Earlier today Apple quietly updated its online store to include upgraded MacBook Pro models, which feature improved Sandy Bridge processors, more storage, and other tweaks such as better graphics for the 15-inch and 17-inch Pros. As the rumors suggested in the previous weeks, this is indeed a minor refresh for the line that doesn’t yet come with Bluetooth 4.0, rumored to be making its debut on the MacBook Pros but still nowhere to be seen in the product’s Tech Specs page.
First off, the late-2011 MacBook Pros (the line was last updated in February of this year) feature improved processors: the 13-inch model goes from 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5 and 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5 (both dual-core) to 2.4 GHz Intel Core i5 dual-core and 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7 dual-core; the 15-inch model jumps from 2.0 GHz Intel Core i7 and 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7 (both quad-core) to 2.2 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 and 2.4 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7; last, the 17-inch variation has been upgraded from 2.2 Ghz Intel Core i7 (quad-core) to 2.4 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7.
As for storage, the MacBook Pro 13-inch now starts with 500 GB or 750 GB of internal storage (up from 320 GB and 500 GB for the previous base configurations), whilst the 15-inch and 17-inch models haven’t seen any storage upgrades. Graphics, however, have been upgraded in these two models, with the 15-inch now getting AMD Radeon HD 6750M and AMD Radeon HD 6770M alongside the Intel HD Graphics 3000(previously, the 15-inch got AMD Radeon HD 6490M and AMD Radeon HD 6750M) and the 17-inch now available with an AMD Radeon HD 6770M with 1GB GDDR5 (previously AMD Radeon HD 6750M 1 GB).
The late-2011 MacBook Pros are mostly a CPU and GPU upgrade, perhaps in preparation of the big line refresh that’s been rumored for quite some time to be on track for 2012. Prices are unchanged from the early-2011 models, and you can find the refreshed line on Apple’s online store now.
Full-size comparison chart here.
The new settings sport a much cleaner design organized in three different tabs sitting in a vertical panel on the left. Most of all, the Settings now open as a new Chrome tab and not as a standalone popup window. Buttons have been redesigned as well and now look more in line with other Google products. You can search through settings items with a search field on the left, copy a direct URL to a specific settings page without having to re-navigate manually through menus and tabs.
The new beta also introduces preliminary support for GPU-accelerated video; Google claims content in full-screen mode should see a decrease of CPU usage “by as much as 80%”. Of course you’d have to be running compatible graphics hardware to see the benefits of GPU acceleration.
You can go download the Chrome beta for Mac here. Check out the demo video of the new settings UI below. (more…)
A new report by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of Concord Securities details the components of the iPad 2 and the features Apple is expected to implement in the next-generation model of the device. The analyst believes the iPad 2 won’t have a 2048×1536 Retina Display, as resolution isn’t what Apple is focusing on at the moment due to production volume and costs. Rather, the iPad 2′s screen will be built with anti-reflection technologies and a thinner form factor to put it in direct competition with Amazon’s ebook reading device, the Kindle. Anti-reflection is indeed one of the key features in Amazon anti-iPad commercials.
According to the report, iPad 2 will also have faster processor, RAM and graphics as previously reported. The new tablet will likely come with an ARM Cortex-A9 dual core processor, Imagination’s SGX543 dual core GPU and 512 MB of RAM. Currently, the iPhone 4 has the same amount of RAM but the original iPad only has 256 MB. The graphic technology Ming-Chi Kuo thinks will go into the iPad 2 should be 200 – 300% more powerful than the iPhone 4.
Last, the report mentions the iPad 2 will feature iPod touch-like cameras, rather than higher-quality ones found on the iPhone 4. Cameras should be 0.3 mega-pixel VGA front-facing one and a 1 MP (iPod touch-like) rear one. Because of the 1024×768 rumored resolution, these cameras should be enough to guarantee good picture quality. Previous rumors suggested the iPad would get cameras similar to the iPod touch’s ones, although earlier reports pointed to Largan Precision as the selected manufacturer for 5 MP camera lenses.
Are you one of those who recently uninstalled Flash from your computer? I did, mainly because I use Chrome — which comes with its own instance of Flash. If you’ve really uninstalled Flash though, you might want to take a look at Adobe’s latest beta release of the popular plugin.
Version 10.2 beta comes with initial support for Stage Video, a new API Adobe demoed a few weeks ago that is aimed at reducing processor usage by relying on the GPU instead. While hardware acceleration had been deployed in the previous versions of Flash, Stage Video offloads all video tasks to the GPU reducing the CPU load by up to 85%.
Flash 10.2 beta also improves text rendering and support for dual monitors. It’s available for download here, press release embedded below. There are a lot of fixes in this new release as well, so make sure to hit the Adobe source link for a full rundown of what’s new. [TUAW via Adobe] (more…)