Apple’s new Mac updates: Worth the bother?

“Apple is between a rock and a hard place and it’s all Intel’s fault,” Gene Steinberg writes for The Tech Night Owl. “When the first Macs with Intel Inside appeared in 2006, it was a revelation. Performance improved at a good clip, and the teething problems were few. The worst issue for most was the tendency for those first MacBook Pro notebooks to run too hot.”

“Unfortunately, Intel’s development schedule has hit roadblocks, and the Broadwell chips are running extremely late. Some low-power versions were slated to ship this summer, but the ones that Apple uses may not come out until the end of the year, or early next year. This pushes major Mac speed bumps to 2015, but Apple shouldn’t be expected to wait,” Steinberg writes. “Their solution was to take slightly faster chips from the Haswell family and issue minor refreshes for the MacBook Air and the MacBook pro families. The former also benefitted from $100 price cuts. With the MacBook Pro, Apple’s plan was to double installed memory on most configurations, and only reduce the price of the high-end 15-inch MacBook Pro configuration, which already had 16GB installed.”

“Benchmarks of the new versus the old show slight improvements, but you’d need a stopwatch to demonstrate the faster speeds for most functions,” Steinberg writes. “By offering more value for your money, though, Apple has succeeded in growing the Mac platform at a faster rate than other hardware, even the iPhone. So sales increased by 18% in the June quarter…”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple’s new MacBook Pro performance benchmarks – July 30, 2014
Is Apple’s now even less expensive non-Retina MacBook Pro worth buying? – July 29, 2014
Apple updates MacBook Pro with faster Haswell processors, increased base RAM; cuts price of non-Retina model – July 29, 2014


  1. The new 15 inch MacBook Pros have 16GB of RAM across all models, so of course they’re worth the bother. When I bought my MacBook Pro w/retina display this past January, having that extra RAM was very important to me, and I’m sure it will be to a lot of other Mac buyers.

  2. Most of Apple’s current growth in Mac sales comes from former Windows users who have finally given up on Microsoft (over Windows 8). Not from existing Mac users who are itching to get an incrementally better Mac. And that pool of disgruntled Windows users is still HUGE.

    For those new Mac users, the current MacBook Pro models (as well as the rest of the Mac lineup) are excellent choices.

    Intel’s problems are not causing major harm to Apple’s Mac sales…

  3. Hmm. Wasn’t this the same situation that caused Apple to abandon the PowerPC? Perhaps Apple should partner with Samsung… Guess I’m just going to have to switch to Android on a Snapdragon. Newer better faster. Want it all yesterday.

    1. Kinda. Only when Apple abandoned the PowerPC there were other extenuating circumstances. Intel continued to win the Megahertz war and it wasn’t just a bigger number either. They were showing much better performance than PowerPC. On day to day usage. This time around there’s no real competitor. I am unaware of any actual plans to bring OS X to any other processor architecture. Only “analyst” chatter.

      1. Never before in computer history has there been such an affordable upgrade that can be done on such a wide scale of computers, its call a Solid State Drive and you can thank Samsung for making them much bigger and much more affordable. The performance increase will allow you to put another 3-4 year betwaen you and the greedy fingers of Apple but this may also allow you to buy that iwatch sooner. Samsung just brough down the price of the 1TB SSD from over $1000 to $700 aust RRP that has also shunted the 512 and 256′ thankyou.
        I am no fan of the new Macbooks because Apple have made dame sure there are no future upgrade paths, esentially creating a Disposable computer at a NON-Disposable price.

        The question you have to ask yourself is why is this computer not substancially cheaper when it uses less matterials and labour to manufacture, the only corporate stiking answer I can come up with is GREED and an out of control R&D budget to use the new super hero materials like bendable glass and graphene.

        As for future processors have you all been asleep? Apple just partnered with IBM and what has thier chip reseach firm beeen up to? Only prototyping the first graphene processors, Apple only backs future winners.

    2. You forgot the “/s” tag.

      In case you were not being sarcastic:
      Apple left PowerPC because it was *severely* stagnated and for moderate performance increases the power requirements were escalating. (Only the team building the Powerficient variant [NOT IBM or Motorola] were making any headway on the PowerPC architecture — and Apple bought them lock, stock and barrel.)

      I’ll completely ignore the Samsung lunacy. That *must* have been due to a brain seizure causing you to type that. Samsung never has, and quite possibly never will, design decent CPUs or GPUs.

      And, you want to use Snapdragon in a real laptop or desktop with high resolution displays, decent memory, and fast I/O? Are you completely nuts?

      Oh, maybe the “/s” tag *was* accidentally forgotten.

    3. I’m not sure if you’re being satirical….

      “partner with Samsung” to get processors
      but Samsung uses chips made by Qualcomm (Snapdragons) in many of their phones including top of line S5 … They don’t even make good enough (or cost effective enough like Exynos) chips for many of their own phones.
      Besides the Apple A7 is a 64 bit chip (and that came out last year) , no android phones are currently 64 bit…

  4. To be honest most people aren’t suffering from under powered Macs for the typical tasks they’re used for. I have a couple month old MBP top of the line RD model and it’ll be plenty good for years to come. Even my 2007 Mac Pro ain’t too shabby with an SSD drive inside. It just can’t be current or go past Lion being a 32/64 bit machine. I love the box it came in though proclaiming “64-bit Ready!” Uhhh, not really. Surprised no one has sued Apple over this untruth.

    1. I believe the fact that most people aren’t suffering is the real reason for the slowdown in the PC business as well. Morons try to attribute it to iPads, etc., but in reality, people have 6 year old computers that are working just fine for them, let alone 5 or 4 year old computers.

      There’s just no widespread urgent need to upgrade for the vast majority of people. The computers are already so fast that they’re just twiddling their thumbs as people type.

      1. I agree. There just isn’t that big of a difference between a brand new computer and something similar that’s 3-5 years old.

        My 15″ MacBook Pro I use every day for work will be four years old this fall. I already upgraded the RAM from 8 to 16GB, and I’m planning to buy a Crucial SSD in the next few weeks when I have some spare time. At the same time, I’ll install a fresh copy of Mavericks and migrate from the old drive. The only significant I’ll be missing is the Retina display.

        Unless whatever you do all day every day requires the fastest hardware you can get your hands on, there just isn’t much reason to upgrade so often anymore. For most people, upgrading their computer every five years is adequate.

        I will say though, that with the advent of the iPad and other tablets, some people are using their computers less, which takes the pressure off, and does make upgrades less likely. So, it’s a combination of both in my opinion.

      2. Well, now, if you’re typing on a Windows computer, it’s not just twiddling it’s thumbs, you know. It’s sending out organ enlargement offers to millions, it’s sending your contact list to a dozen servers, it’s scanning your network for cousins to become close friends with and enlist their support for these charitable activities… I mean, there’s a lot going on there, and don’t you think you’d like that to run faster? You really should upgrade your 5 year-old Windows computer!

        /s 🙂

    1. It’s a fair bit of work to buy a new machine, migrate all your files and software, make sure everything is working and install updates or find replacements if it doesn’t, then sell the old machine. For modest upgrades, it may not be worth the trouble, and instead may make sense to just wait another generation.

  5. Buy AMD. Fire most of their current development team.

    Let Apple’s chip development team design new x86 processors in TSMC’s 20 nm technology.

    Ride the TSMC horse until it dies.

  6. Rock : Apple : Hard Place.
    Apple keeps making progress on the “A-Chip Series” yet now Intel’s progress for Mac CPU’s is getting delayed releases…
    Apple is battling Samsung & switching A-Series Chip manufacturing to Taiwan.
    Apple announces deep research & future markets in the Apple “iHome” devices.
    Samsung / Intel / Dell are partnering on their own “iHome” devices…

    Hmm… coincidence?

    1. Wouldn’t that be awesome? “Microsoft today announced massive restructuring plans as it attempts to convert itself from a computer software company into a textile company producing ultrasoft microfiber products for the photographic industry…”

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