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Focusing on the Mac

March 27, 2012 - Dave Hecei
Now that the new iPad is selling pretty much everywhere around the world, Apple can now start to focus its attention back onto the Mac. Intel is about to release their next generation of Core i-series processors. This new line is being called Ivy Bridge. Currently shipping Macs use Intel Sandy Bridge processors. Over the next few months we should see all new Macs, desktops and laptops.

The high-end Mac user – pro photographers, 3-D artists, and video/multimedia producers – have been waiting the longest for new Mac towers. The Mac Pro tower is the fastest and most versatile Mac in the Apple arsenal. It is the only Mac that has expansion slots and extra internal bays for hard drives and optical drives. The current Mac Pro has 2-5.25” bays, 4-3.5” bays, 4 or 8-RAM slots, and 4-PCIe slots.

The problem is that Apple has not updated the Mac Pro since the summer of 2010. This is rapidly approaching two full years with no new Mac Pro. This fact, along with the loss of the X-Serve rack mountable Mac and other high-end/pro products, has more than just a few wondering if Apple is about to abandon the ‘Mac Professional’. The next couple months should answer this question for us.

So, if not the Mac Pro, what would be the first Mac to use Ivy Bridge? The most likely candidate, in my opinion, should be the iMac. This is still the most popular desktop that Apple makes. The only other desktops are the Pro and the mini. Since the Pro is a big question mark and the mini uses a mobile version of the Intel processor, the iMac wins by default.

The big question is what will Apple do with the iMac. Of course just going to Ivy Bridge will boost performance. It is not clear what other advances Apple has been working on. There should be no changes made to the ports available and there have been no rumors about any other changes in the design of the iMac. So maybe it will just be faster. There had been some rumors that Apple would jump ship again and go with nVidia graphics, but ATI is the more likely choice. The good news is that with Ivy Bridge, the integrated graphics are an improvement over the Intel 3000HD in Sandy Bridge.

So keep your eyes peeled for new Macs popping on the scene. They should be coming sometime in April for desktops and in May/June for laptops. Hopes are very high for a new Mac Pro tower, the choice of professionals looking for power and expandability, and rumors are out there that we just might see a 15-inch version of the MacBook Air this year. After all, the Air is one of the fastest selling Macs out there today.


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