It’s no secret that Apple’s MacBook Pro (and MacBook Air, and Mac Pro, and iMac) line of products is in dire need of an upgrade.
And after it became apparent there would not be a MacBook Pro update at Apple’s September event this year, rumors started pointing to October. We’re deep into that month now, and a new rumor by Japanese site Macotakara (spotted by MacRumors) has just reiterated the October launch date.
But is there enough time left in October for that? Why hasn’t Apple started sent invitations yet? Are we going to have to live yet another month or even longer without a new MacBook Pro? Let’s do a quick overview of Apple’s past events and see what’s the most likely scenario for a new MacBook Pro unveiling.
First, let’s look at why is everyone so anxious to see new laptops from Apple.
Why is this event so important?
Apple refreshed the 13-inch MacBook Pro in February 2015, but the changes were mostly cosmetic. The Pros also got a refresh in Oct. 2013, though many will argue that the last big update was one year earlier, when the Retina MacBook Pro was launched. Yes, the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro laptops are still beautifully designed but they haven’t seen any major innovation in four years, which is forever in this industry.
The MacBook Air either needs to step down — it’s been largely replaced by the new MacBook — or get an upgrade as well. A Retina screen would be nice, for instance. The iMac is getting dated, too, and don’t get me started on the Mac Pro, a professional-grade workhorse that hasn’t been updated since Oct. 2013.
Add to that the rumors that the new MacBook Pro will have an OLED touch bar instead of a strip of function buttons on top of its keyboard — which would make this upgrade both pretty amazing and arguably Apple’s biggest laptop innovation since the Air launch in 2008 — and it’s easy to see why this event is highly anticipated.
The latest rumor from Macotakara, which cites sources from Apple’s supply chain in China, claims Apple will launch new, thinner MacBook Pros, both in 13- and 15-inch sizes. These machines will come with USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3 ports instead of regular USB ports. There will also be a new 13-inch MacBook Air, but there won’t be any upgrades to the smaller, 11-inch Air.
Is there enough time?
However, nearly two thirds of October are behind us, and Apple still hasn’t sent invites for the event. So can these new rumors about an October MacBook Pro launch be true, or is it already too late?
Let’s look at a short history of Apple events and the corresponding invites.
For its Sept. 7 iPhone 7 event, Apple had sent out invites ten days earlier, on August 29.
For its March 21 event this year, where the iPhone SE was launched, Apple had sent out invites 11 days earlier, on March 10.
And in 2014, the September event was announced 13 days earlier.
Today is Oct. 18, and, looking at the above timelines, you might think an October event is still possible, but unlikely. However…
October is different
There’s a good reason rumors point to an October event. That’s because all Apple events (sans the WWDC conference, which is typically held in June, and usually doesn’t have any hardware announcements) since 2012 have happened in either October, September or March.
So let’s look at just Apple’s October events. Interestingly, the time from invite to the actual event is a bit shorter for those — it’s always either seven or eight days. That would mean there’s still plenty of time in October for an event.
There’s a good reason rumors point to an October event.
(Of course, there’s no rule saying Apple has to leave a certain amount of time between an event invite and an event. I’m taking a guess, but there’s a lot of data that backs it up.)
The verdict is this: While there’s still plenty of time for an October event, those invites need to start coming very soon — probably this week. Given Apple’s consistent history of launching laptop and desktop computers in October, we’d still bet that the launch will happen this month. But the new, touch bar-equipped MacBook Pro devices — if real — are quite a radical departure from the current design, and putting all the pieces together might require some extra time. We wouldn’t be too surprised if the launch were moved to early November this year.
Apple doesn’t like Fridays
Since there’s not that much of October left, we can also speculate about the possible date for the event. Again, looking at the dates listed above, it’s not hard to find a pattern. Apple never has its events on weekends (with a single exception: the Final Cut Studio 2 unveiling in 2007) or a Friday. Most often it’s a Tuesday or a Wednesday, but there have been a few events on Thursdays and Mondays as well.
If we posit that it takes at least seven days from an invite to the event, this leaves us with four dates — Oct. 25, 26, 27, and Oct. 31. We’ve heard rumors that the event will be held on Oct. 27, a Thursday, which at this point seems entirely possible.
What about a quiet launch?
Of course, there are other options. One is that Apple doesn’t do anything with the MacBooks this year. While this would likely instill rage from Apple fans and media alike, who have been clamoring for an upgrade literally for years now, if Apple isn’t ready then it’s not going to happen no matter what anyone says or wants.
There’s also the possibility of a quiet upgrade — Apple could simply start selling upgraded versions of its hardware, without an event. That would likely mean the MacBook Pros with the touch bar have been pushed for a later date — it’s hard to imagine Apple launching such a big hardware update without an event. Another (small) possibility is that the touch bar MacBook Pro has never been real, or has been scrapped for this or that reason.
Given all the rumors and Apple’s history of October hardware launches, we’d still say that an October MacBook Pro launch is the most likely option, and we expect to see those invites rolling out any day now. It needs to happen soon, though — time is running out.