Apple is certainly making WWDC a hardware conference this year — it just unveiled a refresh of the existing MacBook Pro running Intel’s newer Ivy Bridge processors on the San Francisco gathering’s opening day. The 13- and 15-inch portables run up to 2.7GHz quad Core i7s (turbo up to 3.7GHz), carry up to 8GB of RAM and have GeForce GT 650M-based graphics 60 percent faster than the previous generation. Like the new MacBook Air, they tout USB 3.0 ports.
If you’re more comfortable with Apple’s conventional MacBook Pro design than the new variety, Apple will ask $1,099 for the base 13-inch version and $1,799 for a 15-inch version, with an upgraded 15-inch model going for $2,199. All of them are shipping today — we’re not seeing any mention of an updated 17-inch version, so it may have been cast aside.
New MacBook Pros are practically a given for WWDC (or, let’s just say tears will be shed if they elude us), but now, 9to5Mac is stepping up the expectations in a major way. The outlet is now reporting that we could see two different versions of a revised 15-incher, not to mention Retina display-equipped editions of the 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air. Less certain (but certainly believable) is an iMac refresh, which would again get served with a Retina display, and a fourth major Mac update is apt to see the practically forgotten Mac Pro or the Mac mini updated with bolstered internals.
For those following Apple, you’d know that updating so many products at one event isn’t a typical move for the company, but Tim Cook’s been doing things slightly differently of late — and honestly, there’s no better way to enforce the importance of Retina than to blow it out across the portfolios. Finally, a whole host of new accessories are said to be on tap, with “refreshed keyboards, mice, trackpads and AirPorts” on the list. Hit the source link for the down and dirty, and go ahead and wipe your calendar for June 9th; we’ll be liveblogging every last announcement direct from Moscone.
Two displays in one tablet? Yes you can. ASUS’ new TAICHI series packs displays on both the front and the rear, letting you use the device in a variety of configurations. In ‘notebook’ mode, you can use TAICHI with a backlit QWERTY keyboard and trackpad. Once you close the lid, however, and it’s stylus time.
TAICHI includes Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7 processors, 4 gigs of RAM, SSD storage, dual-band 802.11n WiFi, FHD/Super IPS+ displays and, naturally, dual cameras. Despite the display duo, both the 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch configurations are reportedly as thin and light as the Zenbook line. Both variants will offer 1920 x 1080 pixels on each side, and displays can be used independently, so you can even share the device with a friend — with completely different content on each LCD.
While the device was clearly an early prototype, it functioned as described and looked quite polished, so this certainly isn’t merely a concept at this point. The touch panels were very responsive, and quite bright, even at their lowest setting. The rear LCD had visible backlight bleed around the top and bottom, which we of course don’t expect to see on production samples.
Despite the thin design, there’s no shortage of connectivity options — the left side of the device (in tablet mode, at least) packs a power button, lock toggle, mini VGA, USB 3.0 and power ports, while the opposite panel includes a headphone jack, a second USB 3.0 port, micro DVI, a volume up/down switch and a rotation lock button.
We’ve already covered AMD’s premium Trinity processors, but today the company got specific about what we can expect from its more price-conscious E-Series chips. These are the 1.4GHz E1-1200 and the 1.7GHz E2-1800 — both dual-core Bobcat APUs that bring a range of improvements over last year’s E-series, and which are intended for sub-$600 laptops plus perhaps the odd nettop. Despite having slightly higher clock speeds than their predecessors, the new models consume the familiar 18W TDP and still manage to claim a battery life in excess of 11 hours with Windows in idle, or around four hours of solid flash gaming (as unhealthy as that sounds).
On the graphics side, the APUs contain updated Radeon HD 7000 series GPUs, which makes them DirectX 11 capable and also compatible with OpenCL 1.1, thus allowing certain software titles to use the GPU for computation tasks. Other improvements include integrated support for SATA III 6Gb/s, USB 3.0 and SD card readers, plus HTML 5 acceleration and Metro UI optimization for Windows 8. As for what distinguishes the two options: the E1-1200 can only take DDR3-1066 memory and its GPU is clocked at 500MHz, whereas the E2-1800 can take speedier DDR3-1333 memory and deliver a maximum GPU clock speed of 680MHz. As for availability, AMD expects E-Series APU-equipped machines to roll out from OEMs such as Acer, Asus, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba.
You may have noticed that HP unleashed a torrent of laptops today, but at the heart of it all, even more crucial than those Ultrabooks and business laptops, are the notebooks Hewlett-Packard plans to sell to college kids during the all-important back-to-school season.
This go-round, the company’s redesigned both its mainstream Pavilion dv series, as well as its entry-level “g” laptops, though the range of sizes (14 to 17 inches) is pretty predictable. In addition, the outfit also introduced the Pavilion m6, a slim 15-incher that isn’t technically an Ultrabook, but nonetheless joins a growing group of thin-and-lights with unexpectedly large screens. Throughout, as you’d expect, HP’s refreshed its laptops on the inside too — namely, with newer Intel and AMD chips, along with fresher GPUs.
Nothing stokes the emotional coals like slow-mo drops of water and orchestral strings. That’s at least what the team behind this ASUS promo video seem to think. Amidst the melodrama there are actually a few new nuggets of info about the rained-on N-series Notebook. There’s “SonicMaster Premium” sound from Bang and Olufsen on board, which the firm claims should please the pickiest of ears, and full HD wide-view screens. A backlit keyboard and fancy touch pad are also shown off, with the latter matching the aspect ratio of the screen for “intuitive control.” The claimed (up to) two-week standby time should please the infrequent user, while the impatient will like the two second wake-up time. Whether it’ll have Oscar-winning performance to match the video, however, is yet to be known.
This is a vaguely awkward message for NVIDIA to be putting out. On one hand, the company is best buddies with Intel and is hoping to see its next-gen GPUs bundled with a large portion of the Ivy Bridge notebooks that will ship this year. But to reach that target, it must risk irking Chipzilla by emphasizing the limitations of Ivy Bridge’s integrated graphics. That’s exactly what happened at a recent presentation, when NVIDIA told us there’ll be “nothing Ultra” about the performance of a regular Ivy Bridge Ultrabook because the integrated HD 4000 graphics will only handle around 43 percent of current games. By contrast, if you add in a GeForce GT 640M you’ll find that 100 percent of current games are playable with frame rates over 30fps and high detail settings, including Battlefield 3, Batman: Arkham City, Crysis 2 and many others. If you leave the lightweight Ultrabook spec behind and combine Ivy Bridge with a GT 670M GPU then you can go even higher — as we just discovered in our review of the MSI’s GT70 gaming laptop. Fortunately, Intel was pretty magnanimous about HD 4000 when it briefed us, and readily accepted that enthusiasts will still want discrete graphics, so we don’t imagine the slide above will cause too many hurt feelings.
While LG neatly folded its glasses-free A540-H model into its CES line-up at the start of the year, it’s now added another pair of notebooks to launch alongside it in Korea. This includes another 3D model that requires a pair of stylish squash goggles passive 3D glasses to gain that extra dimension. For those less disposed to hanging techno eye-wear off their face and watching Avatar again, there’s the simpler two-dimensional joys of the A540-P, which houses a 15.6-inch AH-IPS display. All three versions house the same Core i7 processors and a GeForce GT555M for the necessary graphical grunt work.
Who knew a “p” packed so much punch? Just weeks after Lenovo cut loose with a boatload of new machines, the outfit has quietly slipped out an even newer model tailored for gamers. The 14-inch IdeaPad Y470p looks just about like the existing Y470, but swaps out the middling NVIDIA GeForce GT 520M for a far more potent Radeon HD 7690M. (For those wondering — yep, that’s the same chip in HP’s new Envy 15.) There’s also a 2.2GHz quad-core Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, an optional 1TB HDD, JBL speakers and a native 1,366 x 768 screen resolution. The unit tips the scales at 4.85 pounds with a six-cell battery, which is supposedly good for up to four hours of usage (in presumably ideal conditions). Other specs include a Blu-ray Disc drive, a two-megapixel webcam, HDMI out and USB 3.0. For now, at least, it looks as if eager beavers can get one headed their way for as low as $799, but the more specced-out models are reaching well over $1,200.
A source at HP just dropped a mysterious teaser video of a so-called Spectre laptop, a heretofore unannounced notebook that looks to be the company’s next Ultrabook. In our wildest dreams, this rig has a dual-LCD setup — similar to Toshiba’s Libretto W100 and Acer’s Iconia-6120 — but perhaps the creators here were just coincidentally interested in showing us lots of glass panes. We’ll be digging for more details, but for now, lose your mind in the video just past the break.