Apple beat Microsoft to market in terms of new operating systems (although “new” doesn’t really apply in the case of either 10.6 or Windows 7), but that means Microsoft will have the spotlight uncontested when it launches Windows 7 on Oct. 22. That’s why one research […]

imac_macbookApple beat Microsoft to market in terms of new operating systems (although “new” doesn’t really apply in the case of either 10.6 or Windows 7), but that means Microsoft will have the spotlight uncontested when it launches Windows 7 on Oct. 22. That’s why one research firm, Wedge Partners, is predicting new MacBook and iMac hardware in the coming weeks.

A significant hardware upgrade on Apple’s core lineup of iMac desktops and the lone MacBook notebook would indeed go a long way towards stealing the wind from Microsoft’s sails. Especially if it prices the new models lower, as the same research firm suggests it may.

Normally, I don’t have much patience for the ramblings of those soothsayers in the so-called “analyst” line of work, but this report struck a chord with something I heard earlier in the month, which alone wasn’t substantial enough to write up. A source who works for Apple told me at the beginning of September that new iMacs were definitely on the horizon, and that retail management was being prepared for a major launch of the updated computers.

No mention was made of the MacBook, but it, like the iMacs, are definitely due for a refresh, and, as Wedge Partners predicts, a visual design change as well. The aluminum and glass iMac design has been in play since August of 2007, and the white plastic MacBook case goes back to May 2006. The specific design predictions made by Wedge partners stand little chance of being accurate, but a new look would definitely be in order. Expect Apple to leverage its unibody construction method for both, since it represents significant investment on its part.

The iMac is also well behind its PC counterparts in terms of internal specs, so the prediction that it could see the introduction of Core i5 or i7 processors is probably not too far off base. We may also see Apple’s first move away from NVIDIA’s GeForce 9400M as the fallout from GPU-gate continues. Expect any internal hardware changes to specifically compliment user experience with the new Snow Leopard operating system.

While some point to the significance of the recent iPod event as evidence that Apple would not make another major announcement so closely on its heels, it was only last year that Apple’s “Let’s Rock” iPod and music special event in September was followed immediately in October with its major notebook event, at which it introduced the new unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro design. Clearly, it’s historically possible, and Apple has seen the financial sense it makes in the sales numbers it recorded last holiday season.

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  1. Any idea when the Minis will be refreshed? Jan?

  2. “Apple beat Microsoft to market in terms of new operating systems”

    Yeah, rushing SL out before it was ready, causing users problems and requiring a nearly immediate service pack, was a smart move.

    1. Calling it a service pack is a little disingenuous, because for many people it conjures images of Microsoft service packs, which represent a much different approach than Apple’s software updates. Microsoft favors releasing fewer updates that contain many more patches and changes, and this is represented in the file size – Vista Service Pack 2 was anywhere from 302MB to 622MB, compared to 71.5MB for 10.6.1.

      10.6.1 also contains different types of changes than Windows Service packs – it is primarily based on fixing smaller stability issues, whereas Windows service packs contain these plus many other features. This is just the nature of the different corporate approaches, and each carries their own pros and cons; Apple does smaller changes more often, while Microsoft does larger changes less frequently. In the end, I like not having to live with stability issues for over a year after a release (the wait time from Vista’s initial release to its Service Pack 1). Others have different preferences.

      So yes, I think it’s disingenuous for you to sarcastically mock the Snow Leopard release. No OS will ever be clear of small issues, even in its release version – this is why service packs exist in the first place. The one thing you can’t fault Apple for is making customers live with some of these issues for over a year before getting around to fixing them.

    2. Every new OS has issues, SL has far fewer than most, and it was not a service pack. Duh.

    3. @Darwin – nobody said Snow Leopard is a service pack. The 10.6.1 update is kind of a service pack (bugfixes).
      @James – I second that.

    4. @ James

      Who’s mocking SL? I’m saying they rushed it out several weeks ahead of schedule for no good reason except to try and prempt MS, caused customers problems as a result, and needed a nearly immediate service pack to fix a lot of things that could have been avoided, which they did.

    5. @ Darwin

      “A service pack (in short SP) is a collection of updates, fixes and/or enhancements to a software program delivered in the form of a single installable package.”

      The immediate update for SL is a service pack. Duh.

  3. Really hoping for a macbook pro update – though, it seems unlikely – as i’m waiting to buy one.

    Perhaps a price drop?

  4. With Windows 7 on the horizon, Apple’s planning on stealing the show?  | Macgasm Wednesday, September 16, 2009

    [...] The Apple Blog seems to think it’s worth announcing, along with every other Apple-related site on the planet, so it must mean there’s some validity to it. [...]

  5. @James – what stability issues, specifically?

    Was it only fixed by SP1, not one of the other many free patches Microsoft sends out to support its products?

    I was an early adopter of Vista, and I don’t rememember any stability problems. It was rock-solid for stability and security AFAICT.

    1. LOL, Vista was the reason why a switch to MAC. Switching to MAC… OWT… one way ticket

  6. BRING the black macbook back!!!!!!

    1. I doubt if there are many cheapster biyatches that want to pay extra money for a black model. Just remember the cry, “We’re in a recession, so netbooks rule the day.”

  7. @Facu – if you enjoy being lied to, vote Rethuglican and buy Apple.

    Vista’s security warnings are more frequent than necessary IMO (and many people feel the same way), but it’s great security strategy, and just that one feature is much better than anything Apple has ever shipped. It gets people to pay attention to important details e.g. ‘that thing I’m giving admin rights to on my client – is it digitally signed? Is the identity spoofed?’ (hey, it’s happened.)

    Windows 7 tightens that up and makes it more configurable, but only idiots and Apple users (sorry, I mean just the ones who believe Jobs when it comes to security issues) would turn it off altogether.

    Apple’s level of security has long since been overtaken by Microsoft, and SL demonstrates that they have noticed but don’t care much about it. But, malware targeting Macs is out there. Watch out, and probably run Norton – it’s expensive and it’s intrusive, but it’s better than relying on Apple.

    BTW, I pop into a local Office Depot occasionally just to see the prices on non-Apple hardware go down. I was amazed at how cheap they’re getting. The Apple premium cost percentage is getting even bigger – I think it might be up to 200-300%. (Note that I’ve been in an Apple store recently, too.)

  8. Apple just came out with new iMacs in February. Why would anyone think there would be another update this soon?

  9. @Astrochimp – Ha, it’s funny how you think there are those in politics who do not lie…

  10. Nunuv Yerbizness Thursday, September 17, 2009

    “We may also see Apple’s first move away from NVIDIA’s GeForce 9400M as the fallout from GPU-gate continues.”

    What is this ‘GPU-gate’ you’re talking about? Searching shows that you seem to be the only person on the internet who’s mentioned it. Enlighten us, oh omniscient one.

    1. The GeForce 9400M is a terrible device that Apple has somehow leaned on for it’s new models. They seem to be shoving them into their imacs almost reluctantly. The Raedon HD 2600 that was on last years model imac’s outperforms the 9400m by margins. I just bought the 2.9 GHZ 24″ imac with the NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 because I couldn’t stand the thought of using that crap card.

      Think about it….. the “new” mac has a worse card than the old one. Doesn’t make it so “new” does it.

      We’re returning this mac and waiting out this rumor. I want to buy one at the refresh.

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