- iPad introduction
- MBP revenue
- Product readiness
- Steve Jobs
iPad - Apple is getting a billion dollars of free advertising and PR for the iPad. This is something Apple has mastered. Communicating MBP changes (or anything else) is a waste of money as they are only competing for attention with themselves. The standard play here is to wait until the iPad furor starts to dissipate before launching anything.
MBP Revenues - unlike the iPad factor, this demands immediate action. If everyone expects an update, then MBP sales go off a cliff. There are people who's jobs depend on making MBP budget numbers. They are probably stressed. I'm guessing they missed a Feb window due to product issues, now they have to wait until mid-end April at the earliest.
Product Readiness - Does it work? Is it reliable? When moving to a new platform, these can be problems that take awhile to iron out. As above, I'm guessing they missed a Feb launch window due to performance, reliability or integration issues (like getting custom Apple components working on the new Intel motherboard). No matter what, they can't launch until all these issues are solved. But as we don't know about product issues, this tells us nothing about the launch date.
Steve Jobs - He is a unique and unpredictable part of the equation. Normally, even a CEO doesn't have freedom to delay something like an MBP launch because he wants to. The market won't let them get away with it. Unlike a mortal CEO, Steve Jobs can do or not do as he pleases, the markets don't care about an MBP refresh while they try to figure out what the iPad is going to do to the whole industry. My total speculation is that if they missed a Feb window, he said "June". And that was it. Can't wait too long, however, they have a lot of new product to get out this year.
So there's my completely speculative take from a Marketer's point of view. I'm guessing June.