Apple preparing changes to MacBook lineup this month

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware
Whether it's entirely new hardware, a spec bump, or simply price adjustments, Apple apparently has something different in the works for its MacBook lineup this month, AppleInsider has been led to believe.




While hardware is not expected to be the focus of WWDC 2016 next week, people familiar with Apple's plans have indicated to AppleInsider that some form of changes are expected to affect Apple's MacBook lineup in the near future. Whether they occur alongside the annual developers conference, or at some point later this month, remains to be seen.

The famously tight-lipped company has, thus far, been able to keep its precise plans under wraps, but it's now expected that product adjustments are in the works for the coming weeks. Truth be told, at the moment it's unknown exactly what is in the works, but sources indicated that Apple's proverbial wheels for a changeup are in motion.

However, prospective buyers waiting on a redesigned MacBook Pro shouldn't get their hopes up. While it's possible Apple could use the WWDC stage to pre-announce a revamped, thinner MacBook Pro with a dynamic OLED touch bar and Touch ID fingerprint reader, the hardware is not expected to launch in the immediate future.

While sources couldn't pin down Apple's exact plans, it's believed current MacBook families could see some adjustment by the end of this month, even if it's just in the form of more aggressive pricing.

Such a move would make sense, as the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air lineups haven't been updated in over a year. Even without previewing a redesigned MacBook Pro, Apple could spur sales of existing Pro and Air models with more aggressive pricing, or even potentially a minor spec bump.




While the Pro will live on with a new chassis and new features, it's expected that the MacBook Air design is on the way out, having been replaced by the ultraportable 12-inch MacBook. If Apple were to touch the MacBook Air, any changes could be in the form of a simple price reduction.

It's also possible that 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro revamps could launch at separate times. Apple already did that in 2012, when the MacBook Pro gained a thinner design with Retina display -- the 15-inch model launched first at WWDC, and the 13-inch version followed suit that October.

Similarly, in 2015, it introduced new 13-inch MacBook Pros with a Force Touch trackpad, but waited a few more months before launching a similarly-equipped 15-inch MacBook Pro.


MacBook Pro render. | Source: Martin Hajek


Another scenario could see Apple pre-announce the MacBook Pro, given the anticipated inclusion of an OLED touch bar above the keyboard. It's possible that Apple would want to give developers some time to author applications that take advantage of the dynamic interactive display, presumably through new development tools that could be made available for third-party apps at the conference.

That would align with a rumor that surfaced earlier this week, claiming Apple plans to announce new MacBook Pros this month, but won't launch them until later in the year. Such a move would almost certainly arrive in tandem with price cuts to existing models to fill the time gap. However, it should be noted that AppleInsider's own sources could not corroborate this information, and had no inside word on the prospect of a MacBook Pro unveiling at WWDC.

Revised pricing or slightly faster processors would be a way for Apple to offset its pre-announcement of a new MacBook Pro, if the company were to take that route. Doing so could help to counter a lull in sales that would inevitably occur, as consumers wait for the yet-to-launch Pro models.

A silent price drop or spec update later this month from Apple wouldn't be unheard of, either. Such revisions wouldn't necessarily be big enough news to unveil from the WWDC stage, but would be plenty to move the needle and reaccelerate MacBook sales ahead of more substantial updates later this year.

Apple is set to kick off WWDC 2016 with a keynote presentation next Monday in San Francisco, starting at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern. AppleInsider will be there live, with full coverage of the announcements.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 41
    Wouldn't we have started to see supply issues with the current MacBook Pro lineup if Apple planned a redesign launch in the near future? I think this article is most likely correct in that the redesign launch may be later in the year, unfortunately.
  • Reply 2 of 41
    It'd be easier to kill off the Air if the Pros got a price drop. As it stands there's a $300 gulf to make up between the 13" Air and any Retina laptop. 
    bb-15
  • Reply 3 of 41
    It'd be easier to kill off the Air if the Pros got a price drop. As it stands there's a $300 gulf to make up between the 13" Air and any Retina laptop. 
    True... but the 13" Retina MacBook Pro is a much better machine than the MacBook Air... hence the higher price.

    The MacBook Air is currently the "entry-level" Mac laptop.  11" at $899 and 13" at $999

    Can you imagine if the 13" Retina MBP was $999 ?

    That would be amazing!  But it's highly unlikely that it would happen anytime soon.
    ration al
  • Reply 4 of 41
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 828member
    A significant price drop on the MBA would rock! Heck, it already rocks even with the lack of updates. Fantastic battery life, portability comparable to the best laptops, a good amount of ports, Magsafe, a great touchpad, superb reliability, nice keyboard, and the best power management (whole Apple lineup compared to the competition). Used 5 year old MBAs still go for $500. Similar used laptops from other vendors go for $5.
    JReinhalcornchipnolamacguyration albb-15
  • Reply 5 of 41
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,173member
    I'll be bummed if there are no Mac announcements at WWDC and we just get spec bumps and maybe price reductions later in the month. Apple needs to show the Mac more love than that.
    pulseimagesration al
  • Reply 6 of 41
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,521member
    Hardware improvements on Macbook pro is always welcome news for people looking to upgrade. But this time around, I hope to see MBP(13",15") loose some weight and get bit slimmer. Samsung who I don't care other than their TV announced series Notebook 9 with 13" under 2lb and 15" under 3lb. That is good portability but you may question their Notebook reliability.
    edited June 2016 ration al
  • Reply 7 of 41
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,030member
    They need to kill off the Air, and drop pricing on everything else. It's a good machine, but screen is embarrassingly outdated, and it honestly does not fit in the lineup anymore and makes purchasing decisions that much more confusing. 
    JReinhalroundaboutnowrevenant
  • Reply 8 of 41
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,521member
    May be Macbook falls into 12" and 14" sizes and Macbook-Pro 13" and 15". That covers 12-13-14-15. Than, drop Air completely because MAcbook suppose to replace Air. or until that happens keep only 11" Air.. Don't know why but Asians somehow like 14" laptop. Apple better off keeping two series. Easy to upgrade, less confusion which one to buy. Macbook lesser power but lighter and thinner. Macbookpro poweful with bit extra weight/size..
    edited June 2016 patchythepirate
  • Reply 9 of 41
    They can pry my 17" macbook pro from my cold dead hands for portable professional computing work... Ironically I was looking at the air too, as it's GPU has improved so much, if ultra portability is desired, with some actual horsepower, alas no retina display... Finally I've been looking at the HP Spectre, partly because I'm just so worn out with the MacOS merry go round of annual 'upgrades' to feed the developer gravy train, drivers failing, app updating... W7 pro set & forget it...
  • Reply 10 of 41
    B-Mc-CB-Mc-C Posts: 6member
    Weren't there very recent rumors of a new 13" Air that nobody could make sense of? I'm betting this is actually going to be a 14" MacBook.  The current 12" MacBook has the same chassis size as the 11" Air, and a 14" MacBook would have the same chassis size as the 13" Air, due to the reduced bezels. On the production line, a 14" Air unibody frame was probably mistaken for a 13" Air unibody frame. Please let the 14" version have two ports (one on each side). Maybe they can keep the old non-retina Air at an even lower price for education and/or emerging markets only, but phase it out of US retail to simplify the lineup.
    edited June 2016 radarthekatpatchythepirate
  • Reply 11 of 41
    It'd be easier to kill off the Air if the Pros got a price drop. As it stands there's a $300 gulf to make up between the 13" Air and any Retina laptop. 
    True... but the 13" Retina MacBook Pro is a much better machine than the MacBook Air... hence the higher price.

    The MacBook Air is currently the "entry-level" Mac laptop.  11" at $899 and 13" at $999

    Can you imagine if the 13" Retina MBP was $999 ?

    That would be amazing!  But it's highly unlikely that it would happen anytime soon.
    The MBA used to be $1799 BITD though, now it's the budget machine.
  • Reply 12 of 41
    They can pry my 17" macbook pro from my cold dead hands for portable professional computing work... Ironically I was looking at the air too, as it's GPU has improved so much, if ultra portability is desired, with some actual horsepower, alas no retina display... Finally I've been looking at the HP Spectre, partly because I'm just so worn out with the MacOS merry go round of annual 'upgrades' to feed the developer gravy train, drivers failing, app updating... W7 pro set & forget it...
    Good luck getting 7 Pro, and that's a dated obsolete OS. Both Windows and Mac OS get a big update yearly at a minimum now, so the grass isn't greener on the other side.
    ration al
  • Reply 13 of 41
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,140member
     OS X used to come out in July & August, and only recently has it slipped to September and October. What if they get it back to July & August this year? Then they can announce the new MacBooks but not ship until July or August, and give developers a chance to integrate the TouchBar into their apps, or shortly thereafter, without giving the competition much lead time to rush something to market. An immediate price cut to the MBAs seems likely too for back to school, to clear them out as the new MBPs arrive.
    edited June 2016 radarthekat
  • Reply 14 of 41
    michael scripmichael scrip Posts: 1,911member
    True... but the 13" Retina MacBook Pro is a much better machine than the MacBook Air... hence the higher price.

    The MacBook Air is currently the "entry-level" Mac laptop.  11" at $899 and 13" at $999

    Can you imagine if the 13" Retina MBP was $999 ?

    That would be amazing!  But it's highly unlikely that it would happen anytime soon.
    The MBA used to be $1799 BITD though, now it's the budget machine.
    Sure... but that took a while.  

    I don't know what Apple's laptop lineup and prices will be over the next couple of years... but I seriously doubt the 13" Retina MBP will be at the $1,000 mark anytime soon.
    ration al
  • Reply 15 of 41
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,140member
    The MBA used to be $1799 BITD though, now it's the budget machine.
    Sure... but that took a while.  

    I don't know what Apple's laptop lineup and prices will be over the next couple of years... but I seriously doubt the 13" Retina MBP will be at the $1,000 mark anytime soon.
    No, but the rMB could get a price drop for back to school.
  • Reply 16 of 41
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,536member
    JReinhal said:
    Wouldn't we have started to see supply issues with the current MacBook Pro lineup if Apple planned a redesign launch in the near future? I think this article is most likely correct in that the redesign launch may be later in the year, unfortunately.
    This seldom happens with the MBP and iMacs.
  • Reply 17 of 41
    A spec bump to existing Pro's with a redesign coming later could cause a shitstorm too. Just like the iPad did years ago. 
    ration al
  • Reply 18 of 41
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,536member
    It'd be easier to kill off the Air if the Pros got a price drop. As it stands there's a $300 gulf to make up between the 13" Air and any Retina laptop. 
    The prices on the laptops are universally high right now. The MBP would need more than a $300 price drop to replace the Airs. The Airs to remain competitive need to drop below $900 to remain competitive in the market. Maybe below that point, the problem is the hardware is dated and the lack of a retina screen makes it a hard sell. Update the machine a bit and it (the air) might be able to hold the current price point.

    The MBPs have always been a bit stiff pricing wise. I can see a redesign having a significant impact on the proce point. USB-C for example means having just one type of port to implement. Other refactoring a should have an add on effect of lowering Apples costs a hit. I doubt we will see a huge price drop, but the price drop will be bigger at the higher end. Apples margins on RAM and flash upgrades are just excessive. These up spec models are the place Apple could trim pricing the most and not have a huge impact on margins. Hell they might even improve margins if they get more people to buy high end machines.
    jbishop1039
  • Reply 19 of 41
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,536member
    slurpy said:
    They need to kill off the Air, and drop pricing on everything else. It's a good machine, but screen is embarrassingly outdated, and it honestly does not fit in the lineup anymore and makes purchasing decisions that much more confusing. 
    Wrong! The air is the only low cost general purpose laptop Apple has. Nothing confusing there. RMB is a niche product in its current revision. RMB is also priced way way to high for the markets that MBA is looking to service. MBA simply needs a lower price point and a screen update. That is fairly easy for Apple to do.

    Honestly anybody confused by the current line up should get their grandmother to help them out. Seriously it isn't that hard.
    jbishop1039ration albb-15
  • Reply 20 of 41
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,040member
    Have to hand it to Cook; he said he'd double-down on security and he's done just that. 

    This article is one of hundreds that could be tagged as "anyone's guess"


    ration alpatchythepirate
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