New MacBook Pro Details Will Disappoint Everyone – Forbes
Apple is not going to hold up a sign that says ‘there will be new MacBook models announced at WWDC’ but the news that the shipping times have dropped from the average 3-5 business days to ‘6th June’ – the day after WWDC starts – is a clear signal to seasoned Cupertino spotters that the old machines are going to be replaced.
In which case the faithful should be prepared for disappointment.
It has been a long time since Tim Cook’s Apple has been able to keep a product refresh ‘secret’ and I doubt that a tweak to the MacBook family is going to be the moment that pattern is disrupted. The key change in the new machines will be the move to the seventh generation of Intel chips – the Kaby Lake set – alongside a slight bump in other specifications such as memory speed, SSD storage performance, and integrated graphics cards. If you want to make an outside be the top-line MacBook Pro may gain an option of 32GB RAM – although the technical reasons that Apple gave for limiting the late 2016 MacBook Pro machines to 16GB of RAM still stand.
Why disappointment? In part because these are not stunning updates, but also because of the short time since the last MacBook update.
Apple’s decision to update the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and MacBook in late 2016 followed a period of eighteen months with no updates to the MacBook Pro. The new machines have seen a year-on-year rise in sales as the logjam of ‘waiting for something new’ was cleared as consumers bought the latest machine from Apple. These new specifications arriving after a few months devalues their investment in a far shorter time than many would have expected.
While the use of Kaby Lake is no doubt going to offered up as ‘the best MacBook ever’ the chipset has been available in Windows 10 machines – both ultraportables and more powerful ‘pro’ like laptops – since the start of 2017. Apple’s decision to have one last product launch wit the sixth generation chipset last October means it is late to the Kaby Lake party. For all the slides, graphs and noiseless thunder, the WWDC update is simply offering parity with the Microsoft-powered competition.
After the new hardware is launched at WWDC, the MacBook family will be back in step with the annual cycle of computer hardware. In the long-term this could prove beneficial to Apple, especially if it is looking to change the consumer mindset. The perception of a MacBook as something that is regularly upgraded to a new model by the consumer (rather than a multi-year investment) would be of great benefit to Apple.
The trick will be bringing the faithful into that program without making consumers feel like they are little more than a cash cow to be milked whenever a new model appears. That’s the risk of disappointment that Apple is taking at WWDC.
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