updated 05:35 pm EDT, Tue September 13, 2011
Apple may use updated Sandy Bridge for late 2011
Apple may return to its once frequent pattern of updating computers more than once a year with a second 2011 MacBook Pro refresh, historically accurate tipsters suggested Tuesday. Taking advantage of Intel's recently refreshed Core i5 and i7 mobile processors, the refresh would just be a mild speed upgrade to keep the performance up. The revamp could happen before the end of September, AppleInsider heard.
The exact processor picks are likely to be self-explanatory. New 13-inch MacBook Pros would jump from the dual-core 2.3GHz Core i5 and 2.7GHz Core i7 of today to 2.5GHz and 2.8GHz. Apple may give the 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros the biggest boosts, however, jumping from 2GHz, 2.2GHz, and 2.3GHz quad Core i7s to 2.4GHz, 2.5GHz, and 2.7GHz.
Multiple incentives exist for Apple to have a September update. Intel has moved back Ivy Bridge to March or possibly later and could leave Apple with the same MacBook Pro for over a year, putting it at a competitive disadvantage to rivals willing to upgrade sooner. The current design arrived in February where more recent updates have arrived further into the spring.
Apple may also see this holiday as crucial to capturing more of the computer market at a time when Windows shipments are on the decline. With estimates that it may crest 4.5 million Macs per quarter in the near future, the company may be keen on preserving sales of what's considered its most important Mac line.