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What are Apple's plans for the iMac, Mac Mini, MacBook and Mac Pro in 2014

Martyn Casserly | Dec. 16, 2013
Could 2014 bring an evolution from Intel to ARM within the iMac?

Will Apple launch a cheaper Mac?
Industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has an impressive recent history of predicting Apple releases, has gone on record as saying the company will introduce a budget iMac in 2014. If this turns out to be the case then it would make sense if the Mac mini was retired, or possibly just sold as a server, with the new all-in-one taking its place.

When will Apple launch a MacBook Air Retina?
Certainly one new model we hope to see emerge is that of the MacBook Air Retina. With the iPad Mini now having been upgraded to a retina screen, the MacBook Air is the only remaining high-end device not to have received the ultra clear display. Whereas the 1440 x 900 resolution has served it well thus far, it's beginning to look less impressive now that many of the Windows machines in this space have full HD displays. Also, as iOS devices are known to be an entry point for new Apple customers, when compared to the immaculate screens on iPads and iPhones, the MacBook Air looks a little underwhelming.

What Intel chips will appear in Macs in 2014?
One of the reasons often given for the slow switch to retina is that the power required to drive the screen would have an impact on battery life. Haswell chips made great strides in this area, and the new Intel range due out in 2014, named Broadwell, are claimed by the company to be up to thirty percent more efficient. This should mean that the MacBook Air retains its all day charge but can finally have the display it deserves. One consideration to bear in mind is that Intel has recently stated that it's had a few problems with the initial Broadwell chips they've manufactured, which has caused a delay in the release date. But hopefully we should still see enough produced for a MacBook Air refresh in June.

Could Apple stop using Intel chips?
All this is reliant on Apple actually sticking with Intel chips. One rumour that has continued to rumble on in the background is that Apple could switch from the x86 processors it currently uses to ARM processors. This isn't quite as outlandish as it sounds. iPads and iPhones all use Apple's own A series of ARM processors, and as they begin to grow more powerful it's not inconceivable that Apple could make the transition to a unified platform. It still feels far off though, as the work needed to rewrite applications for the different architecture, both from Apple and the developer community, remains prohibitive. At least at the moment.

 

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