.1?







    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RAMK View Post


    I just bought an MBP. I don't want any refresh now.



    Your MBP will not stop working, you know? Or is that the longing to have the newest and fastest MBP in your hands, even if you don't might need it and especially since this will only be a slight CPU speed update, which is hardly noticeable for every day tasks like calculating the likes.
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