Apple is rumored to be mulling whether to continue investing in its Mac Pro line of workstations beyond 2011 with executives at the company reportedly agreeing that "Mac Pro's days ... [are] inevitably numbered."
Sales of its workstations have dropped off to the point that continuing to make them is "no longer a particularly profitable operation" for Apple, while improvements to the company's consumer line of Mac products has decreased the performance gap with the professional-targeted Mac Pro line, according to a report by Apple Insider.
In fact, Apple management has been "in limbo" over whether to invest further in its Mac Pro products since this past May, the Apple watcher reported Monday, citing "sources familiar with the matter."
Apple does have a Mac Pro revision in the works, according to Apple Insider, but it's unclear whether those new workstations will "see the light of day." The company would likely build any new Mac Pros around Intel's powerful new Sandy Bridge-class desktop chips coming out soon, but it's another fertile partnership with Intel—the; development of the high-speed, dual-protocol Thunderbolt I/O technology that's now part of several of Apple's Mac products—that; could "ultimately allow other, more popular members of the Mac product family to assume the vast majority of the roles that once required the Mac Pro's flexibility and architecture."
We've got your latest list of items that fall under the best tech Deals of the Day for you, separated out into laptops, desktops, monitors, gaming, and home entertainment. The laptop deals are right here, but be sure to click through to get a look at all the rest of what we determined to be today's top 10 deals in tech, including that 15-inch MacBook Pro up there!
- 17.3" HP ProBook 4730s Core i7-2630QM 2GHz Quad-core "Sandy Bridge" Laptop w/8GB RAM, 750GB HDD, Blu-ray, 1GB Radeon HD 6370 for $1,100 (normally $1,299)
- 15.4" Apple MacBook Pro MC721LL/A Core i7 2GHz Quad-core "Sandy Bridge" Notebook w/4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Radeon HD 6490M & Thunderbolt port for $1,659 with free shipping (normally $1,769)
- 14" HP Pavilion dm4t Core i3-2310M 2.1GHz Dual-core "Sandy Bridge" Laptop w/4GB RAM, 640GB HDD for $525 with free shipping (normally $630 - use coupon code MULN4163)
- 11.6" Alienware m11x Core i3-330UM 1.2GHz Gaming Laptop w/8GB RAM, 320GB HDD & 1GB GeForce GT335M for $699 with free shipping (normally $899 - use coupon code BHW1L0MX0D?MCX)
If you're looking for an inexpensive Mac, the Mac mini is your answer, and Apple just released an updated model today alongside the release of OS X Lion. The new model sports Intel Sandy Bridge processors, either in the Core i5 or i7 flavor, along with a Thunderbolt port, Lion pre-installed, AMD Radeon HD discreet graphics, and Bluetooth 4.0. One thing that disappears from the Mac mini, though, is the SuperDrive. Instead, you'll have to rely on things like the Mac App Store for installing apps, and this shouldn't be too big a deal. The Mac mini starts at $599, and there's also a server version that ships with Lion Server for $999, and that one packs a Core i7 processor. You can purchase the new Mac mini now from the Apple Store.
Apple also released a refreshed MacBook Air today as well.
Yes, we know that the big excitement of the day is the release of Mac OS X Lion, but if you're more of a hardware person, you should know that Apple has released a refreshed MacBook Air this morning. The 13- and 11-inch notebooks now sport Intel Sandy Bridge Core i5 and i7 processors, backlit keyboards, Thunderbolt ports (replacing the old Mini DisplayPort,) and ship with Mac OS X Lion installed.
Pricing starts at $999 for the 11.6-inch model, which gives you 64 GB SSD, 2 GB RAM, and a Core i5 1.6 GHz processor. For $1199, you get the 11.6-incher with 4 GB RAM and 128 GB SSD. Both models offer five hours of battery life. Moving on to the 13-inch model, that starts at $1,299 and hits you with a 128 GB SSD, 4 GB RAM, and a 1.7 GHz Intel Core i5 processor. Step it up to $1,599, and you get a 256 GB SSD instead, and the 13-inchers give you 7 hours of battery life. Everything else remains the same (which means the FaceTime cameras haven't been upgraded to HD) here, and they're available now on the Apple Store.
9to5 Mac first noticed the change at BestBuy.com and believes this is "indicative of a product refresh." Best Buy now only offers the MacBook Air in a limited number of stores, apart from the 13.3-inch version, which is only available online.
A Best Buy salesperson said the MacBook Air's SKU was still active but that Apple had stopped shipping the notebooks to its online stores.
It wouldn't be a weekend without a brand-new Apple rumor to feast upon. And today's no exception: According to Cnet's Brian Tong, unidentified sources have told him that Apple's going to launch an upgraded Mac Pro and Mac mini this fall.
Details on the configurations are scant, save for the two obvious upgrades that Apple would want to put in a refreshed system line: Intel Sandy Bridge CPUs and Thunderbolt connections. The timeline for the systems is a little nebulous as well—the systems could appear in late July or early August, though Tong claims that an August launch is the more likely scenario. Expect the refreshed systems to feature Mac's latest operating system iteration, OS X Lion.
Tong's source is allegedly the same individual that correctly predicted an early May refresh of Apple's iMac line—lo and behold, new iMacs sporting Intel's quad-core Sandy Bridge processors and Thunderbolt support hit stores on May 3.
Our Deal of the Day today brings you a $50 off coupon for the Dell Latitude E6420 14-inch laptop. What's cool about this one? Well, it's ultraportable, while still packing the new Intel Sandy Bridge processor in there, bringing the Core i3 to $649, Core i5 to $674, and Core i7 to $869. You get features like support for up to 8 GB RAM, dock connector, HDMI port, eSATA, and Intel HD 3000 graphics. Shipping is free as well:
If you're thinking about buying an Apple MacBook Air, you may wanna wait, as an updated model will likely be released shortly.
Apple has reportedly placed an order with its Asian manufacturers for 380,000 next-generation MacBook Airs, equipped with Intel's newest Sandy Bridge processors, Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a note obtained by AppleInsider.
Kuo said 55 percent of these new models will be 11.6-inch versions, and the rest will be 13.3-inch models. In addition, Kuo said Apple has scaled back production of current models, announced back in October 2010, to 80,000.
Kuo has been saying since April that Apple will launch its next MacBook Air in June or July. At the same time, he said he expected the popular notebook would be equipped with Sandy Bridge processors and high-speed Thunderbolt transfer technology. In early May, Taiwanese newspaper DigiTimes cited sources who said the same thing. By late May, a Japanese blog reported that Apple was testing MacBook Airs with an A5 chip inside, the same chip used in the iPad 2 (though Steve Jobs has said once that Apple has no interest in building a netbook).
It's rare that an entire line of MacBook Pros is updated all at once, but sometimes new technology warrants this occasion. Apple, as expected, announced updates to the MacBook Pro 13-inch, 15-inch, and 17-inch. They all get Intel second-gen Sandy Bridge Core processors and all the technology associated with them, including dual- and quad-core versions. In addition to new internals, each MacBook Pro will be equipped with a FaceTime HD webcam and a lightning-fast connection technology called Thunderbolt. The 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pros will also have a new graphic partner in AMD, ditching Nvidia after several years.
The MacBook Pros keep their shape and form for the most part, since most of the changes occur within. Their metal frames are still an inch thick, carved from a slab of aluminum, the same as their predecessors. A FaceTime HD webcam replaces the standard one on all the MacBook Pros, and when used in tandem with the native FaceTime app, users can video chat in 720p. They didn't get the flash SSD that allowed the MacBook Airs to resume and boot up instantly, but the hard drive capacities have ramped up to 500GB, with a 750GB option, depending on the system. And there will be SSD options (512GB) available, albeit for an obscene price.
The newest and most out-of-the-ordinary addition is the mini-Display port that now doubles as a superspeed I/O port. Thunderbolt, formerly known as Intel's Light Peak technology, is a new connection technology that supports transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps (that's twice as fast as USB 3.0) between the laptop and a Thunderbolt peripheral. Problem is, peripherals that can take advantage of this new technology haven't surfaced yet. But with a huge backer in Apple, these peripherals will surely be available soon. The Thunderbolt port, according to Apple, can deliver PCI Express to external peripherals and can support FireWire and USB devices. Since it's also a mini-Display port, the same port can output to external displays.
Read More | MacBook Pro product page
Our pals over at BGR are reporting that sources have told them that the new Sandy Bridge MacBook Pro models, which should be available sometime in the next two weeks, will be sporting a the following new features:
- Even larger surface area for the glass trackpad
- A 8 or 16GB SSD specifically dedicated to running OS X
- They'll be about a half-pound lighter on average than the current models
The bit about the SSD dedicated to the operating system is the most suspect of the bunch, but that would certainly be one way to speed things up. I use an SSD in my Mac Pro that dedicated to running OS X and holding my applications folder, with separate hard drives for data storage. These rumors are added to the one that says that Light Peak may make its debut on the new MacBook Pro as well.
Read More | BGR