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WWDC to Bring Lots of New Hardware

Every year, Apple has its conference focusing on Developers across the globe; appropriately called the World-Wide Developers Conference. Generally, it’s a showcase for Apple’s new technologies and software, with a focus on programming for Mac OS X and iOS. While there have been a number of hardware releases at WWDC over the years, including the Xserve, the iSight camera, and the original Mac Pro, the focus has generally been on software; in recent years, iOS has predominated the scene, with OS X taking a bit of a back seat.

This year, though, Apple is rumored to be putting a big focus on hardware by refreshing a large portion of its product line all at once. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s speculated to be making an appearance.

Mac Pro

First, we’ve got the Mac Pro, which hasn’t seen an update since 2010. This is nearly a given, especially amid rumors that Apple has been recalling current Mac Pros from their retail stores over the last couple of weeks. As the only model currently lacking Thunderbolt, a refreshed Mac Pro would certainly see that added. USB 3.0 has been rumored to be making an appearance, though we’d give that one a 50/50 chance. The rumor mills are also split between whether we’re going to see Ivy Bridge processors or Xeon E5s due to power concerns.

As you may guess, we’ve been following this one pretty closely. Obviously, we can’t make direct statements regarding these Mac Pros and their specs, as we don’t have them in-house to test yet. However, suffice it to say that we’re prepared for just about every possibility on this front and we’ll have the memory that these new machines will require.

MacBook Pros

The key word on this front is “thinner.” The new MacBook Pros are expected to be considerably thinner, may be lacking an optical drive, and even have the possibility of sporting a Retina Display. Conspicuously absent from the projected upgrade list, though, is the 17” MacBook Pro. Rumor has it that the largest ‘Book will be dropped from the line.

The thinner MacBook will affect a number of internal accessories, especially the internal drive. However, we’re on top of that, too, and have an SSD announcement in the works that’ll address just that.

MacBook Air

We’ll also be likely to see a MacBook Air refresh. Not a lot to report on this except for the potential bump up to Ivy Bridge processors and maybe even a Retina Display.

iMacs and Other Rumors

There’s been a handful of other rumors floating around, as well. We’ll probably see a bump to the iMac line, with an outside chance of Retina Displays on those, too. You probably shouldn’t hold your breath on that last part, though. There have also been rumblings of the new iPhone, an “iPad mini,” and a release of iOS 6, but since the focus this year seems to be on OS X and the new hardware, iOS announcements will probably wait until later in the year. An exception to this may be the opening up of the Apple TV for development, as there seems to be a growing push for the former “hobby” product.

Like everybody else, we’re anxiously awaiting the upcoming official announcements. As soon as they’re available, we’ll be getting the new models in and running them through our battery of tests and will be passing our findings on to you right here on the OWC Blog, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, what rumored upgrades are you most interested in? Let us know in the comments below. And lastly, as we’ll be deep in unboxings, benchmark testing, etc., answers to specific questions here on the blog may be delayed a little. Thanks in advance for your patience!

OWC Chris S.
the authorOWC Chris S.
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  • When is OWC going to announce the Envoy ( External aluminium enclosure for MacAir SSD disks, with no external power supply.)
    Arturo Puente

  • With all Apple using Thunderbolt it’s sad to see OWC still watching from the sidelines.

  • I’m most excited about the new Mac Pros. I have always been a mac ‘tower’ owner, and usually owned the top of the line Mac pro. I currently have a 2009 8 core 2.93Ghz model with plenty of RAM and one of your Mercury Pro SSDs as a boot drive.

    I am curious as to wether they do anything ‘new’ with the enclosure. I won’t be disappointed if they don’t. A current GPU and faster CPU’s will really suffice for me. I’d love to stick a couple of Accelsior PCI SSDs it it in RAID 0 as a boot volume, and then have the 4 internal drive bays all SSD and also in a RAID 0 volume to store all my work files on. Finally an external 2 – 4TB Thunderbolt drive for time machine backups and I’d be set. Nothing to hold back the speed of transfers!

    I’m also curious to see if Retina displays make it this time. The idea of a 5120 x 2880 resolution 27″ screen seems somewhat unlikely, albeit drool worthy all the same.

    • fyi Scott, Lion refused to install on my Mac Pro when using 2 Accelsiors in a RAID 0 for the boot volume.
      I had to settle with using a single Accelsior boot partition & then RAID 0 the remainder of the partition with the other Accelsior.

  • I’m most interested in what is happening to the MacBook Pro. Personally I wish they’d keep the current form factor and just upgrade the internals + give it a Retina Display. I don’t like the idea of giving up important ports such as the ethernet port which I use regularly.

  • With support for 6G likely for an updated Mac Pro it lessens the speed advantage of the currently available Accelsior.
    Will there be an updated Accelsior+ to support higher bandwidth of PCIe 3.0 on the new Mac Pro to differentiate it from SATA based SSD’s?

  • Are you planning on having any thunderbolt-related announcements in conjunction with WWDC?

  • You might want to edit this post regarding iOS 6 considering the banners for it are already up at Moscone West. There will most definitely be a focus on the new mobile os

  • What will be happening with the Mac pro towers. Are they thinking about discontinuing them all together? I heard rumors of this but hope they continue to manufacture them.

  • “Conspicuously absent from the projected upgrade list, though, is the 17” MacBook Pro. Rumor has it that the largest ‘Book will be dropped from the line.”

    The same rumor was going on in 2006 when the first Intel MacBook Pro was released and it was only a 15″ model.

  • “USB 3.0 has been rumored to be making an appearance, though we’d give that one a 50/50 chance. ”

    You don’t think the Macs will get USB 3.0? The only reason they don’t have it yet is that Intel didn’t include it in their chipsets. PC manufacturers had to add a controller to their boards to support it, something Apple didn’t want to do. Now that Intel is including USB 3.0 in the Ivy Bridge based chipsets, Apple will be adding it across the full line of Macs.

    • I only gave it 50/50 because of Apple’s tendency to push their flagship stuff—in this case Thunderbolt—versus more “standard” interfaces. I’d love to see USB 3.0 on the new machines, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to somehow see USB 2.0 still as the standard.

      • I understand your perspective, Chris. But updating Macs to include USB 3.0 just makes sense. Thunderbolt is really a pro interface, while USB 3.0 is more of a consumer interface.

        Now that Apple has the option of including USB 3.0, it would really be unfortunate if they were to pass up on this opportunity, and give Windows machines a much faster port than USB 2.0.

        I would be willing to bet that USB 3.0 happens. It just makes sense.