Apple discontinues 15" MacBook Pro BTO models ahead of Force Touch refresh

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited May 2015
Apple on Friday began discontinuing many models of its professional 15-inch notebook ahead the company's annual developers conference, which is widely expected to give way to updated models with Force Touch trackpads and Intel's latest mobile processors.

B&H shows a CTO 15" MacBook Pro model as discontinued.


In an effort to draw down channel inventory ahead of the conference -- which runs June 8 to 12 in San Francisco -- Apple began delaying shipments of many non-standard (otherwise referred to as "BTO" or "CTO" configurations) several weeks ago. At the time, AppleInsider reported on the MacBook drawdown, noting that estimated shipping times were rapidly increasing.

Since then, most indirect channel partners and some retail stores have run out of many or all 15-inch MacBook Pro models, as seen in our Mac Price Guides. And on Friday, the Cupertino-based company began officially discontinuing many of those same CTO models while preparing final shipments of the two standard 15-inch MacBook configurations.

For instance, MacMall is completely out of 15-inch MacBook Pro models, including retail configurations, while Amazon and most other resellers only retain stock of the base configuration. Meanwhile, Apple's own online store says standard models are available to ship in three to five business days, but configuring a model with faster processors bumps up the lead time to two to three weeks -- around the time of Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).

Most telling, however, are two pages (one & two) on the online store of Apple Authorize Reseller B&H's which were updated within the last 12 hours to indicate that both models have been marked end-of-life (EOL), or retail speak for a product that is discontinued. The first being a 2.8GHz version with 512GB SSD and another with 1TB of flash storage. At the same time, B&H also raised the price of the two standard 15" configurations (MGXA2LL/A & MGXC2LL/A) overnight -- the latter back to MSRP -- indicating that stock of those models is similarly running thin.

Apple is widely expected to launch a refreshed 15-inch MacBook Pro in the near future, with speculation that a new model with Force Touch trackpad and speed upgrades will debut at this year's WWDC in June. The flagship MacBook Pro with Retina display was last updated in July 2014 with Intel Haswell CPUs and more standard memory.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 99
    adhiradhir Posts: 50member
    Here's to hoping they stick with nvidia discrete graphics, though it's more likely they'll move to the amd stuff.
  • Reply 2 of 99
    thewhitefalconthewhitefalcon Posts: 4,453member

    Or Apple's killing the product entirely.

     

     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by adhir View Post



    Here's to hoping they stick with nvidia discrete graphics, though it's more likely they'll move to the amd stuff.

    People should get ready to lose the discreet option all together. The next MBP refresh will likely take them into Air territory size wise, and I seriously doubt they'll be able to cool a discreet GPU in a chassis that thin.

  • Reply 3 of 99
    curtis hannahcurtis hannah Posts: 1,833member
    Or Apple's killing the product entirely.


    People should get ready to lose the discreet option all together. The next MBP refresh will likely take them into Air territory size wise, and I seriously doubt they'll be able to cool a discreet GPU in a chassis that thin.
    The last update isn't that old(compared to the air) so it may be a little while, honestly won't them to go back to high end discreet gpu on all models rather then narrow it to mid end on high models. To note, the 5k iMac is a step forward toward and high end.
  • Reply 4 of 99
    mfrydmfryd Posts: 216member
    I think the big change will be two USB C ports replacing Thunderbolt, SD card slots, and MagSafe.

    Yes, it will annoy a lot of existing customers, but Apple has a history of rapidly embracing new technology and abandoning old technology. Remember the ADB (Apple Desktop Bus) to USB 1 transition? How about the SCSI to USB 2 transition? Now that we have USB 3, when was the last time you saw a native FW port on a Mac?
  • Reply 5 of 99
    asciiascii Posts: 5,936member

    I would like to see increased internal storage. The blade SSDs they use in the Macbook Pro are so small and thin, they should be able to lay two of them on their side and fit them in without making the design thicker. Then you could have 2x2TB = 4TB internal storage which would be a very pro feature.

  • Reply 6 of 99
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by adhir View Post



    Here's to hoping they stick with nvidia discrete graphics, though it's more likely they'll move to the amd stuff.



    The extra cost of the discrete GPU is not justifiable for most power users, so Apple will eventually drop it.  That will bite for the few users who need maximum GPU performance at any cost, but will be great for the majority of power users who will be well served by Iris Pro 6200 graphics and save a few hundred dollars.

  • Reply 7 of 99
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     

    Or Apple's killing the product entirely.

     

     

    People should get ready to lose the discreet option all together. The next MBP refresh will likely take them into Air territory size wise, and I seriously doubt they'll be able to cool a discreet GPU in a chassis that thin.




    Well I could see them losing the discrete gpu, but it's highly unlikely that the 15" will go away. It's the most popular notebook size among other oems, and it's likely that it consolidated the majority of 17" purchases when that one went away. Their gpu options suck anyway, especially given the level of markup.

  • Reply 8 of 99
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 15,378moderator
    mfryd wrote: »
    I think the big change will be two USB C ports replacing Thunderbolt, SD card slots, and MagSafe.

    Yes, it will annoy a lot of existing customers, but Apple has a history of rapidly embracing new technology and abandoning old technology. Remember the ADB (Apple Desktop Bus) to USB 1 transition? How about the SCSI to USB 2 transition? Now that we have USB 3, when was the last time you saw a native FW port on a Mac?

    They can't get rid of the fan in the MBP. The 13" rMBP was updated recently and it didn't get USB C, just Force Touch and Broadwell chips:

    http://appleinsider.com/articles/15/03/21/review-apples-early-2015-13-macbook-pro-with-force-touch-trackpad

    If the 15" is getting refreshed soon then it will likely be Broadwell too and I'd expect the same that happened to the 13". Skylake is the big update for a redesign because of all the wireless tech. Apple could delay that refresh because it's so close to Broadwell.

    Concerning USB/Thunderbolt, if Apple or Intel can get PCIe to work over USB C's alt-mode then it would be the same as Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt 3 supports USB 3 mode too so they should behave like USB ports anyway. The fan will hold them back from redesigning the chassis so they have room to fit TB, SD slot etc. I could see them eventually ditching mag-safe because of wireless charging but it stayed on the 13" for now.
  • Reply 9 of 99
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post





    If the 15" is getting refreshed soon then it will likely be Broadwell too and I'd expect the same that happened to the 13". Skylake is the big update for a redesign because of all the wireless tech. Apple could delay that refresh because it's so close to Broadwell.

    I can't find any Broadwell chips suitable for the 15" that have been released as of yet. Perhaps your results differ?

  • Reply 10 of 99
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Does this mean Skylake won't happen until next year or is coming early?
  • Reply 11 of 99
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hmm View Post

     

    I can't find any Broadwell chips suitable for the 15" that have been released as of yet. Perhaps your results differ?


    Apple have enough market power to get the chips they want from Intel, whether or not they have been released to the market.  Apple have shipped unreleased (to the public) chips before.

     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    Does this mean Skylake won't happen until next year or is coming early?

    Yes, it means that we will not see Skylake MBPs until early-2016.

  • Reply 12 of 99
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

     

    Apple have enough market power to get the chips they want from Intel, whether or not they have been released to the market.  Apple have shipped unreleased (to the public) chips before.


     

    To the best of my recollection it happened once several years ago. It seems highly unlikely, yet the claim comes up every time a refresh seems overdue. I would call it less likely now due to their size and required volume.

  • Reply 13 of 99
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,781member
    Marvin wrote: »
    I could see them eventually ditching mag-safe because of wireless charging but it stayed on the 13" for now.

    If they did go wireless charging, it'd be pretty inefficient due to the power requirements of the MBP (60w for the 13") and the aluminium base would have to be replaced with something non-conductive. Plus IMO it'd be pretty unwieldy, since if you were using the Mac as a laptop you'd have to have a charging base underneath it, instead of just a plug.
  • Reply 14 of 99
    jdwjdw Posts: 1,380member
    [B][SIZE=4]Apple should bring back the MacBook Pro 17".[/SIZE][/B] I was reading recently in Becoming Steve Jobs how Steve once wrote a memo to Apple employees from his hospital bed, ending it by advertising the fact he had his 17" MacBook Pro and Airport Express there to do the job. Things change, to be sure; and that is why Apple dropped the 17". But the fact remains that BIG IS IN now days. If you think I lie, then explain the PLUS sized iPhone and the rumored upcoming 12.9" iPad. If they can make a freaking iPad 12.9 inches, they can resurrect the dead 17" MacBook Pro and transform it into the super powerhouse it always should have been. The sheer surface area alone will allow them the extra cooling required to put much more power into it than any other mobile device in Apple's lineup. Furthermore, in some countries like Japan (where I've lived the last 20 years), many people have one computer at home %u2014 a notebook. As such, they tend to go for the big screen machines. That remains true even though you can add a big screen to a "12 or 13" or 15" MacBook. And yes, I sent Apple feedback recently to suggest this. You people should too (even if you yourself don't feel you need one %u2014 be nice to others by suggesting it too):

    https://www.apple.com/feedback/macbookpro.html

    [B]Oh, and to those of you looking toward [SIZE=4]SKYLAKE[/SIZE] (along side myself), I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I've read SKYLAKE won't support DDR4 on mobile.[/B] Apparently, we need to wait for [SIZE=4][B]CannonLake[/B][/SIZE] for that. You're talking 2017 (late in the year) for that. So it looks like a buy of this upcoming Broadwell MBP15 (I doubt it will be SKYLAKE) will serve is for a long while, sans any jealously over subsequent "minor update" models coming out in the next 2 years.
  • Reply 15 of 99
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    mfryd wrote: »
    I think the big change will be two USB C ports replacing Thunderbolt, SD card slots, and MagSafe.

    Yes, it will annoy a lot of existing customers, but Apple has a history of rapidly embracing new technology and abandoning old technology. Remember the ADB (Apple Desktop Bus) to USB 1 transition? How about the SCSI to USB 2 transition? Now that we have USB 3, when was the last time you saw a native FW port on a Mac?

    USB and Thunderbolt solve different problems. If anything we will see a more advanced version of TB.
  • Reply 16 of 99
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    ascii wrote: »
    I would like to see increased internal storage. The blade SSDs they use in the Macbook Pro are so small and thin, they should be able to lay two of them on their side and fit them in without making the design thicker. Then you could have 2x2TB = 4TB internal storage which would be a very pro feature.

    You might get something like this. The reasoning is pretty simple, to set the machine apart performance wise. I could see the two SSD's RAID'ed together to increase transfer rates. If not RAID at least provide for the extra storage capacity.
  • Reply 17 of 99
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Elijahg View Post





    If they did go wireless charging, it'd be pretty inefficient due to the power requirements of the MBP (60w for the 13") and the aluminium base would have to be replaced with something non-conductive. Plus IMO it'd be pretty unwieldy, since if you were using the Mac as a laptop you'd have to have a charging base underneath it, instead of just a plug.



    Yes, inductive charging would have to be complemented by conventional charging via either Magsafe or USB-C because people presumably will not want to carry a charging pad while traveling.

  • Reply 18 of 99
    bluefire1bluefire1 Posts: 1,304member

    If the new 15" Pro arrives in June, then Skylake isn't likely, since Intel's chip won't start appearing in computers until the second half of this year. Anyone thinking of getting a new Mac should, in my opinion, definitely wait for Skylake. The revolutionary chip is 60% more energy efficient than Broadwell, and will offer wireless charging capabilities.

  • Reply 19 of 99
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    mcarling wrote: »

    The extra cost of the discrete GPU is not justifiable for most power users, so Apple will eventually drop it.  That will bite for the few users who need maximum GPU performance at any cost, but will be great for the majority of power users who will be well served by Iris Pro 6200 graphics and save a few hundred dollars.

    I see a world that is a bit different in that software packages will continue to leverage the GPUs to a greater extent than ever before. I really don't see the need for a discreet GPU going away anytime soon. GPUs benefit from process shrinks just like CPUs which has lead to lower power (watts) and increased performance. Also AMD has gone all in with the HSA architecture and that has significant potential to expand GPU use.

    We might eventually get to the point where the GPU in these APU SoC is all that is needed in a laptop but the reality is that might take at least a couple of more process shrinks.
  • Reply 20 of 99
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    rogifan wrote: »
    Does this mean Skylake won't happen until next year or is coming early?

    I wouldn't be surprised to find that Apple has worked something out with Intel that will allow them to announce early. For that matter Intel and Apple might jointly announce SkyLake shipping. Remember WWDC is only about two weeks for July and the expected SkyLake debut. Beyond that this wouldn't be the first time that WWDC and Intel announcements where very close on the calendar.

    The primary reason I think Apple will go SkyLake is the performance gain that is suppose to come. Like it or not for a pro computer there hasn't been significant CPU performance gains in ages now.
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