MacBook & MacBook Pro updates soon - release dates analyzed

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Oct
30

By: switchtoamac at: 11:04 AM on October 30, 2007 | Comments (7)

Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro portables are fast approaching their historical "days between revisions" averages.  We are also approaching the 2007 holiday season so rest assured that Apple will release new models very soon.  Many buyers have held out from purchasing a new MacBook or MacBook Pro for two key reasons.  The first was to wait for for Mac OS X Leopard to be released; the second for systems with Leopard pre-installed.  We expect new MacBooks to be released on November 6, 2007 followed by new MacBook Pros on November 13, 2007.  We provide our analysis below.

MacBook
Since its initial release on May 16, 2006 the Macbook has been updated twice with an average of 182 days between revisions.  Apple last updated the MacBook on May 15, 2007 and the models are classified by Apple as "13-inch Mid 2007".

If Apple were to release new MacBooks on Tuesday November 6, the days between revisions would be 175 days or 7 days below their historical days between revisions average of 182 days.  See table below:


Note that by simply relying on the historical average it would imply that the MacBook should see a revision within the next two weeks.   When taken in conjunction with the MacBook Pro analysis below, it more likely that Apple will release new MacBooks within the next week.

Apple's new Leopard operating system has revealed drivers for the Intel GMA X3100 integrated graphics chip, a successor to the Intel GMA 950 which is used in current MacBooks. This finding would imply that the next MacBook revision may be upgraded to the Santa Rosa chipset and that a MacBook revision is imminent.


MacBook Pro
Since its initial release on January 10, 2006, the MacBook Pro has been updated three times with an average time frame of 170 days between revisions.  Apple last updated the MacBook on June 5, 2007 and the models are classified by Apple as "Mid 2007, 2.4/2.2GHz".

If Apple were to release new MacBook Pros on November 13, the days between revisions would be 161 days, or 9 days below their historical average.  If however Apple were to release them a week later, the days between revisions would be 168 days or 2 days below the average.  In our view, it would be in Apple's best interest from a supply chain and strategic perspective to have revised MacBook Pro models in stores before the Thanksgiving weekend.  Therefore, a November 13 release seems like a better bet.  A November 19 release would be cutting it close in terms of getting new systems on store shelves and out to authorized resellers.  See table below:


Simply relying on the historical average would imply that the MacBook Pro should see a revision within the next couple of weeks or so.

Expectations
We bring up our view once again that we expect Apple to release new MacBooks prior to new MacBook Pros.  Keep in mind that earlier this year Apple updated the MacBooks three weeks prior to the MacBook Pros so it's a safe bet to assume that MacBooks will be revised first.  Furthermore, looking at November 2006 revision release dates for both portable lines increases the liklihood that revisions are just around the corner.

Apple will have a completely revamped portable line of Macs ready for purchase before the start of the 2007 holiday shopping season.  Get ready!

A note about MacBook Pro updates
When Apple updated the MacBook line on November 1, 2007, they also provided the option to upgrade the MacBook Pro to a 2.6GHz processor.  Apple now classifies MacBook Pro models shipping after November 1 as Late 2007 models.  As a result, we no longer expect any further updates to the MacBook Pro line for the remainder of 2007.  Apple will release the next revision to the MacBook Pro line sometime in the first half of 2008.

7 Reader Comments

What will the specs be, if you should guess?

HDMI Connector and BluRay option perhaps?

There are also some new processors built on a small wafer to consider.

Perhaps also an LED 17"?

Instead of considering the average, why don't you consider the fact that the time between each release is increasing? Couldn't that show that updates may be 2-3 months away yet? That's in the MacWorld Expo timeframe. Don't big new MacBook Pro updates happen at MacWorld, anyway? Introduction of the Ti Book, the 12"/ 17" PowerBook, the MBP -- that's four of the last seven years, I think.

When are you going to do an analysis of Mac Pro updates. By my calculation, there hasn't been a major Mac Pro revision in around 440 days...?

What about flash memory hard drives? Now that would be cool in a Macbook!!

So your predictions came true, although earlier than you thought. Good analysis and nice work.

JDH,

The Mac Pro analysis will be posted on Friday November 2, 2007. Thanks for the inquiry.

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