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Five Days Out, Macbook Pro “Specs” Leak

June 7th, 2012

First it was the 13“, now a claim for the 15”. The 13“ specs seem too weak, the 15” way too strong. For the 13“ model:

  • 2.5Ghz dual-core Intel Core i5 with 3MB L3 cache (Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz)
  • 4GB of 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM
  • 500 GB 5400-rpm hard drive
  • 13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen display; 1280 by 800 pixels
  • Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • 8x slot-loading SuperDrive (DVD+R DL/DVD+RW/CD-RW)
  • Thunderbolt port support high-speed I/O and Mini DisplayPort devices
  • SDXC card slot, FireWire 800 port, two USB 3.0 ports
  • Size and weight: 12.78 by 8.94 by 0.95 inches (32.5 by 22.7 by 2.41 cm); 4.5 pounds (2.06 kg)

Even as Ivy Bridge, the CPU would not be much more than a speed bump from the current 2.4 GHz Core i5. Same amount of RAM, slight speed bump. Same HDD. Speed bump for graphics chip. USB 3 included, otherwise ports are the same. Most strikingly: the optical drive is still there, and the display is identical–not a retina display. And the form factor is identical–no redesigned case.

This could be true, but not likely. There were rumors that the 13” model might not get Ivy Bridge in time, and so an upgrade might be delayed, but this is the opposite–it has Ivy Bridge and the USB 3 that comes with it, but virtually nothing else. After a previous release being a similarly unimpressive speed bump, it is doubtful Apple would be so conservative, go so long without better improvement, especially in a key laptop area.

It is doubtful also that they would not do any one of three heavily reported upgrades: the new form factor, the retina display, or the lost optical drive–not to mention the SSD, or at least SSD caching.

I could only buy it if they are essentially abandoning the 13“ Macbook Pro to to Macbook Air line, or if this were a maintenance bump and a stronger 13” were coming earlier than the usual 9-month wait. It also would be terrible if this somehow reflected the 15“ model as well.

However, specs have ”leaked“ for that one too–and they (mostly) go much too far in the other direction:

  • 2.6 Ghz quad-core Intel Core i7 with 8MB L3 cache (Turbo Boost up to 3.6 Ghz)
  • 16GB of 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM
  • 750 GB 7200-rpm hard drive
  • 15.4-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen display; 2560 by 1600 pixels
  • AMD Radeon HD 7770M graphics processor with 2GB of GDDR5 memory and Intel HD Graphics 4000 with automatic switching
  • Built-in FaceTime HD camera
  • Thunderbolt port supports high-speed I/O and Mini DisplayPort devices
  • SDXC card slot, FireWire 800 port, four USB 3.0 ports

This has a far more impressive CPU–but also seems not to be one that fits published CPU specs (it should be 6MB L3 cache). And 16GB of RAM? Riiiight. I would love that, but it screams ”fake.“ I would be ecstatic to be proven wrong, but I will be shocked if Apple makes more than 8GB standard. The GPU sounds similarly suspiciously padded.

While the specs would indicate all the rumors are true (retina display, no optical drive, Ivy Bridge, new form factor), they stick with an HDD (no SSD or SSD caching), and it declares four USB 3 ports. Again, this just screams ”fake.“

And while the listed dimensions show a thinner form factor, it also reports losing about a half inch in width and depth, which, while possible, also sounds a bit off.

These are both very likely fakes, and the participants of the Macrumors forums are cheerfully challenging each other to design, print, and ”leak“ similar fake specs, most looking just as authentic as the reported ones. So it is unlikely that we have seen what they will be.

My own guess as to the new specs for the 15” model:

  • 2.6 Ghz quad-core Intel Core i7 with 6MB L3 cache (Turbo Boost up to 3.6 Ghz)
  • 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM
  • 500 GB 5400-rpm hard drive with SSD cache
  • 15.4-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen display; 2560 by 1600 pixels
  • SDXC card slot, FireWire 800 port, two USB 3.0 ports

I am guessing blindly on the HDD; I do not know if 500 GB will stay (considering prices, I guess more likely it will), or that 5400-rpm is reasonable with SSD caching (I am guessing that a lower RPM is more viable with SSD to pick up the speed). I am also not sure about the FireWire. That is rumored to also have been dropped, but with no viable adapter cables from Thunderbolt or USB 3 to FireWire, I find it hard to believe that Apple would so easily cut off all support for so many professional users who have so much equipment which use that connector.

The other factor is the price. Yet another “leaked” list of unnamed Apple items in a store inventory system suggest that only two new MBP models would be in the list, and they would cost $2475 and $3170–both way more than the current $1800 and $2200 prices for the 15“–in fact, the lower price is almost exactly what the 17” model currently runs for. Frankly, I think they’ve tagged it wrong–the prices listed for the iMac seem more in line with the Macbook Pro line, although those seem a little low on the 15“ models ($1700 and $2000)–a healthy price drop, especially with added costs for the retina display. It would make sense only if Apple were really trying to cut into the competition (or–gasp–if the weak specs are true and the new Pros are minor speed bumps), but Apple shows little tendency toward that end.

Well, we’ll know in five days.

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  1. Troy
    June 7th, 2012 at 13:34 | #1

    My 2.8GHz MBP from Dec 2008 is still doing fine.

    Though going with Ivy Bridge would make VirtualBox much more performant no doubt.

    I’ve been using it every day, ALL DAY, for 30 months now and it still looks mint, you can’t tell it from a week-old MBP.

    My last laptop, a 2002 PBG4, fell apart after ~3 years. Hinges froze and broke, paint peeled off, DVD stopped working, cord frayed off, total POS.

    Well, this MBP’s cord also frayed but last year I got it replaced with the better design thanks to a class-action settlement.

    Pretty sure Firewire is gone. Alas, that’s how Apple rolls. Kill the old to support the new (TB)!

    USB3 should be good enough for external storage.

  2. Luis
    June 7th, 2012 at 14:30 | #2

    Pretty sure Firewire is gone. Alas, that’s how Apple rolls. Kill the old to support the new (TB)! USB3 should be good enough for external storage.
    Yes, that is how Apple rolls… except for one detail: Apple always leaves an alternate route. When they killed floppies, you could get an external one; same with optical drives on the Air. The path for FireWire is a lot less easy; the only solution I see is a $300-$400 Thunderbolt hub; otherwise, I do not see what would appear to be TB-to-FW or USB-to-FW adapters.

    Simply the release of a single adapter cable at $30 would do it… I just don’t see it. I see some junk that seems to be USB to FW, but I’m none too sure of those. Maybe I missed a better solution.

  3. Troy
    June 7th, 2012 at 15:04 | #3

    Thunderbolt for pros and USB3 for everyone else I guess.

    “Steveing” firewire is a win-win for Apple this way.

    USB3 is a lot better than USB2 and is good enough.


  4. Luis
    June 8th, 2012 at 23:30 | #4

    Apple just approved an app with “Retina Graphics” for the Mac (not iOS) App Store. While it’s not proof that the new Macbook Pros will have a retina display, it’s pretty close.

  5. Troy
    June 12th, 2012 at 02:59 | #5

    HDMI, USB3 & TB (x2) only.

    “Apple’s making some adapters. Thunderbolt to FireWire 800 and Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet.”

    “if you were waiting for a platform transition, here it is: USB 3, HDMI, Thunderbolt x2, retina display…. all SSD …. this is not an iterative update.”

    Starting configuration:

    “15.4 Retina display, 2.3GHz quad-core i7, 8GB of RAM, GeForce Gt 650M with 1GB of VRAM, 256GB flash storage. Starting at $2199.”

    Apple’s really shooting for the “Pro” segment here, LOL. Ivy Bridge is certainly the right time to really roll out the barrel wrt new features.

    Stunning machine. I’ll be getting one for sure. My 2.8Ghz MBP went from pretty decent to obsolete overnight, LOL.

    Price is high but I’m willing to pay a lot for something I use 20 hours a day at times.

    What’s always interesting to me is who else in computers is this focused on advancing the state of the art?

    Dell? Sony? Toshiba? None of them have their own OSs.

    Microsoft? LOL.

    And what’s scary is (thanks to iOS and Foxconn’s ability to deliver) I think Apple is now valued at more than the rest of the industry put together.

  6. Troy
    June 12th, 2012 at 05:04 | #6
  7. Troy
    June 12th, 2012 at 15:10 | #7

    Simply the release of a single adapter cable at $30 would do it…

    Do we know Apple, or do they know us???

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