New MacBook Pro: Did Intel Chips Delay the Launch?
By Jim Lundy
One of the things I hear about from people all over Silicon Valley is, “I’m ready for a new MacBook.”
Apple users are very sophisticated and at the recent Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), many expected Apple to unveil its refreshed MacBook Pro line. That didn’t happen. However, it does look like there are new MacBook Pros coming this fall. We suspect part of the delay has to do with the availability of new Intel chipsets.
New MacBook Pros
Until now, the only MacBook that was launched this year is the 2016 MacBook, which we think represents the design platform for the new MacBook Pros. The last time the MacBook Pros were updated was in the middle of 2015. However, that one unit alone helped boost sales of MacBooks by 30% in the first half.
The new MacBook Pros coming this fall, as soon as September, will be similar to the current 2016 MacBook. They will be much thinner and have new features including:
- OLED Touch Panel
- Touch ID Support
- Thunderbolt 3
- New Intel ChipSets
Mac business users are savvy and many of the users we talked to are waiting for the new units. The question is, why has it taken so long for this refresh to happen? Apple plays a role, but so do suppliers.
The Role of Intel
For background, Intel has two new chipsets it has been working on. Skylake is well-known and Kaby Lake is also looming on the horizon.
It looks like Kaby Lake is delayed (for Macs) until next year. Both have suffered delays in getting them to production-level shipments and this has impacted Apple, and it is also rumored to be impacting the Surface Pro 5.
The Issue for Apple: Product Pipeline
The issue for Apple is that it makes money off of its hardware and it has a tremendous retail operation that depends on hot new products to keep people coming into the stores. While there is a new MacBook that was announced earlier this year, most of the business users depend on the MacBook Pro and MacBook Pro Retina.
Apple grew tremendously in the last eight years due to the iPhone. The iPhone uses ARM chipset designs. One could argue that if Apple had depended on Intel processors, that half of the iPhones would have never shipped because the processors would not have been available.
Some will say that Apple also contributes to delays in its products, but our take is that Apple is focused on balancing quality with innovation. Despite all of this, with the success of the current new model of the MacBook, we expect a huge surge in sales for the MacBook Pros coming as soon as September.