Apple has been very busy on the mobile front, with the iPad launching in two weeks and iPhone OS and hardware upgrades expected this summer. However, Apple hasn’t forgotten about its Mac business—sources for AppleInsider report that long overdue updates to Apple’s Cinema Display and Mac Pro will be also appear by June.
Expected to join the 24″ LED Cinema Display that Apple launched in October of 2008 is a 27″ LED Cinema display based on the same panel currently used in the 27″ iMac. Issues with the panels caused problems for Apple that resulted in shipping delays for the 27″ iMac, though those problems have been rectified. The 27″ LED Cinema Display has the same resolution as the current 30″ Cinema Display, though it is 16:9 instead of 16:10. Its introduction should finally lay to rest the 30″ model, which hasn’t been updated in three years.
Apple is also said to be wrapping up an update to its Mac Pro workstation towers, which have only gotten a slight speed bump since they were introduced well over a year ago. Apple has been waiting for Intel to release new 32nm Xeon parts, codenamed “Westmere-EP,” which were officially launched this week. These 5600-series Xeons have six cores compared to the quad-core parts used in current Mac Pros. The process shrink from 45nm offers a 60 percent performance boost while maintaining the same power requirements of previous Xeons.
A Core i7-980X Extreme Edition processor, codenamed Gulftown, may be used in the lower-end single processor Mac Pro model. However, there are slight architecture differences between the Core i7 and Xeon variants. Apple may simply offer a single Xeon option as it does now.
Apple is also dealing with the issue that MacBook Pros have also not been updated in some time, despite the fact that mobile Core i3, i5, and i7 parts have been available since January. The delay may be due at least in part by licensing issues. These issues have prevented NVIDIA from building integrated controllers, like the 9400M used in all of Apple’s current portables, for Intel’s newer processors. However, NVIDIA’s Optimus platform may provide the solution to work around the problem and maintain the MacBook Pro’s seven-hour battery life.
Additional delays may also be caused by constrained supply of Intel’s mobile processors. Intel is reportedly giving priority to “major clients,” according to sources for DigiTimes, so our hope is that Intel counts Apple on that category.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs promised a number of exciting product introductions this year at the most recent quarterly earnings call. The coming months might give us a virtual cornucopia of new Macs to choose from.
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