Buyers Outlook for 2008-2009. Penryn iMacs Soon, Nehalem in 2009

The Buyer's Guide has a been an important part of MacRumors for many years now.

The basic reason why the Buyer's Guide exists is to prevent someone from buying at the wrong time of the upgrade cycle. Apple updates their products in a very consistent manner. A Mac comes out at a certain price with certain features. The price and features of that particular Mac stay exactly the same throughout the lifespan of the product. So, if a customer buys on Day #1, they are getting the fastest/newest technology for the dollar. The problem, however, is that 8 months later, on the day prior to its refresh, that Mac costs the exact same money, but contains 8 month old technology.

Before the move to Intel this trend could be even more striking, as the PowerPC updates were especially secretive and we had no roadmap for future PowerPC processors. Instead, one day Apple would announce "new Macs," and anyone who just bought a Mac would curse their luck. Of course, the Buyer's Guide combined with the most recent rumors helped prevent that.

Since the move to Intel, however, the dynamics have changed a bit. First, we know what's coming 1-2 years in advance. Intel is very open about their plans, and we know that Apple will use their newest processors within a reasonable timeframe. Second, we've even heard rumors that Apple has even been forced to update their Macs ahead of what might be considered the "natural" refresh cycle in order to keep up with Intel's aggressive pace. These changes have caused some interesting side effects.Minor Updates, Buy Old Models?

The release of the newest MacBooks and MacBook Pros in February brought only minor changes to Apple's notebooks. The move to Penryn-based processors offered slight battery-life improvements, but little in speed gains.

In fact, the MacBook upgrade came as a bit of surprise since it had just been updated 3 months earlier. Rumors suggested that this unexpected update was due to Intel's aggressive phase-out of the previous generation Merom processors. But what this meant is that it was suddenly not very compelling to get the latest MacBook. Many readers may have been swayed by discounts on the previous generation MacBooks or MacBook Pros that had similar performance, but with a substantial "closeout" discount.

As we await the Penryn revisions for the iMac, readers should be aware that Penryn's reduced power consumption will not be particularly beneficial to desktop computers. Unless Apple adds other compelling features to the next iMac revision, readers may want to pause a moment before reflexively ordering the newest Mac.

Major Updates Ahead, To Wait Or Not?

For the first time since Apple has adopted Intel processors, we are approaching a major jump forward in processor technology with Nehalem processors. Nehalem represents an overhaul of Intel's processor technology. Arstechnica provides a technical overview of the upcoming processor, but the bottom line is it offers major improvements to several existing bottlenecks.

Nehalem, however, won't be ready for use in a Mac until early 2009. As a result, we can't recommend delaying all upgrades until then, but for those with more flexible upgrade plans, it may be worth the wait.

Meanwhile, potential buyers will be tempted mid-year with updates to the Penryn processors that will accompany the Montevina launch. These incremental increases in Processor and Front Side Bus speeds could also accompany major design changes to Apple's notebooks.

Related Roundup: iMac
Buyer's Guide: iMac (Buy Now)
Related Forums: iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro

Top Stories

macbook air orange

Apple Developing a Whole New Kind of MacBook Air

Monday June 21, 2021 2:15 am PDT by
Apple is believed to be working on a completely new, high-end version of the MacBook Air, according to recent reports. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who often reveals accurate insights into Apple's plans, has repeatedly discussed the company's work on a high-end MacBook Air. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and leaker Jon Prosser have also referred to a similar MacBook Air model. The high-end...
iOS 15 Users Underwhelmed Feature

Users Underwhelmed by iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, Survey Suggests

Monday June 21, 2021 7:17 am PDT by
Users appear to be underwhelmed by Apple's upcoming iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 updates, according to the findings of a new survey by SellCell. The survey asked 3,000 iPhone and iPad users, evenly split between men and women, aged 18 or over in the United States, what they thought of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and the naming of the upcoming iPhone 13 lineup. Over 50 percent of all of the survey's...
purple iphone 12 and 12 mini

iPhone 12 Mini Production Reportedly Ended Earlier Than Expected Due to Relatively Low Sales

Monday June 21, 2021 7:07 am PDT by
Following widespread reports that the iPhone 12 mini has experienced poor sales performance, at least relative to other iPhone 12 models, Taiwanese research firm TrendForce today claimed that production of the device has already ended. According to TrendForce, the iPhone 12 mini "reached End-of-Life ahead of time" during the second quarter of 2021, suggesting that Apple will focus on selling ...
Dark Sky App Featured

Apple Updates Dark Sky Weather App With Apple Watch Improvements and More

Tuesday June 22, 2021 11:58 am PDT by
Apple today updated the Dark Sky weather app for the first time since November with improved VoiceOver support and other bug fixes and performance improvements. In addition, Dark Sky complications on the Apple Watch now update more frequently. The full release notes for Dark Sky version 6.8.6:• Improved VoiceOver support • Complications on Apple Watch update more frequently •...
iPhone 12 v Android 2020

Apple Executive Says Users Who Want App Sideloading Already Have That Option With Other Platforms

Wednesday June 23, 2021 5:07 am PDT by
Apple earlier today published a detailed report outlining in blatant terms the negative impact that sideloading would have on the iPhone and iPad, specifically calling out the impacts it would have on user privacy and security. Now, the company is continuing its PR push, with an executive noting in an interview that users who wish to sideload apps already have that option thanks to other...
iOS Spam Calendar Feature

iCloud Users Continue to Be Plagued by Calendar Spam

Monday June 21, 2021 8:51 am PDT by
Despite previous attempts to put the situation at rest, some iCloud users continue to experience spam calendar invitations, causing their calendars to be filled with random events. The situation received widespread coverage in 2016, where Apple said that it was "actively working to address this issue" by "identifying and blocking suspicious senders." Victims are targeted in various ways. The ...
primeday2020 feature3

Amazon Prime Day: The Best Apple Deals

Monday June 21, 2021 6:15 am PDT by
Amazon's annual Prime Day event has officially kicked off today, beginning 48 hours of discounts, offers, and tons of savings across Amazon's storefront. This includes everything from home electronics to clothing, jewelry, video games, movies, and much more. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment,...
ios wifi settings

iOS Bug Causes Specific Network Name to Disable Wi-Fi on iPhones

Sunday June 20, 2021 4:15 am PDT by
A wireless network naming bug has been discovered in iOS that effectively disables an iPhone's ability to connect to Wi-Fi. Security researcher Carl Schou found that after joining a Wi-Fi network with the name "%p%s%s%s%s%n" his iPhone's Wi-Fi functionality was left "permanently disabled." Changing a hotspot's SSID did nothing to correct the problem, with even a reboot failing to make a...
iphone 13 lineup dummy models

iPhone 13 Dummy Models Depict Repositioned Camera Modules

Wednesday June 23, 2021 4:12 am PDT by
New alleged dummy models of the upcoming iPhone 13, shared by leaker Sonny Dickson on Twitter, depict a modified camera layout on the standard iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini, with two lenses in a diagonal arrangement rather than the vertical arrangement seen on the iPhone 12 models. The dummy models generally line up with iPhone 13 schematics previously seen by MacRumors, which showed that the ...
iphone 13 yellow

TrendForce: iPhone 13 Lineup Will Remain Limited to Maximum 512GB of Storage

Monday June 21, 2021 6:33 am PDT by
Apple will likely unveil its next-generation "iPhone 12s" or "iPhone 13" lineup in around two and a half months from now, and ahead of time, Taiwanese research firm TrendForce has outlined its expectations for the devices. A summary of TrendForce's expectations:Apple will unveil four new iPhones in September, including a mini model, a standard model, and two Pro models. September is the...