Macs that await refreshing: 2011

MacBook Pros and iMacs have gotten their updates; now it's time to look at what comes next.

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR | Gaming | Metaverse technologies | Wearable tech | Tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein
2 min read
Mac Mini: Still in 2010 form. Sarah Tew/CNET

We're several days into May, and another Mac has gotten upgraded to 2011 Intel processors. MacBook Pros, check. iMacs, check. Now that two of Apple's most popular lines have gotten necessary upgrades, it's time to look at which Macs still haven't gotten updated...and wonder when those updates will occur.

In order of our best guess as to when they'll be refreshed, here are the Macs we're still expecting.

The white MacBook (last updated: mid-April 2010)
Apple's lone white laptop has survived for years, and now that white's the new black in Apple products, maybe it'll come back in vogue as more than a "budget" pick. Like last year, we'd expect an imminent update to set it up as a back-to-school selection...assuming, of course, that the white MacBook will make it another year. Best guess: a Core i3 CPU.
Read our review of the last white MacBook.

MacBook Air (last updated: late October 2010)
The thin, fast-booting 11- and 13-inch Airs are the freshest Macs on our list, but they still lag behind the winter's new MacBook Pros in terms of battery life and processor power. New Intel Sandy Bridge low-voltage processors like those seen in the Samsung Series 9 could be the answer, along with being outfitted with the compact and versatile Thunderbolt port. Early signs point to a summer refresh.
Read our review of the 11-inch MacBook Air (2010)

Mac Mini (last updated: mid-June 2010)
The popular, tiny, set-top-friendly Mini is due for an immediate upgrade, too. Maybe a 2011 Mac Mini will make its appearance somewhere around WWDC in June. While I dream of the Mac Mini evolving into the perfect Apple living-room computer, a 2011 update will probably just see a processor upgrade and Thunderbolt technology. The 2010 Mac Mini had a Core 2 Duo CPU as opposed to the iMac's Core i3 and i5 processors; we'll see whether Apple can incorporate Sandy Bridge into a 2011 Mac Mini, possibly in the form of a Core i3.
Read our review of the Mac Mini (2010)

Mac Pro (last updated: mid-July 2010)
Powerful Xeon-based towers aren't for the average consumer, but for serious number-crunchers, HD video editors, and FX studios, these are the Apple powerhouses of choice. Intel's 6-core Ivy Bridge CPUs could be a strong candidate for the Pros, unless they adopt Sandy Bridge processors sooner than that.