This week on AppleInsider: New Macs, Apple Watch update, TV plans & more

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 2015
Perhaps the most significant Apple-related event this week was the launch of a refreshed 15-inch MacBook Pro, but the company also released its first firmware update for the Apple Watch, and saw its takeover of GPS firm Coherent Navigation made public.


Apple buys Coherent Navigation

Following its usual takeover policy, Apple did not announce the deal. It did however recruit Coherent's co-founders, and the firm's Web domain name now redirects to Apple.

Coherent specialized in high-accuracy GPS devices and software. Apple could be hoping to improve the accuracy of GPS-dependent software, such as Maps or iOS in general. Precise GPS could also be critical for future iterations of the Apple Watch, which might incorporate a built-in receiver for tasks like fitness tracking and navigation.

Apple television set dead for over a year




The Wall Street Journal said on Monday that, despite some rumors, work on an Apple television set was nixed over a year ago. Apple executives allegedly decided the company could do little to make a set stand out in the already competitive TV market.

Apple was reportedly exploring a variety of ideas, including 4K resolutions, FaceTime support, and even a laser-based transparent display. Instead the company is said to be throwing its weight behind an overhauled Apple TV set-top box with features like Siri and an App Store.

New 15-inch MacBook Pro, cheaper 5K iMacs




Like its 13-inch sibling, the upgraded 15-inch Pro released on Tuesday has a Force Touch trackpad with haptic feedback. Other hardware improvements are relatively minor, since Apple is continuing to use Intel Haswell processors, owing to the lack of quad-core Broadwell chips.

A base model costs $1,999 and comes equipped with a 2.2-gigahertz Intel Core i7 processor. The stock high-end model is $2,499, and upgrades to a 2.5-gigahertz CPU paired with an AMD Radeon R9 M370X graphics card.

Apple simultaneously introduced a new $1,999 version of the 5K iMac, with a 3.3-gigahertz quad-core Core i5 processor, an AMD Radeon R9 M290, 8 gigabytes of RAM, and 1 terabyte of internal storage. The existing 5K iMac was unchanged, but is now $200 cheaper at $2,299.

Apple Watch gets first-ever firmware update




Watch OS 1.0.1 also debuted on Tuesday, and targeted a variety of early bugs affecting things like Siri, third-party app performance, and tracking distance, pacing, calories, and standing motions. Support for several new languages was added, among them Dutch, Russian, Thai, and Brazilian Portuguese.

The update may be the cause of problems with heart rate tracking, however, causing delays or unresponsive behavior in some cases. The sensor should continue to operate normally in Workout mode.

Rights to local network TV could delay Apple subscription service




Another rumored Apple television initiative is a streaming subscription service, but a Friday report hinted that the company is running into negotiation roadblocks in the form of access to local networks. The service could potentially miss a fall launch target, and probably won't be announced at WWDC on June 8.

It is expected to launch eventually however, since the stumbling point is believed to be dollar figures rather than anything barring Apple from entering the market.

AppleInsider podcast



For readers looking for additional analysis of this week's news, the latest AppleInsider iTunes podcast tackles topics such as Mac and Apple Watch developments, the Steve Jobs movie teaser, and the reactions of people like Carl Icahn and Gene Munster to the demise of Apple television dreams.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    I was so disappointed with the new, barely upgraded MacBook Pro that I just decided to put more RAM in my 6-year-old MBP and make do until Apple makes it worth my while to spend $2k for a replacement. I was also surprised that the new 15-in MBP comes standard with 16 gig of RAM and apparently is not upgradable from that.
  • Reply 2 of 8
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,615moderator
    I was also surprised that the new 15-in MBP comes standard with 16 gig of RAM and apparently is not upgradable from that.

    There's not enough space to put more than 16GB in just now. With DDR4, they can double it in the same physical space. I'm hoping Skylake will use DDR4 and have an option up to at least 24GB and allow the integrated GPU to use 2-4GB.
  • Reply 3 of 8
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,426member
    I was so disappointed with the new, barely upgraded MacBook Pro that I just decided to put more RAM in my 6-year-old MBP and make do until Apple makes it worth my while to spend $2k for a replacement. I was also surprised that the new 15-in MBP comes standard with 16 gig of RAM and apparently is not upgradable from that.

    Must confess, while I did splurge for a new Mac Pro and a Mac mini last year, I still use two older MBPs I upgraded myself rather than replacing. I just don't see a good enough reason yet.

    I did find replacing the HDs with SSD's made an absolutely astounding difference more so than RAM, I'd say something like 10x the response in many cases. I even ripped out the optical and stuck in another SSD on one I take on trips for off loading my Canon DSLR's RAW images for reviewing. Both MBPs running the latest developer Yosemite too. One is a 2010 15" i7, the other a 13" i5 . Only the i5 accepts 16 GB RAM sadly, but as I say the SSD made a bigger difference anyway. These are the best MBPs I've ever owned (and that is saying a lot!).
  • Reply 4 of 8
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,426member
    Marvin wrote: »
    There's not enough space to put more than 16GB in just now. With DDR4, they can double it in the same physical space. I'm hoping Skylake will use DDR4 and have an option up to at least 24GB and allow the integrated GPU to use 2-4GB.

    I wonder if there will be a real high end 'pro' MBP for those in the FCPX world that has dual GPUs? Sort of a mini mobile nMP for on the go editing.
  • Reply 5 of 8
    pistispistis Posts: 247member
    Must confess, while I did splurge for a new Mac Pro and a Mac mini last year, I still use two older MBPs I upgraded myself rather than replacing. I just don't see a good enough reason yet.

    I did find replacing the HDs with SSD's made an absolutely astounding difference more so than RAM, I'd say something like 10x the response in many cases. I even ripped out the optical and stuck in another SSD on one I take on trips for off loading my Canon DSLR's RAW images for reviewing. Both MBPs running the latest developer Yosemite too. One is a 2010 15" i7, the other a 13" i5 . Only the i5 accepts 16 GB RAM sadly, but as I say the SSD made a bigger difference anyway. These are the best MBPs I've ever owned (and that is saying a lot!).

    Yeah I did same SSD made an astounding difference for me too it ressurected my old Mac book pro
  • Reply 6 of 8
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,615moderator
    I wonder if there will be a real high end 'pro' MBP for those in the FCPX world that has dual GPUs? Sort of a mini mobile nMP for on the go editing.

    The top-end MBP has two GPUs (Iris Pro and 750M) but they only allow using one at a time. It would cause too much heat output and power draw and there's not much room in the 15" for another dedicated one. There are laptops with dual GPUs and they are getting thinner. There's one here that is just 25% thicker than the rMBP:

    http://www.aorus.com/x7.aspx (check the marketing video)
    http://www.aorus.com/x7pro.aspx

    but there's too many compromises:

    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Aorus-X7-Pro-Notebook-Review.129568.0.html

    - The 17-inch laptop belongs to one of the loudest devices that we have ever tested under load. 52 - 58 dB(A) in 3D mode will be too much for sensitive ears. The cooling is extremely present and almost sounds like a blow dryer even when using headphones or turned up speakers.
    -The temperature development is also unsurprisingly high. The laptop already heats up strongly during undemanding tasks because the fans are usually inactive in idle mode. Just below 40 °C after 120 minutes of idling with a maximum of 61 °C under load. The graphics chips climb to almost 90 °C. It looks quite the same when the processor is under full load. Despite the strong throttling, the Core i7-4870HQ reached about 90 °C.
    - 29 - 41 watts in idle remind us of the "Pre-Optimus Age" before graphics switching was invented. The X7 Pro's average rate of 132 watts (first scene of 3DMark06) is a bit lower than that of the X7 v2 - despite the dual-graphics power. We look at the maximum consumption a bit critically. Just before CPU throttling, our measuring device recorded 276 watts (at the outlet, not including efficiency). That makes the fact that the laptop is only shipped with a 200-watt power supply all the more aggravating. 240 watts would have suited the X7 Pro better.
    - The battery life is hardly worth mentioning. Even under ideal circumstances (low load, maximum energy saving, 0% screen brightness), the 73 Wh battery is drained after only three hours. 1.5 hours of 3D operation using a brightness of 100% is anything but lush.

    The 200W power brick is 1.8lbs, these things are huge too and still not enough to deal with maximum load so it can drain the battery while plugged in. Overall the laptop including PSU weighs 8.7lbs vs 5.6lbs for the 15" MBP.

    Expanding the available RAM in the MBP is beneficial but more GPUs in laptops makes for a bad user experience. I don't think that extra GPU power would help much in a mobile environment as you just drain the battery more quickly. If you were mobile but had power, you could take a Mac Pro along with you and use the laptop to control it.
  • Reply 7 of 8
    rochfordrochford Posts: 32member

    They also dropped anyway to configure a non-retina mac with an i7 chip.

  • Reply 8 of 8
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    I was so disappointed with the new, barely upgraded MacBook Pro that I just decided to put more RAM in my 6-year-old MBP and make do until Apple makes it worth my while to spend $2k for a replacement. I was also surprised that the new 15-in MBP comes standard with 16 gig of RAM and apparently is not upgradable from that.

    For a spec bump I wouldn't be disappointed, and it would run circles around your old model. It's new SSD gets 2GB/s read speeds, it has retina, it's much lighter...all in all it's certainly worth a 2k upgrade from a six year old machine.

    http://www.macrumors.com/2015/05/21/15-inch-retina-macbook-pro-2gbps-throughput/
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