Kuo: Demand for new MacBook Pro models tepid due to high prices, disappointing specs

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited November 2016
Noted KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo sees slow demand for Apple's recently released MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models, as the notebooks ship at higher than expected prices and present disappointing specifications to core Mac users.




Kuo in a note to investors obtained by AppleInsider on Monday said initial demand for the new MacBook Pro models "seems tepid" in the days after Apple unveiled the laptops at a special media event last week.

At least part of the blame falls on higher than expected prices, with flagship 13- and 15-inch Touch Bar models starting at $1,799 and $2,399, respectively. By contrast, last year's 13-inch MacBook Pro refresh sold for $1,299 in March, while the larger 15-inch variant started at $1,999 in May.

In addition to high customer costs, Kuo believes key design changes are a major disappointment to core users. Specifically, the analyst cites Apple's switch to USB-C, the removal of the standard SD card reader and lack of support for higher memory allotments.

For the first quarter of 2017, the analyst anticipates demand for older MacBooks to remain steady, but forecasts a 15 to 25 percent a decline in overall shipments quarter-on-quarter due to slower uptake of the new models. The net result is three million MacBook shipments for quarter one, flat from the same time last year.

Despite mediocre readings on immediate demand, Kuo is optimistic going further into 2017. Specifically, the analyst believes Apple will lower pricing of MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models in the second half of next year to drive channel sell-through. Apple historically reduces hardware prices about a year after launch in conjunction with discounts on legacy models.

Beyond out-the-door cost, consumers might be more willing to adopt MacBook Pro as USB-C accessories become more prevalent in the marketplace, and developers begin coding for Touch Bar.

Finally, Apple's 2017 MacBook Pro update, expected in the second half of the year, may gain support for up to 32GB of RAM, making the platform a more compelling option for power users.

As AppleInsider noted earlier today, the recently released MacBook Pro series is powered by Intel's Skylake class of processors with LPDDR3 memory, a specification that supports up to 16GB RAM. Next-generation Cannonlake CPUs that efficiently run LPDDR4 RAM at higher allotments are scheduled for release in time for next year's MacBook update. If Intel fails to ship Cannonlake on time, however, Apple will likely turn to Coffee Lake, which features the same LPDDR3 specifications as Skylake.

For the latest prices and discounts on 2016 MacBook Pros, please visit our Mac Price Guide.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 211
    Wow, they haven't even shipped yet and Glorious Leader and Savant Ming-Chi has already decreed them to be a failure. That might be a new record. 

    Here, let me try: New Mac Pro refresh doomed, iPad Pro 2 sales 'disappointing'. 

    Wow, that was easy. Got my numbers from the same source too (thin air).
    jfc1138Eric_WVGGpulseimagesandrewj5790anton zuykovtallest skilpscooter63macplusplusmejsrictmay
  • Reply 2 of 211
    Apparently his research involves reading the AI comments.
    baconstanglevipscooter631983Rayz2016equality72521mejsricrogifan_newjay-trevenant
  • Reply 3 of 211
    I don't foresee tepid demand here, there is a large volume of upgrade customers waiting for this model and Apple rarely decrease the price of their products significantly - the introduction of new technology is instead used to validate keeping the same price: The touch bar with touch ID is both a good reason to upgrade and excellent way to legitimise the unchanged cost.
    andrewj5790stevedownunderpatchythepiraterepressthisjony0
  • Reply 4 of 211
    Kuo  is good at knowing what may be coming. But he's an Apple doom salesman like most other analysts. Drive the price down, pick it up cheaply, sell when the results are better than forecastedz
    jay-tration al
  • Reply 5 of 211
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,550member
    1) LOL Because Macs were already the low-cost brand of the PC industry to begin with.

    2) Here's a scenario. Apple updates their MBP to include Skylake and the better display in the new casing and future-forward USB-C ports at the previous price points. Or maybe they don't use the much better display or faster SSD in order to keep the same price points. They also have to eschew the notion of the Touch Bar, all the R&D that went into it for HW, SW, and APIs to make it easy for developers to integrate; not to mention not having the T1 chip which runs it and controls Touch ID and Apple Pay. Would that have made people happy? Personally, I'd ecstatic for my new MBP purchase. I wish Intel was doing a better job in more than just power efficiency for their chips, but I'm elated by the major innovations Apple has brought to this new MBP.
    pulseimagesandrewj5790jay-tstevedownunderpatchythepiratebrucemcrepressthisration almagman1979
  • Reply 6 of 211
    My early 2008 MacBook Pro died and I can't wait until the second half of 2017 to see if Intel can pull out a miracle by releasing a product on time. I was working with 4GB of RAM up until recently and I was okay with that in Photoshop and Lightroom. So I think I will be okay with 16GB.
    anton zuykovjay-tstevedownunderwilliamlondonrazorpitschlackrepressthis
  • Reply 7 of 211
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,550member
    I don't foresee tepid demand here, there is a large volume of upgrade customers waiting for this model and Apple rarely decrease the price of their products significantly - the introduction of new technology is instead used to validate keeping the same price: The touch bar with touch ID is both a good reason to upgrade and excellent way to legitimise the unchanged cost.
    I know 8 people that have preordered a new MBP, and dozen more that are going to order shortly. Over half of them are what I describe as effectively techtarded. They wouldn't have a clue what an HDD, SSD, or RAM is but they are Mac users that have been waiting patiently for a new Mac and pre-ordered the day they were available.
    pulseimagesgilly017andrewj5790irelandstevedownunderpatchythepiratestanthemanration alwatto_cobramagman1979
  • Reply 8 of 211
    I would buy one if I had to, but my last mbpr still has screen glitches (it was an early one) so I would NOT jump on this one for at least 6 months.
    As much as i'm
    impressed with the touch bar, I think I'm more in the market for an iMac (depending) an ipad (waiting  for screen bump to see) or even a Mac Pro once they make it TBolt 3. 

    Too too bad they were unable to get all the top spec items into the smaller book. This seems like an Apple disease across all product lines. 

    Cheers!


  • Reply 9 of 211
    netroxnetrox Posts: 706member
    I am definitely not buying a new MacBook Pro anytime. It's a huge disappointment. It's overpriced. It's underwhelming. Although TB3 is great but it will take a while for TB3 devices to come out. 


    duervostarwarsentropysjbdragonpeterhartschlackstanhopedysamoriafrankeed
  • Reply 10 of 211
    They really screwed up. If they'd had these ready for September (school) they probably do better. But all the students already committed to something. You can't go to college and hope a computer may or may NOT show up. Hell with the 3-4 the whole 1st semester will be 90% over. And my god the price! I'm not a PC supporter AT ALL but Microsoft made a whole computer touch screen not a "bar". Yes I know.... "they make one without it, blah blah blah...", but it was the only thing it had going for it this time around. My 2011 17" has the same RAM as this. And they sucker punch you $2,400 for the 15" that's how much I paid for my 17"back in 2011. Shouldn't prices go down by now not up and then REALLY up? Just sayin'
    revenantentropysbloggerblogschlackstanhopedysamoriaapplecored
  • Reply 11 of 211
    Wouldn't next year's MacBook Pros ship with Kaby Lake based on Q1 availability from Intel? The rumours point to Coffee Lake on the high-end, including six core CPUs. But I wouldn't expect those until 2018.
    pulseimagesirelandnetmage
  • Reply 12 of 211
    the macbook is sexy but unacceptable not to be able to get more than 16gb of ram in a high end laptop in late 2016, especially for that price!
    duervostarwarsentropyschelin74stanhopewaverboydysamoriarepressthis
  • Reply 13 of 211
    512ke512ke Posts: 781member
    He is as right about this as he was about the latest iPhone, which is to say, not very. 

    Apple will not be able to make these computers fast enough to keep up with demand. 
    andrewj5790irelandanantksundaramration alrepressthismagman1979
  • Reply 14 of 211
    LOL. Kuo thinks he has access to sales data now. What a tool bag.
    andrewj5790irelandanantksundaramration alpalominerepressthismagman1979
  • Reply 15 of 211
    I would buy one if I had to, but my last mbpr still has screen glitches (it was an early one) so I would NOT jump on this one for at least 6 months.
    As much as i'm
    impressed with the touch bar, I think I'm more in the market for an iMac (depending) an ipad (waiting  for screen bump to see) or even a Mac Pro once they make it TBolt 3. 

    Too too bad they were unable to get all the top spec items into the smaller book. This seems like an Apple disease across all product lines. 

    Cheers!


    Good point, my Early 2008 MBP was a refurbish and it suffered from the partial yellow screen. So I guess I will wait 6 months for them to work out the bugs.
    stanhope
  • Reply 16 of 211
    netroxnetrox Posts: 706member
    nathany said:
    Wouldn't next year's MacBook Pros ship with Kaby Lake based on Q1 availability from Intel? The rumours point to Coffee Lake on the high-end, including six core CPUs. But I wouldn't expect those until 2018.
    CoffeeLake will be based on 14nm instead of 10 nm because Intel cannot yield enough stable chips with 10nm. This is how bad it is now - we're already reaching the limits of Moore's Law. That is probably why Apple will likely end up putting ARM chips on Macs in two years. Remember how Apple was pissed off that PowerPC was not scaling up efficiently while Intel managed to keep up with the pace so Apple switched? Now, Intel is becoming like IBM. Sadly.
    repressthis
  • Reply 17 of 211
    demand low? its not even out yet.  lol


    FUD.... FUD...FUD 
    ofcourse to take attention away from brand new libeup.... same as they do when they spread rumors about iphone 8.

    its a securities trading firm formost ....... where manipulations are rooted.

    capasicumirelandanantksundaramration aldysamoriapalominerepressthis
  • Reply 18 of 211
    I see where this guy is coming from. The Touch Bar 13" should be $1500, not $1800 for a 8gb/256gb combo, that's insane going into 2017. The 2016 Macbook is awesome (although needs one more USB-C port). But the same formula of stripping ports away doesn't quite work with the Pro models.
    duervoentropyswaverboydysamoriahmm
  • Reply 19 of 211
    And Reddit 
  • Reply 20 of 211
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,570member
    While I generally buy MacBook Air's, I had gotten fed up with the need for two dongles and a power supply when I am off-site for work.  I hate having to choose between Ethernet or hdmi. So, I was going to get the pro this time.  Then Apple started the DongleDangle... so I will skip it.  Maybe my Air can survive another year...

    Apple really screwed up by: not providing the iPhone 7 with a USB-C port over lightning; not creating an "exciting" dock brick to avoid dongle madness; not including one USB-C to USB-A adapter in the box; and, making the pro laptop decidedly consumer.  

    I get their heir strategy and motivation.  In two years when their phones are all USB-C, and when someone (else) makes a slick dock... all the pieces will be there.  Not willing to waste money on the goofy transitional products this time around though.  If all else fails, my Air and iMac just become Remote Desktop thin clients... and I can live with that.
    duervoentropysrepressthis
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