iMacs and MacBook Pros take a dip in Kaby Lake

When Apple unveiled its slimmer, trimmer MacBook Pros last October, we had to wonder whether the company's goals for those notebooks ended up out-of-sync with Intel's product cycle. Those machines relied on Intel's Skylake processors instead of the higher-boosting, more-responsive Kaby Lake mobile chips that launched about two months later. Subsequent complaints about performance, limited memory capacity, and battery life from MacBook Pros may have been related to that choice of CPU. Today, Apple is harmonizing MacBooks and iMacs with Intel's latest CPUs by replacing Skylake with Kaby Lake.

iMacs now come with Kaby Lake quad-core CPUs ranging up to 4.2 GHz base and 4.5 GHz Turbo Boost clocks. Apple is also taking this opportunity to add its Fusion Drive hybrid storage system to all 27-inch iMacs, and the highest-end 21.5" iMac will also benefit from that upgrade. New iMacs will come with two Thunderbolt 3 ports instead of Thunderbolt 2, and Apple further claims the SSDs in these machines will be 50% faster than those in its outgoing all-in-ones. 21.5" models will top out at 32GB of RAM, and 27" models can take up to 64GB.

The latest iMacs will also feature optional Radeon RX 500-series graphics chips. The entry-level 21.5" iMac will rely on its Kaby Lake CPU's Iris Plus graphics, while 4K versions of the 21.5" machine will offer Radeon Pro 555 and Radeon Pro 560 pixel-pushers with up to 4GB of RAM. The 27" iMac will give buyers a choice of the Radeon Pro 570, Radeon Pro 575, and Radeon Pro 580 graphics processors with up to 8GB of RAM. Apple announced that it's partnering with Valve to bring the SteamVR SDK to the Mac, and the new graphics options for the 27" version offer the hardware foundation required to power VR headsets for folks who prefer to create VR experiences in macOS.

Other improvements to the iMac line include displays with 10-bit color support (through dithering) and 500-nit maximum brightness ratings. The 21.5" 4K iMac now starts at $1299, as well.

On the mobile Mac side of the aisle, the MacBook's infusion of Kaby Lake lets Apple's thinnest and lightest laptop hold low-power CPUs up to a Core i7 with 1.3 GHz base and 3.6 GHz boost speeds. Apple also says the CPU upgrade allows the MacBook to address twice the maximum amount of memory compared to older models. MacBook SSDs should run up to 50% faster than their predecessors, as well.

The 13" MacBook Pros get (presumably dual-core) Kaby Lake Core i7s running at up to 3.5 GHz base and 4.0 GHz Turbo speeds, while the 15" models will get quad-core Core i7s running at up to 3.1 GHz base and 4.1 GHz boost speeds. 15" MacBook Pros will also get more powerful discrete graphics chips at the base of the lineup. The 13" MacBook Pro is now more attainable with prices starting at $1299. All of these machines will be available to order today from Apple's online store.

Comments closed
    • tipoo
    • 2 years ago

    Now *Three* generations in, and the 12″ Macbook still has Gen 1 USB 3.1 and a 480p webcam…Come on now

    [url<]https://www.apple.com/ca/macbook/specs/[/url<]

    • blastdoor
    • 2 years ago

    Well, I did it — I ordered the 4.2 GHz 27″ iMac.

    The iMac Pro sure is tempting, but with the money I’d spend on that, I can buy a non-Pro iMac and an iPad Pro, with money left over. Plus, it’s not available until December.

    I’ll keep my old 2009 Mac Pro in my menagerie until it dies. Between it and two iMacs (the new one plus a 2014 4 GHz Haswell), I should be able to do all the work I need to do. Once the Mac Pro dies, I’ll consider my options (adding a Threadripper Linux box to the team might be the way to go, but we’ll see).

      • tipoo
      • 2 years ago

      Niiice. Do a forum review!

      • chuckula
      • 2 years ago

      GOOD NEWS! I’VE FIGURED OUT HOW TO MAKE YOUR PREDICTION COME TRUE!!

      Step 1: Cut an iPad sized hole in the back of your iMac Case.
      Step 2: Put your iPad in the hole.
      Step 3: ARM in Macs CONFIRMED! (or is it there’s no step 3?)

        • blastdoor
        • 2 years ago

        Nah, my prediction was just wrong. It’s not going to happen, this year or ever.

        It seems pretty clear at this point that Apple will keep the Mac around for as long as it sells, but that their longer term plan is to keep adding features/complexity to iOS and iDevices so that an increasing number of people can rely exclusively on iDevices for their computing needs.

        Right now, that long term goal seems almost laughable given the slide in iPad sales and the robustness of Mac sales (despite the lack of attention until recently). Clearly Apple underestimated the work cut out for them in broadening the appeal of the iDevices.

        Nevertheless, they seem to be sticking with their strategy. I think they’ve just come to terms with the fact that it will take longer than they thought and that it involves a lot more work, both on keeping the Mac up to date and on adding features/complexity to iOS and iDevices.

    • tipoo
    • 2 years ago

    On the MBA speed bump, how do they even buy Broadwell chips en masse anymore?

    Since the 12″ Macbook doesn’t look to be about to fill in the 1000 dollar spot, an IPS panel and SKL/KL would have gone a long way in the Air. But I guess they want to push people to the higher ASPs understandably, annoyingly.

      • chuckula
      • 2 years ago

      [quote<]On the MBA speed bump, how do they even buy Broadwell chips en masse anymore?[/quote<] Well, I'm sure Intel accepts all major credit cards and since it's Apple, I'm pretty sure Intel will waive the usual rules about not accepting personal checks. Bags full of money delivered in an armored car will [b<]always[/b<] work.

    • Airmantharp
    • 2 years ago

    So here’s the real kicker- those 13″ Macbook Pro laptops only support 8GB of RAM.

    That’s it. And that’s crazy.

    And if you need 512GB of storage (which should be the minimum), you are limited to the top-end model only.

    Iris graphics is a plus, though.

      • ptsant
      • 2 years ago

      They really reduced from 16GB to 8GB? How very intelligent.

        • WasabiVengeance
        • 2 years ago

        No, they really did not. 13″ base ram was 8gb before, and is 8gb now. The max ram was 16gb before, and 16gb now. It’s slightly disappointing that they didn’t up it to 32gb, but not the end of the world. There’s not *that* many tasks that really benefit from more than 16gb of ram that aren’t also painful to run on a dual core processor. Anyone doing really big data processing or lots of VMs would probably be better off having a big linux desktop with a shit-ton of ram/cpu to offload it to anyway, purely on the basis of cpu power.

      • WasabiVengeance
      • 2 years ago

      WTF are you talking about? 8gb is the base on the 13″ model, 16gb is the max. Source: [url<]https://www.apple.com/shop/buy-mac/macbook-pro?product=MPXV2LL/A&step=config#[/url<] Edit: also available via that link: the ability to configure the lowest end option for cpu and ram, but a 1tb ssd. So you're wrong on that too it seems.

        • Airmantharp
        • 2 years ago

        You got me: I was looking at the Apple site, but not where you linked.

    • oldog
    • 2 years ago

    Something that seems to have flown under the radar is that Intel was passed last month by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing in market cap.

    [url<]https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-the-big-chip-rally-knocked-leaders-off-their-perches-1496584800[/url<] Interesting no?

      • chuckula
      • 2 years ago

      Soon [coin of the week] will be worth more than all of them combined!

    • brucek2
    • 2 years ago

    Nice to Have Kaby Lake, but it seems there’s still no help for my fundamental concern that there’s no Apple laptop model with a real GPU (something with the power efficiency and graphics power of a nvidia optimus gtx 1060+), or heck I’d probably settle for 1050ti.

    Secondarily still disappointed about having to use dongles for everything although eventually that one will work itself out.

      • End User
      • 2 years ago

      [url<]https://developer.apple.com/development-kit/external-graphics/[/url<]

        • Krogoth
        • 2 years ago

        Yep, Thunderbolt 3 actually makes a lot of sense here.

        • brucek2
        • 2 years ago

        My point is that there is not an internal option available from Apple, although they are commonly available from other manufacturers.

        I ended up choosing the Gigabyte Aero 15. Some disadvantages compared to the MBPs but for my wishlist a better all around choice.

      • tipoo
      • 2 years ago

      End of year should be interesting according to Gurman, that’s when the “significantly redesigned” 15″ with 32GB should get announced. Until then, yeah.

    • adisor19
    • 2 years ago

    @jeff You might wanna correct the story: the Macbook goes up to 1.4Ghz i7 not 1.3Ghz

    Adi

      • chuckula
      • 2 years ago

      Don’t look now Adisor, but Apple just [b<]DOUBLED THE REGISTERS[/b<].

    • tipoo
    • 2 years ago

    Maybe I’ll settle for being able to afford the matte black extended keyboard. Hnng.

    [url<]https://i2.wp.com/9to5mac.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/wwdc_2017_imac-pro_21.jpg?w=1400&h=&crop&quality=82&strip=all&ssl=1[/url<] Question on the MBPs is if they have the new form fitting battery Gurman talked about.

      • tay
      • 2 years ago

      Theyre not selling the keyboard separately!!! Bastards!!!

        • tipoo
        • 2 years ago

        I’m sad now

        • NoOne ButMe
        • 2 years ago

        Apple throwing away free money…
        Next we’ll see an Android phone from them…
        Or maybe they’ll dare update the Mac Mini…
        Or maybe they’ll make a decently priced external graphics solution… (what? they did for developers?!?!)
        Or maybe they’ll /takes a deep breath/ Make a thicker phone so there is so Camera bump. /gasps/

        Oh, that last one was really hard to type.

    • Bauxite
    • 2 years ago

    “Innovative” tech giant takes 6+ months to implement a pin-compatible cpu revision.

      • blastdoor
      • 2 years ago

      Yeah, definitely weird.

      • Anton Kochubey
      • 2 years ago

      Uhh.. KBL-H CPUs were released 4 months ago, not 6+, and Apple, known for it’s much higher than usual hardware quality, obviously needs some time for testing and validation.

        • tipoo
        • 2 years ago

        Especially with the driver issues Skylake and Kaby Lake had on the Windows side, which Apple seemed to avoid.

        4 months out isn’t too bad, hopefully this means a return to regular updates.

        • ptsant
        • 2 years ago

        They probably received engineering samples like a century ago. Apple is a priority customer and I’m sure Intel has given all the information a very long time ago.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 2 years ago

    [quote<]hold low-power CPUs up to a Core i7 with 1.3 GHz base and 3.6 GHz boost speeds[/quote<] That's quite the boost! That's almost a 200x increase.

      • RdVi
      • 2 years ago

      [quote<]That's quite the boost! That's almost a 200x increase.[/quote<] 2.8x is almost 200x? :p

      • End User
      • 2 years ago

      That is not entirely new. The Core M in my 2015 MacBook had a 1.3GHz base and a Turbo Boost up to 2.9GHz. Think of it as the base clock being very low rather than the boost being high.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 2 years ago

    Wonder what they did to get the MBP down to $1299. It already doesn’t have the Touch Bar. Guessing they’ve got configs with 128GB of storage to fill that spot, which is where the previous-gen model sat.

      • tipoo
      • 2 years ago

      Correct:
      [url<]https://www.apple.com/ca/shop/buy-mac/macbook-pro[/url<]

        • derFunkenstein
        • 2 years ago

        Not too bad. But those Canadian prices. $1700+? Wowza.

          • tipoo
          • 2 years ago

          My life 🙁

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