Is It Time To See The Updated MacBook Lineup?

Posted by Kirhat | Monday, October 10, 2016 | | 0 comments »

Intel Skylake
Rumors and leaks have swirled for months already, and with the MacBook lineup lagging further and further behind the competition, it seems like Apple should be rolling out updates any day now, right?

Well it looks like everyone might be getting an update sooner rather than later, according to some evidence uncovered by 9to5Mac. The chief indicator of an upcoming announcement comes to us from a quarterly earnings call, which Apple has conspicuously rescheduled to 25 October, due to a "scheduling conflict" on 27 October.

That could mean anything, really. The last time an Apple earnings call was rescheduled, it was due to the funeral for long-time board member Bill Campbell. But, as 9to5Mac speculates, this could be a strategic move in anticipation of less-than-stellar iPhone sales numbers. The iPhone 7 has exceeded sales expectations, but Apple is expected to reveal a year-over-year decline in overall iPhone sales – which is not going to be good news for investors.

So, what might be revealed at this theoretical Apple event on or around 27 October? Probably at first the usual improvements – updated internals, that kind of thing. But it might also be a venue for a couple surprises.

One way or another, the next MacBook lineup is going to take a trip up to Intel's lake house. They'’ll be sporting either the 6th-generation 'Skylake' processors, or the latest 7th-generation 'Kaby Lake' CPUs. That's very good news.

It wouldn't be as much of an issue if the current chips in the MacBooks weren't so old. Either one would make for a massive improvement in performance and energy efficiency over the aging chips currently in use, but Apple hasn't made any moves in one direction or another. Sure, they’ll be using some variety of 6th or 7th-gen chip, but they've been tight-lipped about which one.

In addition to the other rumors that have been hearing about the upcoming Apple event, there’s one in particular that sounds a bit outlandish but could very well be true. Instead of updating the MacBook Air, Apple could do away with it entirely.

Tim Cook might get on stage on 27 October and give the poor old MacBook Air the Old Yeller treatment. Figuratively, anyway. He probably won't shoot it in the face.

The MacBook Air has been overshadowed by the MacBook, which received a radical redesign last year, taking the MacBook Air's crown as thinnest MacBook. If Apple is looking to simplify matters, obliterating the Air lineup could be a step in the right direction, particularly as MacBooks continue to shed the pounds.

If Apple does drop the Air, it will mean a sub-US$ 1000 sized gap in their lineup, which they could conceivably fill by lowering the price on their lowest-end MacBook, which currently retails for an inflated US$ 1,300. At US$ 900 or US$ 1,000, it’d definitely be a more appealing choice.

The MacBook Pro is in for a major upgrade, not only on the inside, but on the outside. According to patent filings, leaked photos, and even support in the latest update for MacOS Sierra, the next MacBook Pro will likely feature an OLED touch pad where the function keys used to be.

As imagined in several unofficial renders, it looks pretty cool. It's the kind of feature that could help differentiate Apple’s flagship laptops in an increasingly crowded marketplace. How it'll work exactly, again, remains to be seen. Much of the speculation in that regard is unsubstantiated, but out of all the rumors thus far, this is the one with the most reliable, rock-solid evidence.

This OLED-touch-panel also all but confirms that it will be rolled out alongside new MacBooks this month, in a roundabout sort of way.


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