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The iMac and Mac Pro anticipation thread! (likely summer 2011)


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#1 of 49 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted March 01 2011 - 06:01 AM

First of all, for those who were eagerly awaiting the MBP refresh: you're welcome.


I knew that if I purchased a new MBP that the refresh would happen in the near future. In late December 2010 my workplace purchased the high-end 15" MBP option. At least I didn't pay for it, which makes the refresh less painful. Posted Image


Given what we have now seen with the new MBPs, I'm more excited than ever for the desktop refreshes, and hence why I'm starting this thread. I'm likely going to purchase a new iMac or Mac Pro when the refresh happens.


First of all, there's the question of timing. Since both the iMac and Mac Pro are due for refresh within the next couple of months, and Lion is scheduled to be released this summer, I'm going to guess that they will bundle the releases together, putting out shiny new hardware to support their shiny new software.


Second, there's the question of what will be included on there. Here is my wishlist, some of which will be a no-brainer (Thunderbolt), some of which will be a no-go (Blu-Ray).


1. Thunderbolt - If anything would get me to sacrifice storage space for speed (i.e. traditional HD for SSD) it's the Thunderbolt connection. Even with Firewire 800 I always felt that external drives were noticeably slower than those connected directly to the internal PCIe slots. With Thunderbolt, the drive speed for externals should be the limiting factor, not the connection. This really doesn't matter with the Mac Pro since it has four internal drive bays, but for the iMac, I can easily envision going SSD only for the internal drive (which should also last longer since it's a PITA to change iMac internal HDs) and buying an external Thunderbolt RAID solution for my storage needs.


2. Sandy Bridge - we've seen the mobile SB processors benchmark as well as last year's Mac Pros. Let's hope the desktop version is even more powerful! Also, Intel will be building in SSD caching to their upcoming SB desktop solution, so for those who are considering buying a hybrid SSD/HD drive (an combo flash mem/traditional HD drive) this should yield benefits.


3. Blu-Ray. Yeah I know it ain't gonna happen. But a wish list isn't a wish list unless I put this on there.


4.  I'd like the RAM speed to be consistent across the board for the Mac Pros (none of this slower RAM for the cheaper build, faster RAM for the expensive build dichotomy). This would mean DDR3-1333 for all Sandy Bridge based machines released over the summer (quad channel DDR3-1600 support doesn't come out until Q4 2011 according to Intel's roadmap but it would be uber-cool if Apple pulled a rabbit out of its hat and secured early access to this rev.).


5. ATI 6XXX series graphics. It looks like Apple has shifted back to AMD/ATI from nVidia, and the current 5XXX graphics solutions are starting to show their age.


6. User-replaceable HD for iMac. Yeah I know, only slightly more likely than Blu-ray. And if I do go SSD + external RAID Thunderbolt then I won't need this so badly, but the difficulty behind replacing an HD in an iMac has been a deterrent for me in the past. I am of the belief that RAM and HD should be user replaceable on any machine (it is for the Macbooks/MBPs there's no reason it shouldn't be for the iMacs).


7. I'd like them to keep the current screen sizes and resolutions for the iMacs. There has been rumors that they sizes may change to more "industry standard" sizes and resolutions in order to bring down Apple's manufacturing costs. I think the 27" at 2560x1440 is a very compelling and unique (and high quality) display that makes the "Apple Tax" worth it. The DPI difference alone is nearly worth it. If they went down to a 24" 1980x1200 (or 1080) the iMac would instantly become less appealing to me. Also, going down in resolution and DPI would be against the "retina display" mantra they've been promoting in their mobile devices.


That's all I can think of for now. What other things are people wanting/wishing for in the upcoming Mac desktop refresh?


EDIT - one more thing Posted Image

This is more Lion related than hardware related but there is a rumor that Front Row is going away. I'd really like to see Apple create a front-end to iTunes that lets you take full advantage of iTunes' capabilities (album art, genius playlists, full navigation) so those of us who have an extra Mac laptop or mini can use it as an HTPC/media/music server. A full functioned remote, or an app for an iPhone that simulates a full function remote (with ability to fully control iTunes and of its functionality) would be a double-bonus.


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#2 of 49 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted March 01 2011 - 06:44 AM

Thumbs up to all of the above, and truly, Thank You Carlo for taking one for the team!  Your sacrifice was well worth it for the rest of us!


Thunderbolt may very well be the reason my next desktop Mac is an iMac and not a Mac Pro.  The iMac gives me all the power I need processor and graphics-wise, I just could not survive with the meager internal drive options that the current generation and older are saddled with, and did not relish the thought of trying to make Firewire and USB work for my photography needs.  I've currently got 5 gigs internally and only go to USB for backups now.  With Thunderbolt I could buy the biggest SSD I could afford for the OS and Apps and then easily rely on externals for all of my photo storage and backups.  Let's hope that the devices to support it come sooner than later.


And count me in for hoping that BluRay support is one of the secrets left yet to be unveiled but being with you on not believing that it will happen.  I'll survive without it.


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#3 of 49 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted March 01 2011 - 07:15 AM

One fear I have is that Lion may break compatibility with Pro Tools, and if it does, it always takes PT several months to issue a new version. If Apple debuts the new hardware alongside the new software then it will come preloaded with Lion, and I'm not sure if I can partition the HD to install Snow Leopard. I recall some rumors that new Macs can only run the latest version of OSX available at the time of their release. This would be the worst possible outcome since, in the time it would take Avid to patch Pro Tools, it would likely be close to 4Q 2011 which would then make the quad-channel DDR3-1600 support really appealing to wait for. Being a heavy Pro Tools, Logic, Photoshop and Lightroom user, faster RAM and BUS is always desirable and often the limiting factor.


It's a vicious cycle, I tell ya!


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#4 of 49 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted March 01 2011 - 08:26 AM

A number of my coworkers quit using Pro Tools and are now 100% on Logic due to the lag PT always had with support, both OS and otherwise.  I can't carry a tune so no personal experience here...


It sounds like we will see MAJOR revisions of Logic, Final cut and Aperture only after Lion comes about.


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#5 of 49 OFFLINE   Keith Plucker

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Posted April 06 2011 - 04:13 PM

Just saw a story over on Anandtech, Intel announced new Xeon processors the other day. Just another necessary piece of the puzzle for a Mac Pro update. Hopefully sooner rather than later.


http://www.anandtech...agship-improves


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#6 of 49 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted April 06 2011 - 05:09 PM

That would buzz out with FCP nicely next week eh?


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#7 of 49 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted April 07 2011 - 03:28 AM

Sam - don't go getting me excited with your speculation! Posted Image


Those new processors are spec'd out rather nice! My agonizing desktop purchasing decision continues, because with Apple stating that WWDC will be all about software and no hardware announcements, this makes me speculate that next year is going to be their revolutionary laptop/desktop upgrade. Apple's recent history has been similar to a car maker, where there are new models every year, but every 4-5 years sees a major redesign. I think the Unibody turns 4 next year, so I expect a major change then. Maybe the combining of the MBP and Air traits - make the Pro slimmer, lighter, SSD only but still larger than the Air, and keep the 15" and 17" screen size. Maybe a Macbook Air Pro? I suppose the "cheese grater" (aka the Mac Pro) would probably not see much exterior revision (having stayed consistent ever since the move to Intel) so I guess it's safe to purchase the next rev. iMac I think may also be due for a redesign next year, although the 21.5"/27" form factors have only been out for two generations, I think?


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#8 of 49 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted April 07 2011 - 08:07 AM

Tick.  Tock.  =)




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#9 of 49 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted April 19 2011 - 05:32 AM

iMacs soon!


http://www.macgasm.n...eady-refreshed/




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#10 of 49 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted April 20 2011 - 09:11 AM

Start saving for May:

http://www.appleinsi...approaches.html




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#11 of 49 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted April 22 2011 - 09:25 AM

Damn and I just bought an Oppo 93. I'm very intrigued by the rumors of a slimmer form factor for the Mac Pro. Also intrigued by the Macbook Air update rumors as well. Funny to say it, but my 15" MBP is kind of a bear to drag around (I walk 1.5 miles each way to work every day) and a lighter machine would make a sizable difference to me.


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Posted April 23 2011 - 02:58 PM

I just got the new MBP with the 512GB SSD.  Man that thing is fast.  I have boot camp running and I've never seen W7 boot so fast.  I wish the MBP had a docking station and I wish track pad worked in W7 like it does in the Mac OS side...  The battery life is also outstanding.  I've never had a NB last so long on battery before.



#13 of 49 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted April 24 2011 - 06:01 AM

Color me jealous with your SSD Kevin! I can only afford to maybe buy a 120GB SSD but my storage needs far eclipse that, and I don't want to carry around a separate external :( I'm hoping the new MBA won't be too cost prohibitive with a 256GB SSD and I might spring for that.


But if they significantly up the ante with either the iMac or the Mac Pro refresh (hopefully over the summer) then I'll upgrade my desktop first.


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#14 of 49 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted April 24 2011 - 11:30 AM

Jealous here too. When 500gb SSDs hit $300 I'll buy 3 of em....

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#15 of 49 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted April 25 2011 - 05:07 AM

Looks like more rumor sites are jumping on the bandwagon regarding a May date for iMac refresh. My biggest boggle will be to get this, or wait for a Mac Pro refresh (which are updated much less frequently and follows a more random refresh cycle) or wait and see what the Air refresh looks like.


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#16 of 49 OFFLINE   Michael_K_Sr

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Posted May 03 2011 - 12:15 AM

Store is down...



#17 of 49 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted May 03 2011 - 12:42 AM

Announcement is official; new iMacs with Thunderbolt & Facetime camera..




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#18 of 49 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted May 03 2011 - 12:43 AM


Apple Announces New iMac With Next Generation Quad-Core Processors, Graphics & Thunderbolt I/O Technology

CUPERTINO, California-May 3, 2011-Apple® today updated its signature all-in-one iMac® with next generation quad-core processors, powerful new graphics, groundbreaking high-speed Thunderbolt I/O technology and a new FaceTime® HD camera. Starting at $1,199, the new iMac is up to 70 percent faster and new graphics deliver up to three times the performance of the previous generation.*

"Our customers love the iMac's aluminum enclosure, gorgeous display and all-in-one design," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "With next generation quad-core processors, powerful new graphics, Thunderbolt technology and a FaceTime HD camera, we've made the world's best desktop even better."

The new iMac features quad-core Intel Core i5 processors with an option for customers to choose Core i7 processors up to 3.4 GHz. These next generation processors feature an integrated memory controller for an amazingly responsive experience and a powerful new media engine for high-performance video encoding and decoding. With new AMD Radeon HD graphics processors, the new iMac has the most powerful graphics ever in an all-in-one desktop.

iMac is the first desktop computer on the market to include groundbreaking Thunderbolt I/O technology. The 21.5-inch iMac has a single Thunderbolt port while the 27-inch model features two ports for even greater expansion. Developed by Intel with collaboration from Apple, Thunderbolt enables expandability never before possible on an all-in-one computer. Featuring two bi-directional channels with transfer speeds up to an amazing 10Gbps each, Thunderbolt delivers PCI Express directly to external high performance peripherals such as RAID arrays, and can support FireWire® and USB consumer devices, and Gigabit Ethernet networks via adapters. Thunderbolt also supports DisplayPort for high resolution displays and works with existing adapters for HDMI, DVI and VGA displays. Freely available for implementation on systems, cables and devices, Thunderbolt technology is expected to be widely adopted as a new standard for high performance I/O.

iMac includes a built-in FaceTime HD camera and Apple's innovative FaceTime software for crisp, widescreen video calling the whole family can enjoy. The new camera supports high definition video calls between all FaceTime HD-enabled Macs and standard resolution calls with iPad® 2, iPhone® 4, the current generation iPod touch® and other Intel-based Macs. The iMac continues to feature its signature aluminum and glass design, gorgeous IPS LED-backlit high resolution display, SD card slot and comes with Apple's innovative Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad.

Continuing Apple's commitment to the environment, Apple's desktop line is a leader in green design. The iMac meets stringent Energy Star 5.2 requirements and achieves EPEAT Gold rating.** iMac features LED-backlit displays that are mercury-free and made with arsenic-free glass. iMac uses PVC-free components and cables, contains no brominated flame retardants, uses highly recyclable materials and features material-efficient system and packaging designs.

Every Mac comes with Mac OS® X Snow Leopard®, the world's most advanced operating system, and iLife®, Apple's innovative suite of applications for creating and sharing great photos, movies and music. Snow Leopard builds on more than a decade of innovation and includes the Mac App Store℠ for finding great new apps for your Mac. iLife '11 features iPhoto® with stunning full screen views for browsing, editing and sharing photos; iMovie® with powerful easy-to-use tools to transform home videos into fun theatrical trailers; and GarageBand® with new ways to improve your playing and create great sounding songs.

Pricing & Availability
The new iMac is available through the Apple Store® (www.apple.com), Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers. The 21.5-inch iMac is available in two configurations: one with a 2.5 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, AMD Radeon HD 6750M and 500GB hard drive for a suggested retail price of $1,199 (US); and one with a 2.7 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, AMD Radeon HD 6770M and 1TB hard drive for a suggested retail price of $1,499 (US). The new 27-inch iMac is available in two models: one with a 2.7 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, AMD Radeon HD 6770M and 1TB hard drive for a suggested retail price of $1,699 (US); and one with a 3.1 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, AMD Radeon HD 6970M and 1TB hard drive for a suggested retail price of $1,999 (US).

Configure-to-order options include faster Intel Core i7 processors up to 3.4 GHz, additional hard drive capacity up to 2TB, a 256GB solid state drive, additional DDR3 memory and AppleCare® Protection Plan. Additional technical specifications and configure-to-order options and accessories are available online at www.apple.com/imac.

*Testing conducted by Apple in April 2011 using preproduction iMac configurations. For more information visit www.apple.com/imac/features.html.

**Claim based on energy efficiency categories and products listed within the EPA ENERGY STAR 5.2 energy database as of April 2011. EPEAT is an independent organization that helps customers compare the environmental performance of notebooks and desktops. Products meeting all of the 23 required criteria and at least 75 percent of the optional criteria are recognized as EPEAT Gold products. The EPEAT program was conceived by the US EPA and is based on IEEE 1680 standard for Environmental Assessment of Personal Computer Products. For more information visit www.epeat.net.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced iPad 2 which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.



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#19 of 49 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted May 03 2011 - 12:45 AM

Now with TWICE AS MANY completely useless Thunderbolt ports!




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#20 of 49 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted May 03 2011 - 01:38 AM

My complaint about the iMac is the same as it has always been.. I recognize it's style, but the USB ports (and now Thunderbolt, etc.) are in the most inconvenient place possible.  Most people will have their PC setup on a desk that faces a wall.   Which means to get at any of these ports you're reaching behind the dang thing to plug anything in.  I understand it has "always been this way" and it's pretty, but darn I wish Apple would go back and put them at least on the bottom of the unit or on the side so you weren't reaching behind the thing to plug/unplug little devices.. as it is, I don't know anyone with a last generation iMac who isn't using a USB hub because of this issue.




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