Circumstances likely to see Apple push MacBook Pro refresh to November

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
A refresh to Apple's professional line of notebooks once anticipated for an introduction as early as September may not roll out until early next month.



The late-2011 MacBook Pros, first detailed by AppleInsider back in September, 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, according to a person familiar with the products.



That person said that the notebooks' planned introduction in late September was put on the back burner once the release dates for iOS 5.0 and iPhone 4S were solidified, as Apple pooled all available resources to support the launch -- the largest and most rapid yet in the Cupertino-based company's history.



Since then, the launch date for the Late 2011 MacBook Pros has reportedly been a moving target. However, a second person with proven accuracy in predicting Apple's product launch dates says the Mac maker is now advising its partners not to expect availability of the new models until the first week of November.



It's unclear whether the latest holdup is related to the situation over at Catcher Technology. The Taiwanese casing manufacturer of uni-body MacBook enclosures was ordered to cease operations earlier this week after the local government received complaints regarding "strange odors" emanating from one of its factories.



Catcher has since vowed to invest $2-3 million to get the plant, which is responsible for churning out roughly 60% of Apple's MacBook Pro and MacBook Air enclosures, back online by November. The manufacturer's president, Allen Horng, had previously said that total shipments would fall 20% in October and could drop by as much as 40% in November if the local government refuses to allow the plant to resume production.



The circumstances surrounding the MacBook Pro refresh are likely to see availability of existing models become increasing constrained over the next week or so. Apple is reported to have ramped down production of the 17-inch model over a month ago, with production of the higher-end 15-inch models following suit shortly thereafter.







As such, three of Apple's largest authorized resellers -- Amazon.com, MacMall and MacConnection -- have already run out of stock of both models, leading the former to offer to fill customer orders for the high-end 15-inch MacBook Pro through a third party for $2,699.97, or more than 20% above MSRP.



Though minor, the Late 2011 MacBook Pro refresh will bridge the gap between now and the time Intel launches its new Ivy Bridge mobile platform in the first half of 2012 -- the next time the world's largest chipmaker will offer a means for notebook vendors to upgrade their designs.



The speed bumps to this year's models will be made possible through a quite refresh to Intel's Sandy Bridge lineup of processors introduced in early September. The company added four new Core i7 branded chips that would be likely candidates to advance the MacBook Pro's performance. For instance, the latest 2.4GHz, 2.5GHz and 2.7GHz quad-core CPUs could respectively replace the 2.0GHz, 2.2GHz, and 2.3GHz currently found in Apple's 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros.



As for the 13-inch MacBook Pro Intel's 2.8GHz dual-core Core i7 CPU is a viable replacement for the 2.7GHz chip currently used in the high-end model. And the entry-level MacBook Pro could benefit from Intel's 2.5GHz and 2.6GHz Core i5 chips.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 44
    kotatsukotatsu Posts: 1,010member
    I'm waiting for Ivy Bridge. A 6 core Ivy Bridge iMac with USB 3 on board would be a pretty nice syste,.
  • Reply 2 of 44
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,720member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kotatsu View Post


    I'm waiting for Ivy Bridge. A 6 core Ivy Bridge iMac with USB 3 on board would be a pretty nice syste,.



    Let's just hope that Ivy Bridge holds up to the hype.
  • Reply 3 of 44
    It would be unusual for Apple to do a release in November, especially a minor one. They normally don't like disruptions to the supply chain late in the year. If external forces have already caused a disruption and they can get the new models out just as quickly as they could old ones then making the change would make sense.



    I have a USB 3 drive array (currently hooked up to USB 2) so I had been waiting for Ivy Bridge, but chose instead to get a Thunderbolt equipped iMac while they were still running Snow Leopard. I'm very happy with the desicion because I wasn't forced to be an early Lion adopter or spend money to replace the PowerPC based apps that still work for me.



    I'm frustrated with the USB 3 drive array because I have to remember to unmount before I can put my iMac to sleep. I don't know who is to blame (Apple, Intel, the maker of the external drive case, some one else), but putting a Mac to sleep with powered desktop USB drives attached should be safe. My old FireWire drives always turned themselves off safely at sleep.
  • Reply 4 of 44
    irelandireland Posts: 17,549member
    In 2012 Apple should ditch the name MacBook Pro and MacBook Air and bring out a new computer that looks like an updated Air that's available in 11, 13 and 15 sizes and is called MacBook. And they should kill the 17" version, opting instead for a retina 15" computer as the Pro model. You'd add the Retina display as a built-in addition for $500 during checkout.



    It would really simplify their line up.
  • Reply 5 of 44
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    In 2012 Apple should ditch the name MacBook Pro and MacBook Air and bring out a new computer that looks like an updated Air that's available in 11, 13 and 15 sizes and is called MacBook.



    What about 17"? Is that still called the Pro or did you just forget it?
  • Reply 6 of 44
    Obi-Rumor: These aren't the MacBook Pro's you're looking for.

    MacTrooper: These aren't the MacBook Pro's we're looking for.

    Obi-Rumor: He can go about his business.

    MacTrooper: You can go about your business.

    Obi-Rumor: More rumors.

    MacTrooper: More rumors... more rumors.
  • Reply 7 of 44
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    If it's a November release it sounds like a spec bump, not a design change. I really want the power and capacity of a MBP without the ODD. That reality can't get here fast enough.
  • Reply 8 of 44
    conradjoeconradjoe Posts: 1,887member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bregalad View Post


    It would be unusual for Apple to do a release in November, especially a minor one. They normally don't like disruptions to the supply chain late in the year. If external forces have already caused a disruption and they can get the new models out just as quickly as they could old ones then making the change would make sense.






    They need the Holiday Season sales. They will have missed some of them, but the release is better late than never.
  • Reply 9 of 44
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post


    They need the Holiday Season sales.



    It's not like they sold record numbers of Macs last quarter or anything…
  • Reply 10 of 44
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kotatsu View Post


    I'm waiting for Ivy Bridge. A 6 core Ivy Bridge iMac with USB 3 on board would be a pretty nice syste,.



    This is really unlikely. There are no signs of 6 core models coming out that would be appropriate to the imac in price point or wattage. Thunderbolt integration on their chipsets was also confirmed as an internet rumor. At least we'll see usb3.



    Also whoever wrote this article clearly doesn't know how to fact check. Apple doesn't use the 55W variants. The replacements are 2.2, 2.4 and 2.5.



    The 2.7 is an extreme bin. That will not make it into a macbook pro. I've mentioned this before, yet you guys keep using the wrong specs.



    http://ark.intel.com/products/53478
  • Reply 11 of 44
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmm View Post


    This is really unlikely. There are no signs of 6 core models coming out that would be appropriate to the imac in price point or wattage. Thunderbolt integration on their chipsets was also confirmed as an internet rumor. At least we'll see usb3.



    Also whoever wrote this article clearly doesn't know how to fact check. Apple doesn't use the 55W variants. The replacements are 2.2, 2.4 and 2.5.



    The 2.7 is an extreme bin. That will not make it into a macbook pro. I've mentioned this before, yet you guys keep using the wrong specs.



    http://ark.intel.com/products/53478



    It's really gotten to the point that clock speed just isn't the issue it once was for the average user, especially for laptops. I'm still using a 2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo laptop and it does most things just fine. For the average user who simply browses the web, checks email, does personal finances, maybe a few letters and managing some photos and tunes, even the existing MBPs are more than enough.



    Obviously, there is a small subset of laptop owners who need every ounce of power they can get and certainly many desktop users can use faster systems. But for laptops? I don't think the extra couple hundred MHz will gain me anything of consequence. I think for the first time, I'll buy a closeout or refurb of the previous generation when I replace my system as a Christmas present to myself.
  • Reply 12 of 44
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,720member
    Thus the continualling need for faster systems. However these days faster does not always mean clock speed. Today even common user apps like Safari generate threads and processes that tie up a good portion of a machines capacity - especially if you have flash installed.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    It's really gotten to the point that clock speed just isn't the issue it once was for the average user, especially for laptops.



    You are correct, most users these days would be better off with more cores instead of a minor clock rate bump. Think about it this bump is rumored to offer at best a couple of hundred mega hertz. That isn't much to speak of when each additional core might give you 2GHz

    Quote:

    I'm still using a 2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo laptop and it does most things just fine. For the average user who simply browses the web, checks email, does personal finances, maybe a few letters and managing some photos and tunes, even the existing MBPs are more than enough.



    Well I'd have to object a bit to this statement. My machine is an early 2008 MBP and with Lion it beach balls way to much. Now I only have 2GB of RAM and I know an upgrade would help but even when RAM usage isn't that bad the machine just feels sluggish at times.

    Quote:

    Obviously, there is a small subset of laptop owners who need every ounce of power they can get and certainly many desktop users can use faster systems. But for laptops? I don't think the extra couple hundred MHz will gain me anything of consequence.



    It isn't, in fact I'd call it a marketing move. Today's average user would be better off with more cores. Where more equals four. Beyond that the AIRs demonstrate that other improvements such as an SSD do more for the user than clock or cores. In fact SSDs make such a difference that I'm often scheming to try to figure out how to put my system on one.

    Quote:

    I think for the first time, I'll buy a closeout or refurb of the previous generation when I replace my system as a Christmas present to myself.



    Sometimes that is a very good move. However with Ivy Bridge coming it might not be a good long term goal. Even if the performance is good enough IB power savings are likely to be significant. Long term an IB based laptop might be the better buy.
  • Reply 13 of 44
    Obviously these minor spec bumps aren't meant for owners of the early 2011 MBP, but for people with previous generations or people switching from PCs.



    Giving the line a spec bump isn't just about holiday sales, but also sales going into 2012 before Ivy Bridge is out. If they don't bump the specs, the MBP will not seem like a good buy in February or March.



    People who are thinking of buying a MBP for Christmas but are wavering a bit might just be convinced by an even minor spec bump.
  • Reply 14 of 44
    gxcadgxcad Posts: 120member
  • Reply 15 of 44
    Pats his MBP on the logo. It's oaky the longer they delay the longer I keep you .
  • Reply 16 of 44
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bregalad View Post


    It would be unusual for Apple to do a release in November, especially a minor one. They normally don't like disruptions to the supply chain late in the year. If external forces have already caused a disruption and they can get the new models out just as quickly as they could old ones then making the change would make sense.



    Wut



    Apple has updated the MBP several times late in the year... Including the first year they were released, released in January and updated in October/November.
  • Reply 17 of 44
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Thus the continualling need for faster systems. However these days faster does not always mean clock speed. Today even common user apps like Safari generate threads and processes that tie up a good portion of a machines capacity - especially if you have flash installed.



    I never said there was no need for faster systems. There will always be a number of people who need every bit of performance they can get. I simply said that for LOTS of people, performance is no longer an issue - even a low end system is more powerful than they need. Heck, I know people who have switched from a computer to an iPad for their daily usage. For the first time I can remember, computer hardware has managed to stay ahead of software demands.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    You are correct, most users these days would be better off with more cores instead of a minor clock rate bump. Think about it this bump is rumored to offer at best a couple of hundred mega hertz. That isn't much to speak of when each additional core might give you 2GHz



    True, although once again, for many people even existing hardware is all they'll need for the foreseeable future.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Well I'd have to object a bit to this statement. My machine is an early 2008 MBP and with Lion it beach balls way to much. Now I only have 2GB of RAM and I know an upgrade would help but even when RAM usage isn't that bad the machine just feels sluggish at times.



    Your problem is insufficient RAM. A faster processor isn't going to help significantly with beach balls. They are an indication that there's another problem - most commonly the system having to hit the hard disk. More RAM would help. Using an SSD instead of a hard disk would help even more.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    It isn't, in fact I'd call it a marketing move. Today's average user would be better off with more cores. Where more equals four. Beyond that the AIRs demonstrate that other improvements such as an SSD do more for the user than clock or cores. In fact SSDs make such a difference that I'm often scheming to try to figure out how to put my system on one.



    For the average user, an SSD makes far more difference than more cores. The MBA with Core 2 Duo was faster for many users than an i5 MBP with conventional hard disk.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Sometimes that is a very good move. However with Ivy Bridge coming it might not be a good long term goal. Even if the performance is good enough IB power savings are likely to be significant. Long term an IB based laptop might be the better buy.



    I can already get 8 hours out of an MBP. I'm not going to lose sleep over whether it could be 2 or 3 hours more with Ivy Bridge.
  • Reply 18 of 44
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    It's really gotten to the point that clock speed just isn't the issue it once was for the average user, especially for laptops. I'm still using a 2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo laptop and it does most things just fine. For the average user who simply browses the web, checks email, does personal finances, maybe a few letters and managing some photos and tunes, even the existing MBPs are more than enough.



    Obviously, there is a small subset of laptop owners who need every ounce of power they can get and certainly many desktop users can use faster systems. But for laptops? I don't think the extra couple hundred MHz will gain me anything of consequence. I think for the first time, I'll buy a closeout or refurb of the previous generation when I replace my system as a Christmas present to myself.



    I agree with you entirely here. My point wasn't regarding the clock speed, but about the appropriate models for the line. They keep indicating the incorrect processor models is all really. The extreme versions barely offer any advantage in clock speed. They have a slightly larger cache. It was more just an issue of accuracy.



    The 2960XM is unlikely to be used due to cost and wattage.



    The 2860QM, 2760QM, and 2670QM are what could be considered drop-in replacements (same basics specs and power requirements but clocked up slightly). Aside from speed this can help indicate realistic shipping dates for any variant. For example the 2670QM was released about a month later than the others.











    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post








    Your problem is insufficient RAM. A faster processor isn't going to help significantly with beach balls. They are an indication that there's another problem - most commonly the system having to hit the hard disk. More RAM would help. Using an SSD instead of a hard disk would help even more.




    While I'm not sure with some of Apple's ram pricing as buying ram directly from any computer manufacturer tends to be expensive, you typically get the most performance per dollar from ram up to a certain point. Barefeats, OWC, and other testing I've seen has shown in the case of dealing with larger files, gains from an SSD are drastically reduced as you go up in ram. If you're not leaning on the pagefile it becomes much less important.



    Regarding the beach ball (I thought I was the only one who called it that) Disk warrior can help immensely. I still have a core2 laptop around and I practically never see it. Ram is just an issue on those in general. You hit a wall at 6GB and to even get that far you have to be careful what you use so that you aren't exceeding the power limit. Those only officially support 4 according to Apple. It depends what you want to spend. Upgrading to 4 is about $40-50 from crucial or OWC.



    Disk Warrior helps immensely on disk hangups but I'm wondering how long it'll be before they come up with a solution that doesn't require optical media. Right now you have to install it to another drive and boot the computer from the other drive if you're lacking an optical drive. I don't know how many others still use it so it makes me wonder if that will ever happen.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bregalad View Post


    It would be unusual for Apple to do a release in November, especially a minor one. They normally don't like disruptions to the supply chain late in the year. If external forces have already caused a disruption and they can get the new models out just as quickly as they could old ones then making the change would make sense.




    Their behavior in the past has been all over the place in this regard. Keep in mind we're talking about drop - in replacements here. Same wattage, size, architecture, cache, etc. It's basically the same thing clocked a little higher. This doesn't involve a drastic retooling of assembly lines or anything.
  • Reply 19 of 44
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,720member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    I never said there was no need for faster systems. There will always be a number of people who need every bit of performance they can get. I simply said that for LOTS of people, performance is no longer an issue - even a low end system is more powerful than they need. Heck, I know people who have switched from a computer to an iPad for their daily usage. For the first time I can remember, computer hardware has managed to stay ahead of software demands.



    Considering I wrote that message on my iPad I realize where we are performance wise, but it doesn't take much to impact the performance of that iPad. I honestly think it is a bit of a mistake to say computer hardware is ahead of software demands. For some it is OK but it really depends upon the user and his workload.

    Quote:





    True, although once again, for many people even existing hardware is all they'll need for the foreseeable future.



    Unfortunately I can not agree with this. If anything it is pretty clear that we will be seeing software complexity increasing in the near future. Predicting how much computer will be needed will not be easy. History has shown that you are better off buying top of the line rather than the entry level machines, that is if you want that machine to remain viable for the for the longest possible time.



    Quote:



    Your problem is insufficient RAM. A faster processor isn't going to help significantly with beach balls. They are an indication that there's another problem - most commonly the system having to hit the hard disk. More RAM would help. Using an SSD instead of a hard disk would help even more.



    I think I was pretty clear that RAM was part of the problem. But it is only part of the problem, even running Safari alone can be a problem the minute you want to view some site with flash installed. Flash can easily tie up one processor all on its own.



    Beyond that many apps or tasks can still make very good use of more cores. Yes a RAM upgrade would help as would an SSD in many cases, but not all.

    Quote:





    For the average user, an SSD makes far more difference than more cores. The MBA with Core 2 Duo was faster for many users than an i5 MBP with conventional hard disk.



    Many users - yes the AIR can feel faster than some of the machines out there but the reality is a different story. AIR may be snappy but it can become CPU bound very quickly. Plus it comes up short storage wise anyways.



    An SSD is a good device to upgrade an existing computer to extend its performance. It is not however a device that solves all the worlds problems or even the average users problems. I see buying a machine with two cores these days to be a fundamental mistake.



    Quote:



    I can already get 8 hours out of an MBP. I'm not going to lose sleep over whether it could be 2 or 3 hours more with Ivy Bridge.



    I'm very happy for you, but did you ever stop to think that that 8 hours of battery life might indicate you are a below average user? Considering that most people struggle to get manufactures specified run times it seems to be a valid question.



    As to Ivy Bridge I'm just not sure what we will get when the product actually ships. in the MBP any advantage might disappear into performance enhancements. IB could be a win for the AIRs but I'm not sure they will run materially cooler there either. It will be very interesting to see what we get and at this point I think they are worth waiting for. Of course both Apple and Intel have disappointed us before, but from the outside it does look like intel has made great strides with Ivy Bridge.



    Maybe our disagreement comes from different experiences and buying practices. At this point in my life I look at computer purchases as a longer term investment. If I buy another laptop, a big if, I want to invest in something that will last for some time. We are talking more than 5 years here. You simply won't get that with a dual core system.
  • Reply 20 of 44
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Considering I wrote that message on my iPad I realize where we are performance wise, but it doesn't take much to impact the performance of that iPad. I honestly think it is a bit of a mistake to say computer hardware is ahead of software demands. For some it is OK but it really depends upon the user and his workload.



    Unfortunately I can not agree with this. If anything it is pretty clear that we will be seeing software complexity increasing in the near future. Predicting how much computer will be needed will not be easy. History has shown that you are better off buying top of the line rather than the entry level machines, that is if you want that machine to remain viable for the for the longest possible time.





    I think I was pretty clear that RAM was part of the problem. But it is only part of the problem, even running Safari alone can be a problem the minute you want to view some site with flash installed. Flash can easily tie up one processor all on its own.



    Beyond that many apps or tasks can still make very good use of more cores. Yes a RAM upgrade would help as would an SSD in many cases, but not all.



    Many users - yes the AIR can feel faster than some of the machines out there but the reality is a different story. AIR may be snappy but it can become CPU bound very quickly. Plus it comes up short storage wise anyways.



    An SSD is a good device to upgrade an existing computer to extend its performance. It is not however a device that solves all the worlds problems or even the average users problems. I see buying a machine with two cores these days to be a fundamental mistake.







    I'm very happy for you, but did you ever stop to think that that 8 hours of battery life might indicate you are a below average user? Considering that most people struggle to get manufactures specified run times it seems to be a valid question.



    As to Ivy Bridge I'm just not sure what we will get when the product actually ships. in the MBP any advantage might disappear into performance enhancements. IB could be a win for the AIRs but I'm not sure they will run materially cooler there either. It will be very interesting to see what we get and at this point I think they are worth waiting for. Of course both Apple and Intel have disappointed us before, but from the outside it does look like intel has made great strides with Ivy Bridge.



    Maybe our disagreement comes from different experiences and buying practices. At this point in my life I look at computer purchases as a longer term investment. If I buy another laptop, a big if, I want to invest in something that will last for some time. We are talking more than 5 years here. You simply won't get that with a dual core system.



    No, the difference very simply comes from the fact that you don't have any concept about the average user. The average user doesn't need more than 8 hours of battery life. The average user isn't doing anything where "only" 6 GB of RAM is a bottleneck. The average user is not using even a tiny fraction of a modern computer's processing power.
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