One of the more interesting tech sites when it comes to buying yourself a new computer, at least if you are of an Apple-leaning persuasion, is the Buyer’s Guide maintained by the MacRumours site. Essentially it lists every single product Apple makes, when it was last updated, and gives an estimation of where it sits in its own product life cycle. No one wants to buy themselves a new Macbook, iPhone, Watch or anything else and then find it superseded by a new model the next week.
What has become a subject of some fascination though are some of the numbers attached to the individual products as Cupertino’s attention shifts from one product line to another. And at the moment the product that has languished the longest since any update is the Mac Mini, Apple’s standalone “bring your own everything else” desktop computer. While its average update cycle is 438 days, its current one has lasted a mammoth 1365 days as of 12 July; nigh on four years and feeding plenty of rumours that the machine is about to be killed off at any minute.
Well, it did anyway, as that rumour has been overtaken in turn by another one from the desk of Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities who has established a bit of a reputation of being a soothsayer when it comes to all things Apple. And according to him the Mac Mini is going to be resurrected with a new processor, presumably involving Intel’s latest eighth-generation Core processors.
It’s not the only machine to get an overhaul either. The MacBook (402 days), and iMac (the same) are also apparently getting an update. But of immediate news today (and if the unveiling of the Blackmagic eGPU wasn’t enough) the counter on the MacBook Pro is now reset to zero.
Apple effectively launched some new MacBook Pros out of nowhere today and while they won’t deflect all the criticism of the line-up, at least the processors are getting up to speed at the top end . The 2018 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models come with a wide range of new features, including up to six-core eighth-generation Intel Core processors, up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM, up to 4TB of SSD storage, True Tone displays, Apple T2 chips (which mean that ‘Hey Siri’ debuts on the Mac), dynamic stereo speakers, quieter third-generation keyboards, Thunderbolt 3 and more. Those 6-core processors on the 15-inch model provide up to 70% faster performance according to the company, with quad-core on the 13-inch model for up to two times faster performance.
The updated 13-inch MacBook Pro models with Touch Bar and 15-inch MacBook Pro models with Touch Bar are available straight away and start at $1,799 and $2,399 respectively.
But back to the rumours. Kuo also reckons that new iPad Pro models — 11 and 12.9in — will ship with a iPhone-like absence of Home button and Face ID, while there may be a new lower-price notebook in the air as well (the word ‘budget’ is used, but that tends to be a relative term when it comes to Apple). And it’s worth pointing out that he says the iMac update is going to have a significantly improved display as well.
Over on the device side of things he sees the display on the Apple Watch increasing, with the smart money being on the fact that this will happen within the same form factor. He also confirms the long-standing rumour that the next gen AirPods will feature ‘Hey Siri’ voice activation and get an AirPower-compatible wireless charging case. And yes, the AirPower wireless charging mat should finally be with us.
Add all this to the long-established rumours about the next iPhones due out too — three new models including an updated 5.8in OLED, a new 6.5in OLED, and a new 6.1in LCD — and you have a full roster from the company. Maybe that attention isn’t quite as scattergun as it sometimes seems.