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Monday, June 20, 2011, 05:10 pm PT (08:10 pm ET)

Apple's next Mac Pro rumored to be mountable with a custom CPU

A new unverified report claims Apple's next-generation Mac Pro will feature a custom CPU and have a rack-mountable "server" version.

MIC Gadget reported Monday that the forthcoming refresh for the Mac Pro will "look different in appearance" and include a mountable server model meant to replace the discontinued Xserve line. According to the report, the new desktop will add the Thunderbolt I/O and make the transition to the Sandy bridge architecture with a "unique CPU" developed for Mac and "not seen in PC."

The updated Mac Pro is said to be "significantly faster with the updated processor" and "good for enterprise," though further details about the custom CPU were unavailable. While it remains unclear what exactly Apple's plans for a custom Mac Pro CPU would entail, MacNN speculates that Apple may receive early access to the Xeon E5 processor. The report reiterated a July or August timeline for the refresh.

Rumors emerged over the weekend that Apple has developed "all new" next-generation Mac Pros and Mac Minis. It was suggested that Apple would add Sandy Bridge and Thunderbolt and plans to launch the new Macs in August.

Last week, AppleInsider reported that Apple plans to hold back releases of new Mac refreshes until the Mac OS Lion operating system is ready. Lion will be available only on the Mac App Store sometime in July.

MIC Gadget also reported Monday that the rumored next-gen Mac Mini will see a price drop because of savings from switching to Intel HD integrated graphics from Nvidia's graphics chips. Apple will reportedly save $40 per unit, though gaming performance will suffer as a result.

The report also mentioned updates to Time Capsule and Airport Extreme. The new Time Capsule is rumored to have a better design for heat dissipation and may include a 3TB model, while the Airport Extreme will feature extended range and better heat dissipation. According to the report, the base station will be able to create three networks, including a limited guest network that can be switched on or off. Both products are expected to add a "secret feature" of caching updates for iOS and Mac OS X.

However, it should be noted that these claims remain unverified. The site has leaked info from sources within China in the past, but it's unclear where exactly its current info is from.