Plans are almost set as Apple schedule to release an update to its line of laptop products at an annual conference for app developers in early June, observers believe this will mark a move that could help offset new competition from Microsoft Corp as well bring back hopes as iPad sales continue to decline.
Apple is in final stages with three new laptops, according to sources familiar with the matter. The MacBook Pro will now get a faster Kaby Lake processor from Intel Corp, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss internal planning. Reports also suggest that Apple is also working on a new version of the 12-inch MacBook with a faster Intel chip. The company has also considered updating the aging 13-inch MacBook Air with a new processor as sales of the laptop, Apple’s cheapest, remain surprisingly strong, one of the sources noted, though Apple and Intel declined to comment.
The Mac lineup generates good money as it stands at 11 percent of the Cupertino, California-based company’s $216 billion in annual sales, with the iPhone accounting for almost two-thirds of the total which is the largest. But Macs are key to retaining the business of loyalists and the creative industries, Apple is known for, with the resurgence at the turn of the millennium under Steve Jobs.
The MacBook refresh upgrade would also come at an important time for the iPhone-maker. Earlier This month, Microsoft Corp released the Surface Laptop, which boots up in seconds, has a touch screen and runs on a more stable version of Windows. Microsoft’s first real laptop is widely considered a viable rival to the MacBook Air. By refreshing its line of computers, Apple could change the direction of competition with the rise of Mac’s recent momentum. In the second quarter, the company sold 4.2 million desktops and laptops and generated 14 percent more revenue on Macs than in the quarter a year earlier.
The updated MacBook Pro when released would still look similar as the latest model and mostly differ in internal architecture, which would be the game changer. While unclear if it’s ready for this generation, Apple has been working on a new in-house chip for a future MacBook Pro model that manages the computer’s low-power mode, Bloomberg News has reported.
The planned upgrades wouldn’t mark a major step forward for Apple’s notebook lineup, but they will demonstrate the company’s dedication to a product that has been criticized by the Mac faithful over the past few years. It has been almost seven years since Apple last redesigned the MacBook Air. The most recent MacBook Pro, released more than 500 days after its predecessor, added a Touch Bar keyboard strip for quick access to app functions, a larger trackpad and a fingerprint log-in sensor.
The last time we saw Apple update it’s 12-inch MacBook was back in the spring of 2016 with a rose gold color option, while the MacBook Air has not received a speed boost since 2015. The stall in Mac updates has not been limited to laptops. Apple’s desktops have lagged too, and earlier this year, Apple pledged to release major upgrades to the Mac Pro and iMac with better specifications for expert users in the future.