iOS 9, watchOS 2, and OS X 10.11 El Capitan brought refinements to Apple's operating systems, and the fourth-generation Apple TV came with a brand new operating system, tvOS. 2015 saw a huge number of new products and software updates, and 2016 promises to be just as exciting.
A second-generation Apple Watch is in the works and could launch in early 2016, while new flagship iPhones, the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, are coming in late 2016. Those who love smaller devices will be excited to hear a 4-inch iPhone 6c may be coming early in 2016, and Apple's Mac lineup is expected to gain Skylake chip updates.
New software, including iOS 10, OS X 10.12, watchOS 3, and an upgraded version of tvOS are all expected in 2016, and Apple will undoubtedly work on improving services like HomeKit, Apple Pay, and Apple Music.
As we did for 2014 and 2015, we've highlighted Apple's prospective 2016 product plans, outlining what we might see from Apple over the course of the next 12 months based on current rumors, past releases, and logical upgrade choices.
Tuesday November 10, 2015 10:49 am PST by Juli Clover
NewerTech today announced the launch of its HDMI Headless Video Accelerator, an adapter that's designed to plug into the Mac mini's HDMI display port to fool it into thinking there's a display attached. With the adapter plugged in, the Mac mini's GPU is activated and video drivers are loaded, resulting in smoother performance.
When the Mac mini is used without a monitor, its GPU isn't used. As a result, the interface lags, resulting in choppy screens and slow video, animation, cursor movements, menu navigation, and typing. Plugging the NewerTech HDMI Headless Video Accelerator into the HDMI port of the Mac mini solves this problem, engaging the GPU so your remote interface works exactly how you'd expect.
Apple's small and portable Mac mini is often used sans display as a storage device or a media server, but without a display, the Mac mini does not take advantage of its GPU. Without an active GPU, certain tasks performed on the Mac mini can be choppy and laggy, such as visiting websites, as described in a Macminicolo blog post on the subject.
This kind of adaptation has been used by Macminicolo on video intensive servers for several years, but as the site says, even simple web browsing benefits from having active video drivers. Macminicolo even recommends a similar dummy dongle product directly on its site.
The NewerTech HDMI Headless Video Accelerator is designed to work with the following Mac mini models: Mac mini Mid 2010 (Macmini4,1), Mac mini Mid 2011 (Macmini5,1 / Macmini5,2 / Macmini5,3), Mac mini Late 2012 (Macmini6,1 / Macmini6,2), Mac mini Late 2014 (Macmini7,1). It works with OS X 10.6.8 and later.
Mac mini owners interested in purchasing the NewerTech HDMI Headless Video Accelerator can do so from third-party retailers like OWC. The adapter is priced at $19.50.
MacBook Air prices in New Zealand, for example, ranged between NZ$1,399.00 and NZ$1,799.00 for stock configurations prior to the price increase, but the lineup is now priced between NZ$1,599.00 and NZ$2,199.00.
Similarly, the base model Mac mini now starts at NZ$899, up from NZ$749, while the base model Mac Pro rose from NZ$4,499.00 to NZ$5,699.00. The 12-inch MacBook is now priced from NZ$2,399, a $400 increase over the original NZ$1,999 price.
The price increases were consistent on the Apple Online Store in the other affected countries. In Brazil, for instance, the MacBook Air now costs between R$ 8.499,00 and R$ 11.499,00, up from between R$ 5.899,00 and R$ 7.699,00.
Retina MacBook Pro prices now start at kr 14 990,00 in Norway, as another example, an increase over the former kr 12 590,00 price for the entry-level configuration. In Malaysia, the Retina MacBook Pro is also now more expensive, at RM 5,899.00 and up.
Apple reports its quarterly earnings in U.S. dollars, and routinely adjusts its prices in foreign countries due to currency exchange rates that are beyond its control. Australia, Canada and Europe have faced similar price increases this year.
Update:MacRumors has confirmed several tips from readers about similar price increases on Macs and some other products in Australia, Mexico, Thailand and Turkey.
Tuesday September 1, 2015 11:35 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
Intel has released detailed information about its upcoming Skylake processors for notebooks and desktops ahead of IFA 2015 in Berlin (via Ars Technica). The sixth-generation chips will deliver CPU and GPU performance improvements and longer battery life, and are likely to power future MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and iMac models released over the next year.
Intel's new lineup of Core M processors appropriate for the 12-inch Retina MacBook will provide up to 10 hours of battery life, between 10%-20% faster CPU performance and up to 40% faster graphics compared to equivalent Broadwell chips.
CPU World accurately shared Core m3, Core m5 and Core m7 specifications last week, with all three families of chips including Intel HD 515 graphics, 4MB of L3 cache and 4.5 watt thermal design power (TDP).
The low-end Core m3 6Y30 replaces the Core M-5Y31 and is likely suited for the base model 12-inch MacBook sold for $1,299. The mid-tier Core m5 6Y54 and Core m5 6Y57 replace the Core M-5Y51 on the high-end 12-inch MacBook sold for $1,599, while the high-end Core m7 6Y75 replaces the Core M-5Y71 for top-of-the-line 12-inch MacBook custom configurations.
Core M processors have configurable TDPs, allowing for performance and heat output to be adjusted. Core m3, m5 and m7 chips can be run at 3.5-3.8 watts or be increased to 7 watts to allow for higher CPU clock speeds. For the current 12-inch MacBook, Apple boosted the 900 MHz 5Y31 chip to 1.1 GHz, 1.1 GHz 5Y51 chip to 1.2 GHz and 1.2 GHz 5Y71 chip to 1.3 GHz.
Ars Technica notes that Core M processors should be available to Apple and other PC makers now, meaning that Core m3, m5 and m7-powered notebooks could begin shipping within the next few months. However, given that the 12-inch MacBook just launched in April, it remains uncertain if Apple is willing to release updated models this soon or hold off until 2016.
Less than two weeks before Intel announces new desktop Skylake processors, likely to be used in future Macs, at the Gamescom trade show in Germany on August 5, FanlessTech has leaked an Intel slide deck that offers a closer look at some of the performance enhancements the next-generation processors will deliver for both desktop computers and notebooks.
The leaked slides reveal that Skylake processors will provide a 10%-20% CPU performance boost in single and multi-threaded applications, with lower power consumption, and 30% faster Intel HD integrated graphics performance on average compared to current-generation Broadwell processors. The improved energy efficiency will also result in up to 30% longer battery life.
The specific performance improvements to the four main Skylake families are outlined below based on preliminary data, with the MacBook model appropriate for each chip listed in parentheses:
- Y-Series (MacBook): Up to 17% faster CPU, up to 41% faster Intel HD graphics, up to 1.4 hours longer battery life
- U-Series (MacBook Air): Up to 10% faster CPU, up to 34% faster Intel HD graphics, up to 1.4 hours longer battery life
- H-Series (MacBook Pro): Up to 11% faster CPU, up to 16% faster Intel HD graphics, up to 80% lower silicon power
- S-Series (iMac): Up to 11% faster CPU, up to 28% faster Intel HD graphics, 22% lower TDP (thermal design power)
Given that Intel announced a trio of Core i7 processors appropriate for the 15" Retina MacBook Pro just weeks later, and both the iMac and Mac mini still have Haswell processors, it is plausible that Apple has chosen to skip Broadwell processors entirely and release Skylake-based Macs in late 2015 or early 2016 -- and the jump from Haswell to Skylake would deliver an even higher performance boost.
Taiwanese blog DigiTimes, which has a hit-and-miss track record at reporting on Apple's upcoming product plans, says that Intel is planning to launch 18 new Skylake processors for notebooks in the fourth quarter, starting in October. The mid-range and high-end processors could be used in the next-generation 12-inch MacBook, MacBook Air and Retina MacBook Pro.
Wednesday July 15, 2015 2:24 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released a new firmware update for late-2012 Mac mini models to fix a problem that could prevent a USB keyboard from being recognized after the Mac wakes from sleep.
This update is recommended for Mac mini (late 2012) models. This update addresses an issue that may prevent a USB keyboard from being recognized after the system wakes from sleep.
Apple recommends all late-2012 Mac mini owners download the firmware update, which measures in at 4.8MB. It's available through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store or directly through Apple's support website.
Today's update is the third firmware update the 2012 Mac mini has received since it launched in 2012. The first update in December of 2012 addressed an HDMI video flickering issue, and a second update released last month was a security fix that fixed an issue where EFI could potentially be overwritten without authorization.
The 2012 Mac mini is a previous-generation model that Apple replaced with the current Mac mini in 2014.
Tuesday January 27, 2015 8:58 pm PST by Joe Rossignol
Apple today has mysteriously added back a 2012 model Mac mini to the Apple Online Store for $699. The over two-year-old machine still has the same hardware specifications as it did in 2012, including a 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 4GB of RAM and Intel HD Graphics 4000. The listing also shows that the computer ships with OS X Mavericks installed.
It is unknown if the outdated Mac mini has mistakenly resurfaced on the Apple Online Store, or if Apple intentionally reintroduced the model on its website. One plausible reason that Apple may be making this older Mac mini available for purchase again is to provide customers with a quad-core option, as the existing 2014 models are each powered by dual-core Intel Core i5 processors.
The entry-level Mac is listed as out of stock in the United States, and MacRumors could not find the model listed for sale elsewhere after spot checks of the Apple Online Store in Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Japan and several other countries. Apple still offers a refurbished version of the same 2012 Mac mini for $589 on its website, although that model is also currently out of stock.
Update 11:30 PM PT: The 2012 quad-core Mac mini appears to have disappeared from the Apple Online Store for the time being. It is unclear if it will officially return or if its appearance was a bug.
Tuesday January 13, 2015 3:14 pm PST by Juli Clover
When the newest Mac mini first launched in October of 2014, Apple did not give the option for it to be configured with a 2TB drive, much to the disappointment of many Mac mini fans.
As noted by 9to5Mac, Apple reversed its decision to only offer 1TB of storage space in December and quietly updated the Mac mini build-to-order options, adding an option for a 2TB Fusion Drive for an additional $100. Before the change, users could only choose a 1TB Fusion Drive or 1TB of PCIe-based flash storage.
Though the return of a 2TB storage option will likely please some potential Mac mini buyers, the new 2014 machine has not been well received due to its soldered RAM and lack of a quad-core processor option.
Apple's Mac mini can be purchased from the company's online store, with pricing starting at $499. The high-end 2.8GHz option with a custom 2TB Fusion Drive and 8GB of RAM is priced at $1,099.
Wednesday December 31, 2014 10:52 am PST by Juli Clover
Thanks to the iPhone 6, the iPad Air 2, the iPad mini 3, OS X Yosemite, and iOS 8, 2014 was a major year for Apple. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus brought new screen sizes and a radical redesign, while iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite introduced deep integration between Apple's mobile and desktop operating systems.
The past year has seen an impressive display of innovation and new ideas, but upcoming product releases and rumors suggest that 2015 may be an even more monumental year for Apple.
Along with the Apple Watch, which Apple has said will launch in early 2015, we will likely see major updates across the Mac lineup due to the availability of Intel's next-generation Broadwell chips. An Apple TV update has long been in the works and could see a 2015 debut, and as it has done every year, Apple will undoubtedly update its iPad and iPhone lineup, along with releasing new versions of iOS and OS X.
As we did last year, we've highlighted Apple's prospective 2015 product plans, outlining what we might see from Apple over the course of the next 12 months based on current rumors.
Friday October 31, 2014 12:31 pm PDT by Roman Loyola
Whenever Apple talks about the Mac mini—like at the October event in Cupertino—the company always mentions how the Mac mini is a favorite with first-time Mac users. While that may be true, the Mac mini isn't just a computer for newbies. Its combination of affordability, compactness, and performance makes the Mac mini an ideal computer for new and experienced users alike.
Apple offers three models of the Mac mini. When shopping the Apple Store, it helps to understand the differences of all three models in the Mac mini line and how they compare to Apple's other Mac offerings, and to know what you're getting for your money. In this guide, we'll go over the key decisions you'll need to make when shopping for a Mac mini.
Why a Mac mini?
The main reason why you would consider a Mac mini is its price. The most affordable Mac mini is $499, and there are two other models, priced at $699 and $999. By comparison, Apple's lowest-priced iMac is $1099, the lowest-priced MacBook Air is $899, and the lowest-priced MacBook Pro (non-Retina) is $1099.
Another reason to consider about the Mac mini is its size. Measuring 7.7 by 7.7 by 1.4 inches, the Mac mini's small size allows it to fit in almost anywhere, which can lead to some unique uses besides desktop computing, such as a server or home entertainment component.
However, the small size and the low prices come with compromises in performance and your ability to upgrade the computer in a couple of years.
Monday October 20, 2014 8:25 pm PDT by Husain Sumra
iFixIt has conducted its teardown of the brand new Mac mini, finding that the new device is more difficult to open than previous models. They've also discovered that the RAM is soldered onto the machine, which was first discovered late last week.
The team found that gaining entry into the new desktop is more difficult than previous models. Instead of a twistable bottom cover, the new Mac mini requires a plastic opening tool to pop off the cover. Underneath that is a new solid door that blocks easy access to the RAM and fan. The door uses what iFixIt calls "the smallest Torx Security screw" they've ever seen, requiring their tool design team to prototype a new screwdriver to open the desktop.
Inside, the Mac mini now sports a new AirPort card that connects straight to a PCIe slot rather than via a cable. Unlike past Mac minis, the new version only contains one SATA port. Previously, Mac mini users could upgrade their desktops with an extra hard drive. However, iFixIt notes that there is an extra socket that could potentially be used for a SSD blade via a PCIe cable. Oddly, the new Mac mini's power supply is identical to both the 2012 and 2011 models.
Finally, iFixIt gave the new Mac mini a repairability score of 6 out of 10, which is a worse score than the 2012 Mac mini's 8 out of 10. Although disassembly is straight forward, the team noted that the presence of Torx security screws and soldered on RAM made it more difficult to repair than previous models.
Sunday October 19, 2014 12:58 pm PDT by Husain Sumra
The newly refreshed Mac mini is seeing improved single-core performance over the previous models, but decreased multi-core performance, according to a newly released GeekBench benchmark. John Poole of Primate Labs says that the upper tier Late 2012 Mac minis, which had quad-core Ivy Bridge processors, saw better multi-core performance than the new Late 2014 models, which have dual-core Haswell processors.
Unlike single-core performance multi-core performance has decreased significantly. The "Good" model (which has a dual-core processor in both lineups) is down 7%. The other models (which have a dual-core processor in the "Late 2014" lineup but a quad-core processor in the "Late 2012" lineup) is down from 70% to 80%.
Poole notes that Apple may have switched to dual-core processors in some Late 2014 Mac minis because Haswell dual-core processors use one socket to connect the logic board and processor while Haswell quad-core processors use different sockets. This would mean Apple would have to design and build two separate logic boards specifically for the Mac mini, while other Macs use the same logic boards across its individual line.
This trade-off didn't exist with Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors because both of its dual-core and quad-core processors used the same socket. Another option, according to Poole, is that Apple could have went quad-core across its new Mac mini line, but it would have made it difficult for Apple to hit the $499 price point.
Despite the decreased quad-core performance, the single-core performance of the new Mac mini is in line with other Macs' performance jumps from Ivy Bridge to Haswell.
Base configurations for the Mac mini are currently available for purchase on Apple's online store with pricing starting at $499 and will ship in one to three days. Custom configurations ship within three to five days.
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