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Thoughts about WWDC and Snow Leopard - an argument for a late summer or early fall 2009 Mac refresh
With WWDC kicking off on Monday June 8, I wanted to post my expectation that Apple will release Mac updates in either September or October. In the May 13, 2009 WWDC Press Release Apple stated it would be issuing a Mac OS X Snow Leopard 'final Developer Preview'. Prior to this press release, I expressed my expectations of what Apple would likely do with respect to Snow Leopard at WWDC in a May 5, 2009 reply at the MacRumors Forums eight days prior to the Apple Press Release. Here's what I stated:
"I don't think Apple will announce the immediate availability of Snow Leopard at WWDC. My expectation is that Apple will demo an almost complete version of Snow Leopard with Apple announcing that Snow Leopard will be released later in the year."My expectation was on the mark and my reasoning was provided in the forum post. I'll publish what I stated to reiterate the logic behind my expectations regarding the official Snow Leopard release and next round of Mac refreshes.
"Apple will probably want to release Snow Leopard after the annual Back To School Promotion as a means to ensure a steady stream of Mac sales in the summer. It would then be logical to follow the promotion with the Snow Leopard release. It all ties back to Apple's fiscal quarters. Apple won't want to have a blow out summer with the school promotion, a Snow Leopard release, and an iPhone refresh. They will want to spread some of this out.
Apple's Fiscal Quarters are as follows:
Q1 - October, November, December
Q2 - January, February, March
Q3 - April, May, June
Q4 - July, August, September
The Back to School promotion usually runs from mid June to mid September (give or take a few days). Thus, it makes sense for Apple to release Snow Leopard in conjunction with a series of Mac refreshes AFTER the conclusion of the school promotion and after the hype of the iPhone refresh release. It would be a great tactic to spur sales just in time for the start of the holiday shopping season!
Let's not forget what happened last year when Apple took on a bit too much when it rolled out the .Mac to MobileMe transition while subsequently releasing the iPhone 3G. Apple won't repeat the same mistake of taking on too many things at one time from a product refresh perspective.
Let's not forget about the Windows 7's release either which is also speculated to be rolled out later this year (it's already in RC stage). Apple and Microsoft will want to ensure the other doesn't get an extended period of coverage, thus I would expect that both OS's will be released within a few weeks of each other."
So what's happened since that forum reply?
- May 13 - Apple announces that it will release a Snow Leopard final Developer Preview at WWDC
- June 2 - Microsoft announces that it will be releasing Windows 7, the successor to Windows Vista on October 22
Does this mean Apple WILL NOT announce Mac updates or a new Mac at WWDC?
No, but it's highly unlikely that we'll see Mac updates announced anytime prior to the fall. Why update the Macs and/or release a new model that comes pre-installed with Mac OS X Leopard when Snow Leopard is just around the corner? Besides, it doesn't quite align with the Mac refresh cycle. Over the past few years, Apple has released Mac updates in the September to November time frame with the only exception being the iMac refresh in August 2007.
- October 14 - Apple refreshed the iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air models
- August 7 - iMac refresh announced (first release of the aluminum iMac)
- November 1 - Apple refreshed the MacBook line and offered a processor upgrade on the MacBook Pro
- September 6 - Mac mini and iMac refresh
- October 24 - MacBook Pro refresh
- November 8 - MacBook refresh
September or October 2009 Mac refresh
There's one other Apple product line to consider, the iPod. It's become customary over the past three years to expect a September iPod revamp. Since 2006 Apple has refreshed the iPod in the first half of September:
- 2008 - September 9
- 2007 - September 5
- 2006 - September 12