Apple's 2016 MacBook refresh inching closer as Best Buy discontinues 12" MacBook, Airs go on sale

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited April 2016
The wheels seem to be in motion for Apple to begin updating its MacBook offerings during the second quarter of 2016, with resellers holding firesales on all 2015 MacBook Airs while Best Buy has halted sales of current-generation 12" MacBooks completely.

Apple's 2016 MacBooks are Coming


Following a five-week sale, Apple authorized reseller Best Buy has stopped selling Apple's current 12 inch MacBook, according to people familiar with the matter. They say that each of the 2015 models are currently listed as "Discontinued" in the reseller's ordering system.

A quick check of AppleInsider's Mac Price Guide seems to corroborate this information. Every model is listed as "sold out" and Best Buy's product pages for these items each read: "This item is no longer available."

Historically, Best Buy has only used this wording when a current generation product has been discontinued, either permanently or in preparation for a refresh. A similar trend can be seen over at MacMall, where only 4 of 12 models remain available. The remainder do not have ETAs.

Meanwhile, both B&H Photo and Best Buy have knocked practically all of its 2015 MacBook Air inventory down to the lowest prices ever seen with models starting at just $749.00. B&H began the process late last week and Best Buy picked up the effort in earnest on Sunday, slashing prices across its 2015 MacBook inventory.

Information suggests that Apple is most likely to continue rolling out modest performance upgrades (or "speed bumps") to its existing 11- and 13-inch MacBook Air designs in the short term, before eventually fading the product line out in favor of sleeker, more cutting-edge MacBook models that will eventually come in display sizes greater than 12 inches.

In terms of where Apple may take the existing 12" MacBook, recent rumors have pegged a model with a slightly different hinge design for the back half of 2016, suggesting any earlier refresh would largely consists of performance and spec increases to the existing design. While garnering praise for a stunning, lightweight design, the existing 12" MacBooks have been a pin-cushion for critics of its wimpy 1.1GHz Core M microprocessor and sub-par 480p FaceTime camera.

While some -- or all -- of these refreshes could materialize quietly in the weeks ahead, Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference could serve as an alternative platform for the company to kick off its 2016 Mac product introductions. Apple has historically held that conference in early June but held off on formally announcing the conference dates until just a few weeks prior.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    I am looking forward to a refresh. The 12" Macbook is amazing. Can't wait to see what they do next.
  • Reply 2 of 25
    Waiting for updated MacBook Pro's like...
    paxmanfastasleeptechprod1gyentropys1983cornchip
  • Reply 3 of 25
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,616member
    I hope they do a 'proper' refresh of the entire laptop line, but anything will do. WWDC is always put forward as a potential release time but looking back it is unusual for hardware to be announced during WWDC. 2012 was perhaps the biggest exception, and some stuff was announced at the 2013 WWDC but for the most part it has been a software only event  
  • Reply 4 of 25
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,902member
    I hope that what this means is that the Mac Book is being significantly refactored by Apple to address its many shortcomings.  The Mac Boo is perhaps Apples biggest attempt at form over function in 5 or so years and really needs to die because of it.  If they take the time to address the concept in conjunction with normal user needs there might actually be a version two worth buying.   

    Frankly Apples screw up here is like Mac Book Air all over again.   Same mistakes, let's hope that they can address this quicker than they did with the Air.    One big problem though is that Intel has hit the wall and we aren't going to see the rapid process shrinks we use to see.   So it might take Mac Book much longer to become viable.   
    entropys
  • Reply 5 of 25
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,027member
    I am not sure why we have macbook. Why Apple didn't make it part of Air ? It seems like there should be high end powerful Macbook Pro and less powerful but thinne, lighter macbook or macbook air. And size from 11",12",13.3" and 15".
    entropys
  • Reply 6 of 25
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    Now that we've survived the Macbook's introductory gouge period, hopefully Apple can come down to reality. It reminds me so much of the MacBook Air launch in 2008.

    The MacBook is like a prototype of what's to come with that line. The pricing is also a joke.
    entropys1983xixo
  • Reply 7 of 25
    I think it's also telling that ATTO Technology have announced a thunderbolt 3 to 40Gbe adaptor last week; https://www.attotech.com/products/thunderbolt-desklink-devices/thunderlink/thunderbolt3-to-40gbe/TLNQ-3402-D00

    How many windows boxes are supporting thunderbolt 3?
  • Reply 8 of 25
    damonfdamonf Posts: 218member
    I don't see how hardware announcements / refreshes could be happening in Q3 (or even at WWDC in June) if these vendors are already stocking out here in mid-April.  To go 2+ months without Mac laptop inventory seems rather crazy when Mac hardware sales are doing better than PC sales.  Usually a vendor starts ordering smaller quantities to keep the shelves somewhat full, then when the new products are announced they put the old models on clearance.  No problem whatsoever with them doing it the reverse way, presuming that they are certain that new models are coming sooner (in the coming days or weeks) and not later (2+ months).  That's why I think these WWDC / 2H 2016 rumors are wrong, at least for the Air and MacBook.  Maybe only the Pros will come later.
    radarthekatReasonable907paxman
  • Reply 9 of 25
    I highly doubt these would be unavailable for purchase for two whole months. That leak of an "early-2016" MacBook was probably right and we'll hopefully see updates within the next few weeks.
    Reasonable9071983
  • Reply 10 of 25
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,616member
    wood1208 said:
    I am not sure why we have macbook. Why Apple didn't make it part of Air ? It seems like there should be high end powerful Macbook Pro and less powerful but thinne, lighter macbook or macbook air. And size from 11",12",13.3" and 15".
    The reason the MB exists is that it is beautiful an lithe aimed at students and travellers that don't need much in the way of processing power or peripherals. Just like the Air back when it was launched. My wish would be for the MB line to be expanded and improved and for the Air to die. But if, as Wizard69 suggests above, this cannot happen for technical reasons I hope they incrementally improve both models. One thing I have never understood is why Apple has always been so skimpy with storage. The mea gets very expensive when you max out on the storage.
  • Reply 11 of 25
    I highly doubt these would be unavailable for purchase for two whole months. That leak of an "early-2016" MacBook was probably right and we'll hopefully see updates within the next few weeks.
    I agree completely. There's very little chance of Apple leaving money on the table with stock-outs like this coming into the Mother's Day/Graduation shopping window. Besides the fact Apple rarely releases new laptop hardware during WWDC historically speaking, that is far too long of a period to leave the proverbial shelves empty. I'd be very surprised if Apple doesn't launch refreshes by next week, and about time too because I'm ready to update and the sooner I can put my old hardware on eBay, the better. 
  • Reply 12 of 25
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    wizard69 said:
    Frankly Apples screw up here is like Mac Book Air all over again.   

    I'm not sure I'd call it a screw up, but it certainly is MacBook Air all over again. A product that is unlike anything else on the market, that no one can really say is a success or failure out of the gate, that costs way more than any rational human being should spend for what it offers in specs.

    Apple, for all their maturity in the computer market, has no qualms about price gouging on a brand new product like this for its first year or so. They count on the newness factor, and the uniqueness factor, being what sells the product. No one in their right mind is buying a 12" laptop with a baby processor for $1300+. But plenty may buy a MacBook, because it is new and different.

    That wears off though, eventually they have to come back to reality, and make it into a compelling product line.
  • Reply 13 of 25
    toddzrxtoddzrx Posts: 199member
    paxman said:
    WWDC is always put forward as a potential release time but looking back it is unusual for hardware to be announced during WWDC. 2012 was perhaps the biggest exception, and some stuff was announced at the 2013 WWDC but for the most part it has been a software only event  
    Not sure which WWDC you're remembering or referring to, but every WWDC since 2003 has had hardware introductions (if you want to include 2005 where Jobs announced the transition from PowerPC to Intel, but that's a stretch).  The last two years were the exception.  I'm betting we see new MacBook Pros at this year's event.  Between the "Early 2016 MacBook" reference found in OS X server edition and now this report of MacBook stockouts at main retailers, we're locked in for a refreshed MacBook next week.
  • Reply 14 of 25
    kpomkpom Posts: 618member
    ny_wolfie said:
    I think it's also telling that ATTO Technology have announced a thunderbolt 3 to 40Gbe adaptor last week; https://www.attotech.com/products/thunderbolt-desklink-devices/thunderlink/thunderbolt3-to-40gbe/TLNQ-3402-D00

    How many windows boxes are supporting thunderbolt 3?

    More and more, mostly ultra-thin notebooks like the HP Spectre and Dell XPS 13.
  • Reply 16 of 25
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,616member
    toddzrx said:
    paxman said:
    WWDC is always put forward as a potential release time but looking back it is unusual for hardware to be announced during WWDC. 2012 was perhaps the biggest exception, and some stuff was announced at the 2013 WWDC but for the most part it has been a software only event  
    Not sure which WWDC you're remembering or referring to, but every WWDC since 2003 has had hardware introductions (if you want to include 2005 where Jobs announced the transition from PowerPC to Intel, but that's a stretch).  The last two years were the exception.  I'm betting we see new MacBook Pros at this year's event.  Between the "Early 2016 MacBook" reference found in OS X server edition and now this report of MacBook stockouts at main retailers, we're locked in for a refreshed MacBook next week.
    They have revealed a lot of hardware but not every year. The link above goes through year by year. They certainly might reveal HW this time but I have a feeling the software part of WWDC is now so significant there isn't space for HW. But like you, I am only guessing.

    2005 - nothing
    2006 - Mac pro & Time Machine
    2007 - Nothing
    2008 - iPhone 3G
    2009 - 13in MacBook Pro, 15in and 17in MacBook Pros refreshed.  iPhone 3GS announced
    2010 - iPhone 4 announced
    2011 - Nothing
    2012 - mba & mbp, mbpr
    2013 -  new Mac Pro, mba
    2014 - Nothing
    2015 - Nothing
  • Reply 17 of 25
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,897member
    paxman said:
    wood1208 said:
    I am not sure why we have macbook. Why Apple didn't make it part of Air ? It seems like there should be high end powerful Macbook Pro and less powerful but thinne, lighter macbook or macbook air. And size from 11",12",13.3" and 15".
    The reason the MB exists is that it is beautiful an lithe aimed at students and travellers that don't need much in the way of processing power or peripherals. Just like the Air back when it was launched. My wish would be for the MB line to be expanded and improved and for the Air to die. But if, as Wizard69 suggests above, this cannot happen for technical reasons I hope they incrementally improve both models. One thing I have never understood is why Apple has always been so skimpy with storage. The mea gets very expensive when you max out on the storage.
    It can't be for students because students can't afford it. It is priced for the CEO poseur market.

    It's the cube and original MBA sales disasters all wrapped up together. With a more acute problem as the competition has very similar product at a sellable price. I suspect best buy is discontinuing it because they got sick of it cluttering up their shelves.
    edited April 2016
  • Reply 18 of 25
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,453member
    wizard69 said:
    I hope that what this means is that the Mac Book is being significantly refactored by Apple to address its many shortcomings.  The Mac Boo is perhaps Apples biggest attempt at form over function in 5 or so years and really needs to die because of it.  If they take the time to address the concept in conjunction with normal user needs there might actually be a version two worth buying.   

    Frankly Apples screw up here is like Mac Book Air all over again.   Same mistakes, let's hope that they can address this quicker than they did with the Air.    One big problem though is that Intel has hit the wall and we aren't going to see the rapid process shrinks we use to see.   So it might take Mac Book much longer to become viable.   
    It won't be. At most this is going to be a quiet speed bump that is cosmetically similar to the original, without so much as a mention to the media.

    The real upgrade comes after September of this year, assuming the next iPhone removes the 3.5mm headphone jack. Then we'll get a mid-cycle product refresh like the iPad 4 which replaced the 30-pin dock connector with a Lightning port. Only this time, the rMB will have the 3.5mm jack replaced by the Lightning 2 port.

    The big change won't come until at least next Spring, if not later.
  • Reply 19 of 25
    Apple needs to upgrade the MacBook and Air with processors that can perform reasonably well, or the machines should die. I cannot use my iPad Pro as an external monitor to the MacBook with the anemic integrated Intel graphics. Any of the machines with discrete GPUs perform well. The discrete GPUs don't get nearly as hot either when used this way. 

    Since Intel is failing, I really don't expect to see any compelling upgrades. The iPad Pro line stands a better chance of compelling upgrades than the MacBook line. 
  • Reply 20 of 25
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 1,919member
    mac_128 said:
    wizard69 said:
    I hope that what this means is that the Mac Book is being significantly refactored by Apple to address its many shortcomings.  The Mac Boo is perhaps Apples biggest attempt at form over function in 5 or so years and really needs to die because of it.  If they take the time to address the concept in conjunction with normal user needs there might actually be a version two worth buying.   

    Frankly Apples screw up here is like Mac Book Air all over again.   Same mistakes, let's hope that they can address this quicker than they did with the Air.    One big problem though is that Intel has hit the wall and we aren't going to see the rapid process shrinks we use to see.   So it might take Mac Book much longer to become viable.   
    It won't be. At most this is going to be a quiet speed bump that is cosmetically similar to the original, without so much as a mention to the media.

    The real upgrade comes after September of this year, assuming the next iPhone removes the 3.5mm headphone jack. Then we'll get a mid-cycle product refresh like the iPad 4 which replaced the 30-pin dock connector with a Lightning port. Only this time, the rMB will have the 3.5mm jack replaced by the Lightning 2 port.

    The big change won't come until at least next Spring, if not later.
    What is the point in replacing the 3.5 mm jack? They keep it on the new iPad Pro and the SE, they may keep in on the Macbook as well.
    edited April 2016
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