The path to a Surface phone is clearer than ever with Windows 10 on ARM

Why does ARM on Windows 10 matter? What does it mean for a phone running Windows 10? Let’s break down Microsoft’s latest announcement to identify its implications.

Microsoft’s announcement of Windows 10 on ARM is a momentous occasion. Companies like Apple have been rumored since 2012 to be working on bringing macOS to ARM. Even just weeks before the MacBook Pro refresh rumors were swirling that Apple’s new laptops were ARM based. Yet it is Microsoft who is the first to do it for real (and not just for a Touch Bar).

To be clear, Windows 10 on ARM is about PCs and not phones. Nonetheless, the prospect that these two systems will come together is feasible. Here is how a Surface “phone” could happen, but first some background on why ARM even matters.

x86-64 versus ARM

ARM is the architecture used in modern smartphones. Whether it’s Apple’s A10 Fusion chip or Qualcomm’s Snapdragon line, these processors are all based on the ARM architecture. ARM differs significantly from x86 and x64, which is what Intel chips like ATOM, Core M, and Core i are based, as well as AMD’s processors.

Windows 10 Mobile runs on ARM; Windows 10 on x86-64. They share OneCore and UWP, but there’s a yawning gulf between the architectures.

Windows 10 Mobile runs on ARM; Windows 10 for PC runs on x86-64. Both share OneCore and UWP as their center of overlap. The difference is also why you cannot run x86 Win32 apps on your phone. Architecture matters.

Because ARM was made to be efficient for small batteries and reduced thermal loads, it’s ideal for smartphones and slim tablets.

Historically, ARM chips were significantly less powerful than desktop-class x86 processors. That’s been changing in the last few years. Apple’s A10 Fusion chip, found in the iPhone 7, is often compared in performance to the 2013 MacBook Air — which sported a 1.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor.

So, if ARM’s so fantastic, why not just put your desktop OS on it? The task requires a tremendous amount of engineering and work. Microsoft, evidently, has finished it. Apple is likely still working on something.

 

 

 

 

[Source:- Windowscentral]

Could this be the Surface Phone? Microsoft awarded patents for a range of foldable mobile devices

Microsoft has been awarded a patent for a foldable mobile devices and other components that could point to something beyond a mere prototype.

I should preface this by saying that patents don’t mean products. This could simply be Microsoft’s way of protecting future ideas or prototypes that are simply too costly or problematic to ever see production. Still, it offers a tantalizing glimpse of what could be on the horizon.

A new patent granted to Microsoft last week shows dual and triple-hinged devices that support multiple configurations. They can be folded into something small and phone-like, placed in a “tent” mode, and even folded out to create a larger tablet. If this is Microsoft’s vision for the Surface Phone, it will have very few comparable devices on the market, and certainly fits the Surface modus operandi of bringing something totally unique to existing form factors.

The patent’s various configurations reveal double, and even triple-screened phones, that the patent describes as both a mini-tablet and a phone. The devices, which also include slide-out models that appear to include different types of housings, are described as supporting several use cases given the varied configurations possible as a result of their hinges.

It’s particularly interesting, as Microsoft was also recently awarded a patent for an electrical hinge that would naturally be essential in any and, perhaps even all of these designs.

Patent filings don’t always translate into products for market, but these recent developments are especially intriguing. Microsoft has long been teasing spiritually Surface-like mobile devices, and those devices, hopefully, are just around the corner.

 

 

[Source:- Windowscentral]

 

This new Microsoft design patent is unlikely to be the Surface phone

Patently Apple goes a bit heavy with the speculation especially since their earlier find from February shared some resemblance of what was eventually Surface Studio. I call that luck as most patent filings rarely become actual products. Back to this patent, no information about the features, hardware, or materials used are mentioned making the filing pretty basic.

Oddly, the Patently Apple author goes on a tangent about pens, Apple, Samsung, and how Microsoft could be bringing inking to Mobile (a forgone conclusion already). They then cite FIG. 7 with the following conclusion labeled in their image:

However, what we can clearly see is that a Surface smartphone is likely to support their Surface Pen. Like the Samsung Note-styled embodiment, a slot has been designed into the body of the design at the top.

Of course, to our eyes, it only looks like a standard 3.5mm headphone jack like the kind you used to find on every smartphone in the world. I’m not sure when we started confusing headphone jacks with pen slots. 2016 is a weird year, and I suppose Apple fans have already moved on from ‘headphone-gate’ by forgetting it ever existed? I dunno.

The bottom of the phone has a single port, which again looks like an old micro USB slot and not quite the symmetrical USB Type C design we are accustomed too.

Frankly folks, I don’t see anything interesting here. This design patent is a generic filing on what could easily be the Lumia 640. In fact, the patent cites Micromax, Sony Xperia, LG Optimus, Lumia 830, and the Lumia 530 – all phones from 2012-2014 – under ‘other publications’ for the patent’s references.

Microsoft has some exciting stuff in the pipeline for sure, but please don’t go spreading this around as ‘proof’ of a ‘Surface Phone.’ Facts and data are still necessary, not a generic drawing based on yesteryear’s inspiration.

 

 

[Source:- windowscentral]

The path to a Surface phone is clearer than ever with Windows 10 on ARM

Why does ARM on Windows 10 matter? What does it mean for a phone running Windows 10? Let’s break down Microsoft’s latest announcement to identify its implications.

Microsoft’s announcement of Windows 10 on ARM is a momentous occasion. Companies like Apple have been rumored since 2012 to be working on bringing macOS to ARM. Even just weeks before the MacBook Pro refresh rumors were swirling that Apple’s new laptops were ARM based. Yet it is Microsoft who is the first to do it for real (and not just for a Touch Bar).

To be clear, Windows 10 on ARM is about PCs and not phones. Nonetheless, the prospect that these two systems will come together is feasible. Here is how a Surface “phone” could happen, but first some background on why ARM even matters.

x86-64 versus ARM

ARM is the architecture used in modern smartphones. Whether it’s Apple’s A10 Fusion chip or Qualcomm’s Snapdragon line, these processors are all based on the ARM architecture. ARM differs significantly from x86 and x64, which is what Intel chips like ATOM, Core M, and Core i are based, as well as AMD’s processors.

Windows 10 Mobile runs on ARM; Windows 10 on x86-64. They share OneCore and UWP, but there’s a yawning gulf between the architectures.

Windows 10 Mobile runs on ARM; Windows 10 for PC runs on x86-64. Both share OneCore and UWP as their center of overlap. The difference is also why you cannot run x86 Win32 apps on your phone. Architecture matters.

Because ARM was made to be efficient for small batteries and reduced thermal loads, it’s ideal for smartphones and slim tablets.

Historically, ARM chips were significantly less powerful than desktop-class x86 processors. That’s been changing in the last few years. Apple’s A10 Fusion chip, found in the iPhone 7, is often compared in performance to the 2013 MacBook Air — which sported a 1.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor.

So, if ARM’s so fantastic, why not just put your desktop OS on it? The task requires a tremendous amount of engineering and work. Microsoft, evidently, has finished it. Apple is likely still working on something.

Why it’s a big deal

The ability to run a full PC operating system on a tablet, two-in-one, or laptop powered by ARM has been the dream. Battery life in such a device gains a few hours with excellent thermals. The PC is now always connected to the internet. It can also be thinner and lighter than any x86-64 system — there’s less battery needed for an acceptable lifespan and reduced thermal dissipation demands.

We already have that with smartphones, but now you can run a full OS for apps and games with minimal compromises.

Such a scenario changes concepts around gaming, using digital inking, productivity, reading, exchanging information, and creativity. It’s the power of a PC but with fewer limits.

To make this tech dream come true, ARM’s performance had to improve, batteries had to get better, and someone had to port their OS. Well, that all just happened and none of us are dreaming anymore. This is the coming reality.

Cost counts too

A performant x86-64 processor is also much more expensive than ARM. This pricing matters to companies trying to create new categories of devices with greater abilities. For example, an Intel ATOM chip is around $37, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 runs about $70. But an Intel Core M processor starts at $281 and a Core i7 can go over $600.

That problem of Core M PC sticks being fantastic, but crazy expensive now disappears.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon SoCs also have everything on board including Wi-Fi, LTE, GSM, Bluetooth, Quick Charge, and camera technology all for a fixed cost. Manufacturers choose which features they want and license it. Hence why your Qualcomm-powered phone might not have Quick Charge 3.0.

On the other end, x86-64 is just the processor. Any LTE modem support is extra, as are all the other radios. Because of this difference, PCs range in feature sets, price, and even size.

The additional components make x86-64 systems hotter, more expensive, larger, and harder on batteries than any ARM counterpart.

Microsoft’s problem is they need something stronger than an ATOM, but cheaper and smaller than an Intel Core M. A processor based on ARM does all of that, plus adds in 4G LTE support, radios, and is significantly more efficient than an x86-64 system.

How to go from Mobile to the phone?

All this news and talk of smartphone components raises the next logical question: Why can’t we run Windows 10 for ARM on a smartphone?

Why Microsoft keeps working on Windows 10 Mobile: ARM, cellular, and the next big thing

In theory, you now can. The reality though is more complicated. Nevertheless, you can bet Microsoft is very much likely working on such a scenario for a ‘Pro’ smartphone experience.

Here are a few reasons why Microsoft has not put Windows 10 on ARM on the phone… yet:

  • Pricing: Such a phone will be more expensive. Additional RAM, a large SSD for significantly more storage, and the license SKU for full Windows 10 will make this “phone” costlier. Full Windows 10 takes around 20GB of storage versus ~4GB for Mobile. Full Windows 10 also ideally needs at least 8GB of RAM, compared to 2GB for Mobile. Most modern flagship smartphones have 4GB of RAM, with a few select Android phones sporting 6GB.
  • Continuum in reverse: The interface experience is not there — even the touch-friendly Windows 10 design isn’t going to work on a screen much smaller than 7 inches. Microsoft needs the Mobile shell (UI) for when the device is acting as a phone, but shows the desktop when docked. It’s Windows 10 Mobile Continuum, but inverted.
  • Phone support: While Windows 10 on ARM supports LTE data, it still lacks proper telephony abilities like phone calls, visual voicemail, SMS, and the like. Presumably, those features from the Mobile system will be incorporated into Windows 10 for ARM, but that still needs to happen.
  • Let the dust settle: Microsoft wants to get Windows 10 on ARM into devices like tablets and two-in-ones first, build out UWP some more and refine the whole experience. Once emulation has improved and deployment has expanded, hardware costs will come down, Windows 10’s power efficiency will improve, the processors will be even faster, and then a phone that can run Windows 10 on ARM makes sense.

There is also the idea of an external GPU (eGPU). That tech becomes an interesting extension for Continuum when docked and using Windows 10 on ARM. That technology, however, hasn’t even been developed yet for ARM.

Windows 10 Mobile for budget

Despite some of these hurdles, it should be evident by now that Microsoft sees Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile scenarios colliding and overlapping.

A device that runs full Windows 10 on ARM can be positioned as a ‘Pro’ device for those who need it all.

Windows 10 Mobile through Continuum and even x86 emulation becomes more like a desktop PC. Meanwhile, the desktop PC becomes more like Mobile. Cats and dogs living together! Windows 10 Mobile can still hit much lower price marks, yet deliver a similar experience, compared to a device running full Windows 10.

When you break it down that way, then Windows 10 Mobile makes sense. It will be the “light” version of Windows 10 both in features and cost. A device that runs full Windows 10 on ARM, however, can be positioned as a ‘Pro’ device for those who need it all. Perhaps someday when even the base ARM processors are powerful enough, then a separate Mobile OS won’t make sense anymore — but that’s still years away at best.

The future is mobile

I think this is where Microsoft is headed. A “Surface phone” would be a Pro device that is high-end hardware, but capable of being a full PC when docked at a desk (or with a Lap Dock). Windows 10 Mobile can still be used for entry level and mid-range phones where such OS overhead is not required or even desired.

I think we also have our answer to why there is no Surface 4 yet and why manufacturers bailed on Windows 10 Mobile tablets. Microsoft obviously had something much bigger in the works that’s more tantalizing to both them and their partners.

There are a lot of dots getting connected here between the realities of today’s technologies and the Surface phone, and it’s becoming obvious how Microsoft’s going to bridge the remaining gaps. Inking, mixed reality, UWP, OneCore, Windows Hello, Windows 10 on ARM, far-field speech-communication, Continuum, and more all promise a world where the device in your pocket can do much more than just run dinky phone apps. You are seeing that world being created right in front of your eyes.

Windows 10 on ARM is game changing. Make no mistake about it: the path to the ultimate phone just became much clearer.

 

 

[Source:- windowscentral]

 

Microsoft engineer Paul Barr does a deep dive into Surface Hub development and functionality

Image result for Microsoft engineer Paul Barr does a deep dive into Surface Hub development and functionality

Microsoft Ignite has brought a number of important and fascinating updates, primarily around the company’s enterprise-oriented cloud services solutions but with a smattering of other topics thrown in. For example, we have our best glimpse yet atwhat’s coming in Windows 10 Mobile while also gaining more evidence that Microsoft has absolutely no plans to fuss with the consumer market for at least the foreseeable future.

One very specific product that received some attention at Ignite is the Surface Hub, the physically largest member of the Surface family of hardware products and the one that’s the most focused on larger businesses. The Surface Hub is more than just an intelligent whiteboard. As we described it in another story:

The Surface Hub is Microsoft’s solution aimed at enabling advanced collaboration solutions, by reimagining the company’s own Pixel Sense technology. The Surface Hub utilizes the giant touchscreen, array microphones, dual cameras, and special software functionality to enable groups to share and interact with information in conference rooms and across distances. Last year, Microsoft announced price hikes and delayed shipping dates for its Surface Hub portfolio, and the last time we checked the first Surface Hub devices were supposed to ship to customers in early 2016.

Microsoft hosted a session at Ignite that delved into the development of the Surface hub and that provides some new insights into how the technology works together to make for a great collaborative solution. As the video description tells us:

Surface Hub is a powerful team collaboration device designed to advance the way people work together. In this session, Paul Barr from the Surface engineering team goes under hood to explain the components of the hardware design, development and management of the specialized Windows operating system, and tailored user experiences with Surface Hub.

Here’s what you’ll learn about if you watch the entire video:

  • A tour of the Surface Hub’s best-in-class design principles
  • A run-through of Surface Hub hardware
  • User experience innovations
  • The operating system foundation
  • The security incorporated into solution
  • How the Surface Hub can be deployed, managed, and serviced
  • The Surface Hub is a very focused device that’s built and priced to meet a very specific set of business needs. So far, the Surface Hub has exceeded Microsoft’s sales forecasts, meaning that it’s not only been a financial success but it’s also carving out a place in Microsoft’s line of productivity solutions. We’ll continue to keep you up-to-date on Surface Hub advancements, and let us know in the comments if you’re lucky enough to have used a Surface Hub in getting things done.

 
[Source:- Winbeta]

Microsoft Store offering up some serious savings on Surface Pro 4 Essentials bundles

Those looking for some big savings on Microsoft’s Surface product line are in for a treat, as the company has slashed up to $399 off the price when purchased as part of an Essentials Part, including a Type Cover.

The bundles that include NFL Type Covers are seeing the biggest discounts, which would normally cost $159.99 each. The bundle can be customised with the following steps being available:

  • Select the NFL Surface Pro 4 Type Cover
  • Choose a variation of the Surface Pro 4, which includes:
    • Intel Core i5 / 128GB / 4GB RAM
    • Intel Core i5 / 256GB / 8GB RAM
    • Intel Core i7 / 256GB / 16GB RAM
  • Choose a HEX Surface Pro 4 Sleeve that has a rear pocket
  • Add the Office 365 Home subscription for one year
  • Opt for the Microsoft Complete Accident Protection plan

Here are the exact discounts being made available:

  • NFL Surface Pro 4 Type Cover – $129.99 (was $159.99)
  • Surface Pro 4 Intel Core i5 / 128GB / 4GB RAM – $849 (was $999)
  • HEX Surface Pro 4 Sleeve – Free (was $49.99)
  • Office 365 Home subscription – $79.99 (was $99.99)
  • Microsoft Complete Accident Protection – Free (was $149)

Savings on the above items can be up to $398.99. This brings in a total cost of $1,058.98. However, choosing a different Surface Pro 4 model will only save you $328.98.

If you’re interested in making use of these steep discounts, you can grab the NFL AFC teams Type Covers here, or for the NFC teams go here.

Not an NFL fan? Not to worry. There are also some discounts to be had here, too. Using a similar process as above, follow these steps:

  • Select a Surface Pro 4 model
  • Select any Type Cover that isn’t NFL related
  • Choose a HEX Surface Pro 4 Sleeve. Must be either black, blue or gray
  • Add the Office 365 Home subscription for one year
  • Opt for the Microsoft Complete Accident Protection plan

With these options, you could see discounts of up to $368.99, bringing the total cost to $958.98.

 

[Source: Winbeta]

 

Watch Apple advertise Microsoft’s Surface Pro

Over the weekend, Apple released a new ad campaign for the iPad Pro. Perhaps directed at Windows users, the ad shows off iPad Pro features not available on traditional computers, and questions viewers by asking,”what’s a computer?”

Of course, this ad will not settle well with some Windows and Microsoft fans, so one Reddit user switched things up and created a video of Apple advertising Microsoft’s Surface Pro.

Seen above, Reddit user hisensemusic, overlaid the voice over from Apple’s original adwith clips from Microsoft’s ads for the Surface Pro 4. The user notes that the video was made in around 30 minutes, and that it is, “amazing how well the Surface commercial just slots in to the voice over.”

Amazing it is indeed, because right the Apple narration mentions “Keyboard that can just out of the way,” images of Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 Type Cover appear on the screen. Similarly, when the Apple narration taunts, “and a screen you can touch and write on” images of the Surface Pen, and the Surface Pro 4’s touch screen display appear on the screen.

So, what do you think of this video? Let us know your thoughts and reflections by dropping us a comment below!

 

[Source: Winbeta]

Microsoft confirms surface three production will stop this 12 months, has no public plans for a observe-up

Microsoft has showed that its surface 3 tablet, already in quick supply, is in the technique of being phased out. Microsoft will forestall dispensing the tool by December on the ultra-modern, without a phrase but on whether or not the employer will update its decreasestop surface hardware. In a declaration sent to press, a Microsoft spokesperson stated:

due to the fact that launching surface 3 over a yr ago, we have seen sturdy demand and delight among our clients. inventory is now limited and through the quit of December 2016, we can not manufacture surface 3 devices.

The unique floor RT and surface pro were introduced just over 4 years in the past, but neither became a spoil hit out of the gate. The surface RT turned into built on an underpowered Nvidia Tegra three and Microsoft badly flubbed its messaging on how its ARM-like minded version of home windows differed from its x86 counterpart. floor 2 provided a good dealimproved overall performance courtesy of Nvidia’s Tegra four, but it become floor 3 that lower back the lowercease surface platform to the x86 area, courtesy of Intel’s x7-Z8700 SoC. That chip offers a base clock of 1.6GHz, a 2.4GHz base frequency, LPDDR3-1600 memory channels, and a situation layout energy (SDP) rating as little as 2W.

Of the three non-seasoned surface pills, the floor 3 was by means of far the pleasantobtained of the bunch, which makes Microsoft’s cancellation and not using a word of a successor a chunk of a marvel.
The surface four SoC conundrum

commonly, Microsoft might preserve adopting Intel’s decreasequit Atom SoCs for surface gadgets while counting on a mixture of center M and middle i3/i5/i7 parts for the floor pro or floor ebook households. Intel’s decision to cancel its telephone and pill merchandise surely threw a wrench into these plans, and it’s not clean what trade hardware Microsoft should even use.
Surface3

surface three, without its kind cover. Small tablets need small CPU cores.

Intel doesn’t provide TDP figures for its Atom Z8700 own family and it doesn’t provide SDP scores for its center M hardware. the lowest TDP configuration for cutting-edge middle M chips is 3.5W — respectably low, however now not a beneficial point of assessment seeing that we don’t recognize how the 2 metrics relate to each different. Intel’s list fees, then again, are a remember of public report — and the $281 fee tag on a center M is a ways above the $37 listing fee for an Atom SoC. you can say 6dcae44b5bb0ed8decf5315a8a4ccfbc to x86 2-in-1’s at $four hundred – $500 fee factors if OEMs should flow to center M processors.

AMD doesn’t seem to have some thing that could fit Microsoft’s needs, both. The organisation made a few overtures to the pill market several years in the past but in no way significantly tried to go into the marketplace. An updated version of AMD’s Puma+ SoC constructed on 14nm might have been able to address this space, however AMD determined not to update its cat cores beyond the 28nm node (at the least, no longer inside the pc space).

Rumors suggest that Microsoft might have held off on updating the surface family this 12 months so it is able to launch new hardware along its subsequent most important windows 10 release, codenamed Redstone 2 and predicted to reach in early 2017. Redmond’s options for a brand new surface three successor, however, will still be pretty limited. it could choose Apollo Lake and take delivery of higher energy intake, but the accelerated thickness and noise wouldn’t play properly with purchasers and Microsoft isn’t going to release an ARM-simplest surface four. preserve in mind, all of this discussion applies simplest to the standard surface circle of relatives — Microsoft is expected to replace the cutting-edge floor e-book and surface seasoned 4 later this 12 months or early next.

The most effective course for Microsoft to take could be to kill floor three outright, hold iterating at the floor pro circle of relatives, and allow thirdcelebration OEMs like Dell and Asus cope with the lowerend of the market. it might be disappointing to look the decreasestop surface line die simply after it in the end observed comfy footing. unless Intel is willing to build custom hardware for Microsoft’s extraordinarily restricted needs there won’t be a replacement answer in the marketplace.

New Mac Pro 2016 release date rumours: Issues surface regarding Late 2013 Mac Pro GPU, Apple offering free fix

The current Mac Pro was first unveiled just over two and a half years ago at WWDC in June 2013. It took another six months before Apple was able to start selling it (and a few more months for some customers to start to receive their units). Two years on, for a ‘top of the range Mac’ the Mac Pro is looking rather long in the tooth.

In this article we will be looking at rumours surrounding the new Mac Pro  release date, and features and specs we hope to see in the 2016 version of the Mac Pro.

The good news, for those hoping to upgrade to a new Mac Pro soon, is that code in El Capitan is hinting that a new Mac Pro with 10 USB 3 ports could arrive soon; new Intel Xeon Skylake chips have arrived.

On-the-other-hand, perhaps the Mac Pro should just be discontinued. A Mac Observer story suggests that it’s been a flop. It might just be time for Apple to go back to the drawing board if it is to save what appears to be an unpopular Mac.

Last updated to include information regarding faulty graphics cards in the current Mac Pro

New Mac Pro 2016 rumours: When is the new Mac Pro coming out?

Apple hasn’t announced a launch date for the next generation of Mac Pro systems, so we have to do a little detective work.

First up, code in OS X El Capitan is hinting that a new Mac Pro may be on its way soon. There is a reference to a new Mac that is code named “AAPLJ951” within El Capitan, according to Pike’s Universum.

The current Mac Pro is codenamed AAPLJ90 so there is some logic to this new reference being a new version of the professional-level workstation.

Another clue that this is the Mac Pro is the fact that the code hints that there are 10 USB 3.0 ports. Currently there are 4 USB ports and 6 Thunderbolt 2 ports on the Mac Pro. We think that adopting Thunderbolt 3 on the Mac Pro may make more sense as it brings Thunderbolt to USB-C at 40Gbps, for the best of both worlds, more on that below…

There are rumours that Apple wil hold an event in March 2016 at which it will unveil the new Apple Watch 2, an iPhone 6c, and possibly an updated MacBook Air. Although it is possible that Apple would also show off a new Mac Pro at that event, it seems unlikely, given the fact that the Mac Pro is a professional Mac and that event sounds very consumer focused.

Will Apple discontinue the Mac Pro?

Maybe the Mac Pro will never be updated. As The Mac Observer writes: “The ‘New’ Mac Pro is a Failure”. That site compares it to the ill fated Cube which was available for less than a year in 2000/2001.

Many professional Mac users are still using old Mac Pros from pre 2012 mainly because they are easily upgradable, with options for larger capacity drives (2TB or 4TB or more). You can even get a 12-core 3.46GHz processor in the older model that could give the newer, 2.7GHz 12-core processor in the 2013 Mac Pro a run for its money. As for video card options, the old Mac Pro has many more.

Those who did upgrade to the ‘new’ trashcan-like Mac Pro are also finding that the need for multiple expansion cards and external drives are cluttering up their desks, where previously these extras could be neatly concealed inside the Mac Pro chassis.

For all Apple’s claims about it being a powerful machine, it appears that the Mac Pro is just not considered a professional workstation by the intended market.

Incidentally, Apple has been granted a patent for the Mac Pro, specifically for the structure and organization of internal components and external interfaces for a compact computing system, according to a report on Patently Apple.

Possible delays with the new Mac Pro

If the new Mac Pro is delayed, it wouldn’t be the first time. Apple first unveiled the Intel Xeon (Ivy Bridge-E)-based Mac Pro at it’s WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) in June 2013, although the unit didn’t actually start shipping until December that year – in fact for most shoppers the supply of Mac Pro was so constrained that they didn’t receive their new Mac until 2014 – in come cases not until February or March.

One reason for the delays back in 2013 was thought to be the fact that Apple was building the new-look Mac Pro in the USA. It may well be that updates to the current model are also being plagued by the same issues that slowed the production lines back in 2013.

We had hoped to hear news about a new Mac Pro in the summer of 2015, so we’re growing impatient and are hoping for an update soon.

That said, the reason for the delays in updating this Mac could be lack of interest in this workstation-style Mac. Apple may be focusing attention on other projects such as the Retina iMac, which was updated in October. It’s possible that Apple doesn’t intend to update the Mac Pro at all. It has launched several other new Macs since the launch of the Mac Pro, including impressively powerful iMacs that can sometimes perform better than the current entry-level Mac Pro can. Video editor Max Yuryevtested Final Cut and Premiere Pro rendering on both the 5K Retina iMac and 6 Core Mac Pro and found that the iMac performed better in some cases, although did suffer from heating issues that the Mac Pro avoids thanks to its design.

But we don’t think Apple is trying to phase out the Mac Pro in favour of a more powerful iMac line-up. It’s more likely that it’s just spending a long time getting the new Mac Pro just right before it launches after the issues it experiences with the previous launch. There is still a market for the more powerful Mac Pro, which is upgradable and if you’ve got the budget for a high-end model can be incredibly powerful, fast and reliable.

 

New Mac Pro 2016: ports

The current Mac Pro sports six Thunderbolt 2 ports, which means this Mac can be connected to up to three 4K displays.

There’s also 4 USB 3 ports; Dual Gigabit Ethernet; and an HDMI 1.4 UltraHD, as well as a combined optical digital audio output/analog line out mini-jack; headphone mini-jack with headset support; HDMI port supports multi-channel audio output and a built-in speaker.

Code in the El Capitan beta actually suggests that the next generation Mac Pro will offer 10 USB 3.0 ports. Currently there are 4 USB 3 ports and 6 Thunderbolt 2 ports on the Mac Pro.

We think that it would make more sense if Apple adopts Thunderbolt 3 on the Mac Pro – this standard of Thunderbolt supports USB Type-C and offers 40Gbps transfer speeds, so Mac PRo users would get the best of both worlds. Thunderbolt 3 offers double the speed of USB 3.1, which is only 10Gbps.

Another thing Apple could add is a Lightning port as seen on the iPhone. Yes really. There are rumours that the lightning port will be used on Macs for plugging in headphones which could allow for high-res audio.

However, many traditional Mac PRo users are still calling out for PCI slots whcih would allow users to add faster SSDs and better video cards. Some even ask for internal drive bays, with Mac Observer noting that a 3.5in hard drive bay would allow for archival space to be added.

New Mac Pro 2016: new Xeon E5 v3 ‘Grantley’ processor

The 2013 Mac Pro features Intel’s Xeon E5 V2 processors (code-named Romley) offering up to 12 cores (as a build-to-order option). Back in September 2014 new Xeon E5 V3 chips (code-named Grantley) started shipping – bringing the Haswell architecture to pro workstations. At the time we thought the processor would soon make their way to the Mac Pro, but no upgrade emerged.

Those Intel Xeon E5 V3 chips were being used in Dell’s new Xeon Precision Tower (5810, 7810 and 7910) – find out more on Dell’s website. These Dell workstations use the Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 processor series featuring either 14 or 18 cores per processor.

The processors in the current Mac Pros are configurable up to 3.5GHz for a six-core option, 3.0GHz for an 8-core option, and 2.7GHz for a 12-core option. We may see a slight boost in these numbers, but we could equally see the same clock speeds, with the processors themselves being faster.

It is possible that the new Mac Pro will, like the Dell above, offer an option of 14 or 18 cores.

New Mac Pro 2016: new Xeon E5 v4 processor

It is likely that Apple has been waiting for the next generation of E5 chips. Intel’s Xeon E3-1200 V4 (Broadwell) launched this summer and these may be destined for the Mac Pro. Alternatively the equivalent E3-1200 V5 (Skylake) Xeon processors launched at the end of October and may be Apple’s processors of choice for the new model.

According to WCCFTECH, these future Xeons will offer a greatly improved micro architecture, better graphics, better DDR4 support and capactity for more RAM.

The Xeon E3-1200v4 launched at Computex 2015 at the beginning of June 2015, but Anandtech stated that: “It looks like the current Xeon E3-1200 v4 is somewhat a niche product”, emphasising that along with being a chip for workstations with moderate graphics power, it should be ideal for video transcoding.”

New Mac Pro 2016 specs

Currently there are two standard Mac Pro models available along with various build to order options:

Quad-Core and Dual GPU: 3.7GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor; 12GB1866MHz DDR3 ECC memory; Dual AMD FirePro D300 with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM each; and 256GB PCIe-based flash storage.

6-Core and Dual GPU: 3.5GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor; 16GB 1866MHz DDR3 ECC memory; Dual AMD FirePro D500 with 3GB GDDR5 VRAM each; 256GB PCIe-based flash storage.

It seems likely that Apple will update the Mac Pro with the next generation Intel Xeon E5 processor described above, we may also see more RAM in the entry-level version, now that the 15-inch MacBook Pro range ship with 16GB as standard. We’ll go into more detail below.

New Mac Pro 2016: graphics

The 2013 Mac Pro features dual workstation-class GPUs. The Dual AMD FirePro D300 with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM each in the Quad-Core version, and Dual AMD FirePro D500 with 3GB GDDR5 VRAM each in the 6-Core model. There’s also a build-to-order option of the Dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM each (an extra £480).

AMD showcased new its new FirePro W-series at Siggraph in August 2014. The FirePro W7100, W5100 may find their way into the new Mac Pro.

Alternatively there are significantly faster graphics based on AMD’s Fury platform that may be destined for the new Mac Pro.

Update (08/03/2016): After a thread on the Apple Support Communities website amassed a huge response when complaining about faulty graphics cards in the Late 2013 Mac Pro, Apple admitted that a number of Mac Pro’s have faulty cards and that affected customers could have the issue fixed free of charge. To be legible for a free repair, you must have encountered “distorted video, no video, system instability, freezing, restarts, shutdowns” or system startup failure.

It’s not all Mac Pro’s though, only those manufactured between February 8 and April 11 2015, and the issue can be fixed by taking your damaged Mac Pro to an Apple Store. Interestingly, MacRumours notes that the issues are known to exist with the AMD FirePro D500 and D700 GPUs, with the AMD FirePro D300 being completely unaffected.

Will these issues force Apple into choosing another graphic card manufacturer for the next Mac Pro? While there are no rumours online that suggest so, we think a change could be on the cards for the Mac Pro GPU.

Currently you will find 256GB PCIe-based flash storage as standard in both standard Mac Pro models, with an option to add 512GB SSD for £240 or 1TB SSD for £640.

We’d like to see more storage as standard on the Mac Pro as the target audience do tend to be working with very large files. We’d like to see an option for 2TB flash storage.

New Mac Pro 2016: RAM

The new Xeon E5 V3 Grantley chips are said to have DDR4 memory controllers, so you can expect even faster memory in this year’s new Mac Pro.

The current models offer 12GB RAM in the Quad-Core model, and 16GB in the 6-Code model as standard. You can add 32GB Ram at point of purchase for £320, or a massive 64GB RAM for £960. As we mention above, the 15-inch MacBook Pro now comes with 16GB RAM as standard, so we would hope that the updated entry-level Mac Pro would match that.

64GB RAM might sound like a lot to you, but some of these Dell workstations can accommodate up to 1TB of DDR4 RAM. We hope that the next generation of Mac Pros will be configurable to more than 64GB (four slots of 16GB). Yosemite is apparently able to make good use of the extra RAM.

Availability of the Mac Pro – delays

When Apple launches the new updated Mac Pro there may well be delays in availability as there were in 2013-2014, as the company attempted to ramp up production in its new, US based, facility.

When the new look Mac Pro launched it was plagued by delays, with availability slipping initially to January, then February, March and eventually April in some cases, before Apple was able to meet demand.

Having previewed the Mac Pro at WWDC in June 2013, the company promised availability before the end of 2013, but it wasn’t until 19 December that the Mac Pro became available. Then, following the launch, stocks were so limited that only a lucky few, US based, customers were able to purchase the new professional Mac workstation before the end of 2013.

Customers in the UK who ordered their new Mac on 19 December 2014 found that they would have to wait until January 2015 for the new Mac Pro. Some lucky UK customers finally received their Mac Pro around 12 January. This was almost a year after the old version of the Mac Pro was banned over in Europe because it didn’t comply with EU electrical safety laws.

Luckily the wait for the current Mac Pro isn’t quite so long now, with shipping for the standard versions “within 24 hours” according to Apple’s website. If you want a build-to-order version the wait will be about 5-7 business days.

The fact that Apple is no longer struggling to meet demand would suggest that when it launches there will not be the significant delays in getting units out to customers that there were with the Mac Pro at the beginning of 2013. Apple had a new design which was being produced at an entirely new factory in the US, so the delays were understandable, although maybe not excusable.

Where can I buy a Mac Pro?

Other than directly from Apple, you will be able to buy the new Mac Pro from Apple Premium Resellers such as Stormfront, Square Group, Solutions Inc, iStore, Western Computer, MR Systems, KRCS, HardSoft, and PC World. You can find an Apple Premium Reseller near you by searching on Apple’s site.

UK pricing for the Mac Pro

Currently the Mac Pro starts at £2,499 (£2,082.50 ex VAT) in the UK for a quad-core 3.7GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor with 10 MB L3 cache and Turbo Boost up to 3.9 GHz, 12GB RAM, Dual AMD FirePro D300 with 2GB of VRAM and 256GB of flash storage.

There is also a 6-core model with 3.5GHz Xeon E5, 16GB RAM, two AMD FirePro D500 cards with 3GB of VRAM, and 256GB flash storage for £3,299.

We expect that prices won’t change significantly when Apple updates the range for 2014, although we could see a price drop as Apple has been dropping UK pricesacross its range of Macs in recent months.

Current pricing for the Mac Pro build to order options

The build-to-order options that will push the price higher. The following specifications are available for the 2013 Mac Pro:

Build-to-order options on the 3.7GHz Quad-Core Mac Pro 2013:

3.5GHz 6-core option (add £400), 3.0GHz 8-core processor (add £1,600), or 2.7GHz 12-core processor (add £2,800); 16GB (add £80), 32GB (add £400) or 64GB- (add £1,040) RAM memory; dual AMD FirePro D500 (add £320), or or dual AMD FirePro D700 (add £800); 512GB (add £240) or 1TB flash storage (add £640)

Build-to-order options on the 3.5GHz 6-Core Mac Pro 2013:

3.0GHz 8-core processor (add £1,200), 2.7GHz 12-core processor (add £2,400); 32GB (add £320) or 64GB (£add £960) RAM memory; dual AMD FirePro D700 (add £480); 512GB (add £240) or 1TB flash storage (add £640).

A Mac Pro with the maximum 12-core 2.7GHz processors, with 30MB L3 cache, 64GB RAM, 1TB PCIe-based flash storage, Dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM each currently costs £7,779 including VAT (£6,482.50 ex VAT).

[Source:- Macworld]