A lot of emphasis has been placed on next Tuesday as the day Apple might summon the media to another special event ever since Daring Fireball author John Gruber predicted in passing that October 14th would serve as a launch pad for the company's next-generation notebook offerings.
While introductions on that date remain possible, history would suggest that the window of opportunity for Apple to do so in a media-filled forum is rapidly closing. Taking a historical look back at Apple's surprise media events (below) reveals that only once in the last four years has the company issued invites to the media less than a week before the event was scheduled to take place.
That one exception took place in October of 2005, when Apple gave a select few in the media a five day notice about a special East Coast gathering in New York City that saw the unveiling of several professional Macs, as well as the the first version of the Aperture post production photography software. In all other cases, the company offered between 7 and 9 days notice (and in one case nearly a month's notice).
The window of opportunity is not completely closed, however. Several scenarios for an announcement next week still remain. The company could simply provide reduced notice of an event next Tuesday or issue invites today for an event on Wednesday. Alternatively, it could elect to introduce redesigned MacBook and MacBook Pros next week without a formal presentation.
Also: see a sound argument from AppleInsider reader chadisawesome as to why October 14th was likely never a day Apple planned to host a product announcement.
Apple has defied expectations of a special media event at least once in the past. For example, it introduced the first 13-inch MacBook -- complete with a fresh industrial design -- in May of 2006 with little fanfare, posting the announcement to its website alongside a standard press release.
Should Apple fail to introduce new notebooks next week, it would seemingly be in a race against the clock with the holiday shopping season rapidly approaching. The company would have approximately five weeks to introduce new models, fill pent-up demand, enter into a supply and demand equilibrium, and fill inventories around the world before the post Thanksgiving shopping bonanza kicks into play.
Historical Apple events and invite lead times
Sept 7, 2005 (Invite: 9 days before)
1000 songs in your pocket: first-gen iPod nano
Oct 12, 2005 (Invite: 8 days before)
One more thing: first video iPod, iMac with iSight, iTunes 6
Oct 19, 2005 (Invite: 5 days before)
Apple’s latest pro innovations: Aperture, PowerBooks with higher-res displays, Power Mac G5 Quad & Power Mac G5 Dual
Feb 28, 2006 (Invite: 7 days before)
Fun new products from Apple: iPod Hi-Fi, Mac mini Core Duo, leather iPod cases
March 20, 2007 (Invite: 26 days before)
Lights, Camera, Apple: Final Cut Studio 2, Final Cut Server
Sept 12, 2006 (Invite: 7 days before)
It's Showtime: Apple TV, second-gen iPod nano, updated video iPods, second-gen iPod shuffle, iTunes 7
Aug 7, 2007 (Invite: 7 days before)
Mac announcements: Aluminum iMacs, iLife '08, iWork '08, .Mac upgrade
Sept 5, 2007 (Invite: 8 days before)
The beat goes on: iPod touch, WiFi iTunes Store, iPod nano fatboy (3G), iPod classic, iTunes 7.4
March 6, 2008 (Invite: 7 days before)
iPhone software roadmap: iPhone SDK, iPhone 2.0 and App Store
Sept 9, 2008 (Invite: 7 days before)
Let's Rock: fourth-gen iPod nano, second-gen iPod touch, iTunes 8, HD TV shows