Home Latest News Apple's Difficult Decision Over New MacBook Pro – Forbes

Apple's Difficult Decision Over New MacBook Pro – Forbes


Apple’s move to its own silicon has given it more control over the Mac platform. With the launch of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro, Apple’s laptop range has taken a second step in the ARM-powered world. How long until the regularity present in the iPhone ecosystem makes it to the Mac? How long will there be between releases. And when will Apple’s love of a rhythmic upgrade cycle establish itself?
An Apple MacBook Air laptop computer, taken on November 25, 2020. (Photo by Phil Barker/Future … [+] Publishing via Getty Images)
Let’s jump over to the smartphone world for a moment.
All established smartphone brands run to a regular timetable; it makes managing levels of the completed handsets, right down to the individual components, manageable and predictable. Every company relies on third-party suppliers, so being able to manage this supply chain is one of the keys to success.
It also offers confidence to the public. Samsung’s Q1 launch of the Galaxy S flagships is widely regarded as “the week before February’s Mobile World Congress”. In previous years the Galaxy Note series was the week before September’s IFA Berlin trade show; but that date kept slipping earlier and earlier to the point where the mid-year launch is now a late July event for the Z series now the Note series is no more.
Apple’s iPhone launches are even more predictable, with the second Tuesday in September (coronavirus pandemics notwithstanding) the date for the new iPhone models to appear. Apple’s path to this schedule is smoother than the Android competition for many reasons, but one of them is the system on chip, because the Axxx system on chip series is under Apple’s control, and can be tailored to the iPhone rollout. Android manufactures rely on the likes of Qualcomm, Mediatek, and Samsung… although Samsung’s reliance on Qualcomm’s SnapDragon series means even the South Korean company is not in total control).
Now, back to the Mac.
Photo by: STRF/STAR MAX/IPx 2021 10/21/21 Atmosphere at the Apple store in Grand Central Station in … [+] Manhattan.
A look over the release dates of Apple’s Intel-powered Mac family shows a schedule that, while attempting to conform to something predictable, was battered this way and that way by Intel’s own road-map. If the Intel Core processors needed a bit longer to be ready, Intel waited. And if Intel waited, the industry waited.
The move to ARM-based Apple Silicon in the Mac offers a number of advantages to the end user, not least the improved performance and battery life, It also brings the desk-bound computers into line with the iPhone and the iPad in terms of Apple’s ability to schedule Mac launches. The roadmap of Apple Silicon belongs, naturally, to Apple. That’s why Tim Cook was able to say with utter confidence that the entire range would complete the move to ARM by the end of 2023.
The question now is what rhythm Apple will settle on for the Mac family? The obvious answer is to move to a yearly update. That doesn’t look to be the case with the passing of the one year anniversary of the M1 powered MacBook Air, the inexplicable entry-level MacBook Pro, and the mac Mini, not seeing an update..
Apple does need to take into account the perception of the platform. There’s an argument – backed up by the ’S’ iPhone strategy – of moving to ta two year cycle, albeit with a ‘point release’ that bumps the specs in the intervening year, to offer a mix of stability and a longer lead time to allow for visible steps in performance.This is still a yearly cycle though. Smartphones are seen as devices the can and should be upgraded every year, (something that the Apple Upgrade Program encourages). Laptops and desktop computers on a yearly update cycle? Perhaps less so. 
A new report from Commercial Times in Taiwan suggests Apple has decided on a happy medium to this, and is looking at an eighteen month cycle to update the Apple Silicon According to this, the M2 chipset will show up in late 2022, with the M2 Pro and M2 Max (under the M2X branding) in early 2023.
That would offer an eighteen-month cycle on the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops, but crucially a twenty-four month cycle on the MacBook Air. Given the evidence out there, I think the call between eighteen months or two years for the update cycle is still not conclusive – and that’s before you consider the impact of both the coronavirus pandemic and the silicon ship shortage.
Those looking at the high-end MacBook Pros launched earlier this quarter can purchase with some confidence that the specs are not going to be usurped during 2022. Those looking at the MacBook Air are going to take a little bit of a gamble on the potential of a March update; but with the MacBook oAir’s perfroamce already batting much higher than the similarly priced Intel laptops, even the older Air is going to be enough to keep you ahead of the performance gain, no matter when Tim Cook decides on the beat.
Now read the latest iPhone, iPad, and Mac headlines in Forbes’ regular Apple Loop column…


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An Open Source activist, who pursues his passion for tech blogging. In early years of his life, he worked as market analyst for a number of companies. Martin has been writing reviews and articles for a local magazine for last five years.