According to Apple Insider, Apple won't be shipping any new Macs until Mac OS X Lion is available. The rationale is that "Apple management is so pumped up over the advantages presented by its forthcoming Mac OS X Lion operating system that the company has been holding back the release of at least one new Mac refresh until the software is finalized". In addition, Computer World reported that Apple has announced all new Macs purchased after June 6, 2011 will receive a free OS X Lion upgrade.
The reason we must wait for new hardware — the spin goes — is because Apple is so excited about Lion its holding back hardware releases, we think there may be more of a practical side to this decision.
With the the demise of the XServe and the abnormal delay since the last Mac Mini refresh (12 months — the average has been eight), many continue to wonder where Apple is with replacements for both products.
While there is a Mac Mini Server running Snow Leopard, what if Apple were to take the next step and create a Mac Mini Pro Server?
Cnet's Scott Stein comes up with five creative areas where he'd like to see Thunderbolt deployed. Scott has some creative – and some not so creative – ideas:
- External Storage
- External GPUs
- iPhones, iPads and iPods
Hmmmm... We take a quick look at each area to see what makes sense.
Back in March we covered Apple's aggressive Thunderbolt plans, and how we believed every Mac would be gaining Thunderbolt by the end of 2011. With the recently updated iMac and MacBook pro lines receiving Thunderbolt updates, nearly half of Apple's Mac fleet has now made the transition to the new technology.
The next Mac on the update roadmap is the Mac mini. But regardless of which Mac is next, Thunderbolt is an absolute game changer, and here's why:
The MacBook Pro 15-inch has a 16% larger screen and is 24% heavier than its smaller MacBook Pro 13-inch sibling. This extra weight makes it difficult to carry around by its palm rests while open, which is significant as a majority of users don't leave their computers on the desk anymore. While the 15-inch is twice as fast in Geekbench scores, most users will not notice the difference unless performing CPU intensive tasks.
The 13-inch is the perfect size for most users. It has just the right amount of screen real-estate while maintaining its true portable nature. Mac OS 10.7 full screen mode, which will be coming out this summer, will help maximize its screen. Apple offers three different 13-inch MacBooks for different customers: MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air.
The Mac Pro was last updated in July of 2010. Most recently, at the end of March, the MacBook Pro received a new high-speed data port called Thunderbolt. This new data port really benefit professionals who need fast data transfers, such as video editors.
Current Mac Pros will not be able to add the Thunderbolt data port because it needs a new motherboard. Intel will not be offering a PCIe adapter card for current and older computers either, so when will Apple add the Thunderbolt port and refresh the Mac Pro? Lets take a look at the current hardware and past updates.
Intel's Light Peak technology (also known as Thunderbolt) was first introduced on Apple's MacBook Pro line-up last month. Thunderbolt is set to race across the Mac platform, spreading across Apple's entire lineup by the end of 2011.
The next Mac product to include Thunderbolt is the Mac Mini — via a product update due this month. Following the Mac Mini will be updates to the iMac and Mac Pro towers. That said, both systems update timelines have varied greatly in the past few years. What is not known is how many Thunderbolt ports each system will receive.
Apple introduced a new connection port called Thunderbolt with their Macbook Pros Last Month. Thunderbolt has replaced the Mini Display Port and will replace USB and Firewire over time. Apple will need to refresh their Macintosh product line-up to add this new port to keep the sales figures up.
The Mac Mini went through a major redesign this last summer. The new version uses Apple's unibody manufacturing process that was first used on the Macbook Air in 2008. Since the mini's redesign is less than a year old, Apple is unlikely to do another overhaul this year. When is the next Mac Mini refresh likely to happen? The table below shows previous release dates, introduction date, and length of time between between updates.