Apple Working on Trio of New Macs With Custom Co-Processors That Could Launch This Year

Apple is developing at at least three new Mac models integrated with custom co-processors, including updated notebooks and a new desktop, according to Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg News.


The report claims the new models could be released as early as this year, but it doesn't specify which ones they'll be. Of course, Apple's notebook lineup includes the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro, while its desktop lineup includes the iMac and iMac Pro, Mac Pro, and aging Mac mini.

In terms of notebooks, the MacBook and MacBook Pro are the most likely candidates for a refresh this year, as the MacBook Air has not received any meaningful updates since March 2015, nearly three years ago, and it seems like Apple is only keeping it around for its $999 price tag at this point.

MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models released in 2016 and later are already equipped with Apple's custom T1 chip that authenticates and secures Touch ID and Apple Pay respectively, and it's possible the notebook could be updated with a newer chip that offloads even more tasks from the main Intel processor.

MacBook models do not feature a custom co-processor, but unless Apple is planning to extend the Touch Bar to the 12-inch notebooks, it remains to be seen if there would be much necessity for a T-series chip.

There's also a single rumor from DigiTimes, which doesn't have the most reliable track record, claiming Apple will release a new entry-level 13-inch MacBook in the second half of this year. It's unclear if this model would be a potential MacBook Air replacement, or where else it would slot in Apple's notebook lineup.

Shifting to desktops, the iMac Pro is already equipped with Apple's custom T2 chip for enhanced security and integration. The co-processor integrates several previously separate components, including the system management controller, image signal processor, audio controller, and SSD controller.

The T2 chip has a Secure Enclave that makes the iMac Pro even more secure with new encrypted storage and secure boot capabilities. It's possible Apple could extend this co-processor to standard iMac models this year.

Apple has also confirmed it is working on an all-new modular Mac Pro, although it only revealed that its release date would come at some point after 2017. And the Mac mini has gone over 1,200 days without an update, according to the MacRumors Buyer's Guide, and the portable computer could sorely use a refresh.

Much of the Bloomberg News report is focused on Apple's shift towards in-house chip design, reducing its dependance on companies like Qualcomm and Imagination Tech, so further details about the new Macs are scant.


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Apple Rises to Become World’s Fourth-Largest PC Maker With Around 20M Macs Sold Last Year

Apple rose to become the world's fourth-largest PC maker in 2017, as Mac sales increased to nearly 20 million during the year, according to the latest estimates shared by research firms IDC and Gartner.


The roughly 19.6 million total is based on Apple's reported Mac sales of 13.9 million units in the first three calendar quarters of the year, while IDC and Gartner estimate Apple sold another 5.4 million to 5.7 million Macs in the fourth quarter.

Apple officially reported sales of 18.5 million Macs in 2016, so the company is looking at year-over-year growth of around four to six percent based on the IDC and Gartner data. Apple sold over 20 million Macs in both 2014 and 2015, however, so 2017 was likely not a record-breaking year for the Mac.

Apple leapfrogged either Asus or Acer depending on which dataset you look at, as IDC and Gartner have slightly different estimates. Both research firms have Apple trailing behind HP, Lenovo, and Dell, which shipped an estimated 58.8 million, 54.8 million, and 41.8 million PCs respectively last year per IDC.


Apple's growth in 2017 is impressive given Gartner claims it was the sixth consecutive year of declining PC shipments. The year saw Apple refresh its MacBook Pro and iMac lineups with Kaby Lake processors, give the base MacBook Air a slight speed boost, and launch an all-new iMac Pro.

We'll know exactly how many Macs were sold in 2017 when Apple reports its next earnings results on February 1, but if these estimates prove to be accurate, it was a financially successful year for the Mac.

Tags: IDC, Gartner

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Apple’s Newest Mac Pro Turns Four Years Old Today

Today marks the fourth anniversary of Apple last updating the Mac Pro.

The second-generation Mac Pro was released on December 19, 2013 for $2,999 and up, and it remains the current model despite having at least four year old hardware.

That hardware includes up to a 12-core Intel Xeon E5 processor, 64GB of ECC RAM, 1TB of SSD storage, and dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs, with prices topping out at $6,999.

The lack of a Mac Pro refresh in several years generated concerns that Apple was less focused on professional users, eventually prompting the company to respond.

Specifically, in April, Apple took the rare step of revealing it was working on an all-new Mac Pro with a modular design, and a high-end iMac Pro released earlier this month.

Apple briefly reiterated that promise at the bottom of its press release about iMac Pro availability last week, noting that the new Mac Pro will be not only upgradeable, but also a high-performance, high-throughput system.
In addition to the new iMac Pro, Apple is working on a completely redesigned, next-generation Mac Pro architected for pro customers who need the highest performance, high-throughput system in a modular, upgradeable design, as well as a new high-end pro display.
Apple hasn't provided any additional details, including tech specs or a release date, but fingers are crossed for a 2018 launch.

While we don't know what the new Mac Pro will look like, Apple's software engineering chief Craig Federighi admitted that the 2013 version's so-called "trash can" design has a limited thermal capacity that doesn't always meet the needs of the most demanding workflows. The new model will address this shortcoming.

Apple could return to a tower design like the 2006 to 2012 Mac Pro with a case that could be opened with a lever on the back, or it could go in a completely different direction. It's too early to say right now, which is somewhat ironic given that over 1,400 days have passed since the last Mac Pro refresh.

Apple still hasn't provided any word about when if ever we can expect a new Mac mini, which hasn't been updated in over 1,150 days, according to the MacRumors Buyer's Guide. The current Mac mini launched in October 2014.

Related Roundup: Mac Pro
Buyer's Guide: Mac Pro (Caution)

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Apple Continues to Work on All-New Mac Pro With Upgradeable Design

With the iMac Pro release dominating headlines on Thursday, we want to make sure nobody has missed that Apple also reiterated some other exciting news for pro customers: a modular Mac Pro is coming.

2013 Mac Pro on left vs. 2012 Mac Pro on right

The brief mention came at the very end of Apple's press release about the iMac Pro becoming available to order:
In addition to the new iMac Pro, Apple is working on a completely redesigned, next-generation Mac Pro architected for pro customers who need the highest performance, high-throughput system in a modular, upgradeable design, as well as a new high-end pro display.
While this isn't new information, it does let us know that Apple remains committed to an all-new, powerful Mac Pro with an upgradeable design after first teasing the news to a group of reporters back in April.

We don't know what the new Mac Pro will look like, but given it will be a modular system, Apple could return to a tower design like the 2006 to 2012 Mac Pro with a case that could be opened with a lever on the back.

The promise that it will be a high-performance, high-throughput system suggests the modular Mac Pro could be even faster than the iMac Pro, which itself is easily the fastest Mac ever with workstation-class tech specs.

The maxed-out iMac Pro, for example, costs $13,199 and is equipped with an 18-core 2.3GHz Intel Xeon W-class processor, 4TB of SSD storage, 128GB of ECC RAM, and AMD Radeon Pro Vega 64 graphics with 16GB of HBM2 memory.

It's also good news for customers who were sad to see Apple discontinue its standalone Thunderbolt Display, which will be revived in the form of an all-new Apple-branded high-end display geared towards pro customers.

Apple's discontinued Thunderbolt Display

What we also don't know is when the new Mac Pro is coming. Apple only revealed that it wouldn't be ready this year. It could certainly be released at some point in 2018, or it could take a little bit longer—it's anyone's guess right now.

Apple hasn't updated the current Mac Pro in just shy of four years, beyond reshuffling some configurations and pricing back in April.

At the time, Apple's software engineering chief Craig Federighi admitted that the 2013 Mac Pro's so-called "trash can" design has a limited thermal capacity that doesn't always meet the needs of the most demanding workflows.

"I think we designed ourselves into a bit of a thermal corner, if you will," said Federighi, according to multiple reports.

It isn't often that Apple pre-announces new products in its pipeline, but there were growing concerns the company was no longer focused on professional users, evidently to the point that it felt the need to respond in a big way.

"We're committed to the Mac, we've got great talent on the Mac, both hardware and software, we've got great products planned for the future, and as far as our horizon line can see, the Mac is a core component of the things Apple delivers, including to our pro customers," said Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller.

Related Roundup: Mac Pro
Buyer's Guide: Mac Pro (Caution)

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Macs Effectively Now Have a Three-Year Warranty in Australia and New Zealand Under Consumer Law

If you bought and own a Mac in Australia or New Zealand, your computer effectively now has warranty coverage for up to three years from its original date of purchase, even without purchasing optional AppleCare+ coverage.


Apple will now offer warranty coverage on most Mac parts for up to 24 months after its limited one-year warranty period, under consumer law in each country, according to an internal document distributed to Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers and later obtained by MacRumors.

Apple is complying with Australia and New Zealand laws that give consumers the right to ask for a repair or replacement free of charge if a product experiences failure within a "reasonable" amount of time after purchase.

Mac owners can inquire about service under Australian and New Zealand consumer law at an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider, but we can't guarantee that every employee will be knowledgable about this policy. The 36-month coverage period for Macs is effective from today—that's December 13, 2017.

Eligible parts include the display, battery, SSD or hard drive, RAM, logic boards, GPU, internal cables, power supply, and other electronic components, so virtually every aspect of a Mac is covered, according to the document.

Apple provides a summary of consumer law, its limited one-year warranty, and its optional AppleCare+ coverage on its website in Australia and New Zealand.


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Macs Effectively Now Have a Three-Year Warranty in Australia and New Zealand Under Consumer Law

If you bought and own a Mac in Australia or New Zealand, your computer effectively now has warranty coverage for up to three years from its original date of purchase, even without purchasing optional AppleCare+ coverage.


Apple will now offer warranty coverage on most Mac parts for up to 24 months after its limited one-year warranty period, under consumer law in each country, according to an internal document distributed to Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers and later obtained by MacRumors.

Apple is complying with Australia and New Zealand laws that give consumers the right to ask for a repair or replacement free of charge if a product experiences failure within a "reasonable" amount of time after purchase.

Mac owners can inquire about service under Australian and New Zealand consumer law at an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider, but we can't guarantee that every employee will be knowledgable about this policy. The 36-month coverage period for Macs is effective from today—that's December 13, 2017.

Eligible parts include the display, battery, SSD or hard drive, RAM, logic boards, GPU, internal cables, power supply, and other electronic components, so virtually every aspect of a Mac is covered, according to the document.

Apple provides a summary of consumer law, its limited one-year warranty, and its optional AppleCare+ coverage on its website in Australia and New Zealand.


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Apple Increases Mac Trade-In Values to Up to $2,500

Apple today increased its trade-in values for select Mac models released in 2009 and later. In partnership with buyback company Phobio, Apple now offers customers up to $2,500, compared to up to $1,500 previously.


The new trade-in values in the United States are as follows:

• MacBook: up to $1,110
• MacBook Air: up to $430
• MacBook Pro: up to $2,500
• iMac: up to $2,500
• Mac Pro: up to $1,560

To determine how much credit you can receive, visit the Phobio website, enter your Mac's serial number, and answer a few questions about its current condition. Phobio will then provide an estimate based on the information provided.

If you accept the quote, you'll receive payment after your Mac has been inspected and its condition has been verified. The payment can be in the form of an emailed Apple Store gift card, PayPal deposit, or a virtual prepaid Visa card.

A maxed-out 2017 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar in good condition, for example, has a trade-in value of $2,510. A maxed-out 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar in good condition is eligible for $1,460 credit.


Apple's trade-up program is convenient, but customers can get better resale value by selling their Mac on eBay or listing it in classifieds such as Craigslist or the MacRumors Marketplace, so long as you adhere to our rules and requirements.

Apple also offers up to $500 for select PCs. Meanwhile, Macs released earlier than 2009 are eligible for Apple's free Renew and Recycling program only.


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AppleCare+ Now Available For Mac With Accidental Damage Coverage

Apple today introduced AppleCare+ for Mac, an extended warranty plan that provides accidental damage coverage for a service fee.


AppleCare+ extends a Mac's warranty coverage to three years from its original purchase date, and adds up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage, each subject to a service fee of $99 for screen damage or external enclosure damage, or $299 for other damage. Prices are based in U.S. dollars and vary elsewhere.

AppleCare+ for Mac also includes 24/7 priority access to Apple experts by chat or phone. It replaces the AppleCare Protection Plan for Mac, which was essentially the same as AppleCare+, but didn't include accidental damage coverage like Apple has long offered for devices like the iPhone and iPad.

AppleCare+ for Mac is available for the 12-inch MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac mini for between $99 and $379. The service fees are additional in the event of accidental damage. Prices are between equal and $30 higher than the old AppleCare Protection Plan sans accidental damage coverage.

AppleCare+ can be purchased alongside a new Mac, or customers can buy it online or in store within 60 days of purchasing a Mac.


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Concept Imagines What a Modular Mac Pro Might Look Like

Last week, Apple executives announced that the company is working on an updated Mac Pro that features a revamped modular design to accommodate regular component upgrades.

The launch of the new modular Mac Pro is at least a year away as development has just started, so we have no idea what the machine will look like when it's finished, but that hasn't stopped designers at CURVED/labs from dreaming up a conceptual design that includes a simple Mac mini-style box and a matching Apple-branded display.


The imagined Mac Pro features a design that's entirely upgradeable, with two slots for full-sized graphics cards, rotating housing sides, and easily accessible sections for the processor, RAM, and storage.


Holes on the top are designed to allow hot air to escape, and there are added features like a Touch ID power button, a Touch Bar for accessing information on included components, and USB-C, USB-A, and HDMI ports, along with a microphone and a headphone jack.


Accompanying the imagined Mac Pro is a revamped 27-inch Apple "Cinema Display" with ultra thin bezels, an iMac-style stand, and and USB-C ports at the back.


Again, this is in no way representative of what the finished Mac Pro might look like, but it does imagine features that are in line with what Apple executives have said about the Mac Pro so far. It's going to be a high-end high-throughput machine that will facilitate regular upgrades to meet the needs of Apple's pro user base. And given its modular nature, it will ship with an Apple-branded "pro" display.

Apple is in the process of "completely rethinking" the Mac Pro and execs say it will take "longer than this year" to finish. What that means is not entirely clear, but one rumor has suggested it might not launch until 2019. Apple has a dedicated team working on the machine, which will serve the company's "most demanding pro customers."

Related Roundup: Mac Pro
Buyer's Guide: Mac Pro (Buy Now)

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Full Transcript of Mac Pro Interview With Craig Federighi and Phil Schiller Now Available

Earlier this week, several Apple executives, including marketing chief Phil Schiller, software head Craig Federighi, and hardware engineering VP John Ternus, invited several journalists to Apple's campus to discuss the future of the Mac Pro, among other topics.

The information that was shared in that interview has been well-covered in recent days, but TechCrunch today published the entire interview transcript, which is well worth reading for those who want a complete uninterrupted look at what Apple had to say on the topic of the Mac Pro and its professional customers.

Image via TechCrunch

During the interview, Schiller and Federighi apologized to professional users for the delays with the Mac Pro and unveiled work on a new modular Mac Pro that will address issues with the current machine, including upgradeability and support for single high-end GPUs.

The new Mac Pro, which will also come with a professional display, isn't going to come in 2017, so in the meantime, Apple has significantly dropped the prices on its older Mac Pro machines, all of which still contain hardware from 2013.

Other tidbits shared in the interview include Apple's plans for the iMac, what went wrong with the design of the current Mac Pro, news on the Mac mini, Apple's thoughts on the MacBook Pro Touch Bar, the importance of pro users, and more.

Related Roundup: Mac Pro
Buyer's Guide: Mac Pro (Buy Now)

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