Apple’s MacBook Pro Shock Decision

Updated November 14 below. This article was originally published on November 12th.

Apple’s decision to delay the launch of 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro “professional” laptops into 2023 has left those looking to upgrade in a bind: wait for the M2 Pro and M2 Ultra MacBooks, or take what’s on offer Now .

Update: Monday, November 14: Apple moving its next Mac event to 2023 has another impact on the release schedule. As Dan Moren observesthe Mac Pro won’t be released before the end of the year:

“But as 2022 winds down, there are still a few Intel laggards in the pack. The Mac mini has transitioned to the M1, yes, but a higher-end Intel model still remains for sale. More significantly, the company’s most powerful machine, the Mac Pro, is nowhere to be seen yet, aside from a vague hint during the Mac Studio announcement in the spring of this year.”

With the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, mac Mini, and iMac making the leap — and the launch of the Mac Studio — the Mac Pro is conspicuously absent from that package. There was no M1 variant to join the first wave of the Apple Silicon revolution. We are now in the second generation of the hardware. While consumers have the MacBook Air and the inexplicable 13-inch MacBook Pro, professionals are waiting for the expected powerful upgrade to the MacBook Pro and the potential of the Mac Pro.

Apple rarely offers guidance on when new products will appear. Those waiting for the ultimate Mac still cling to the 2022 deadline. Perhaps there will be a press release in the coming weeks and a handful of machines for sale through the Apple Store to a select few…but the deadline is fast approaching and the Mac Pro looks set for 2023.

Apple’s smooth presentation and reliable confidence in product launch timings hold true for the iPhone, but for the Mac platform, it remains a hit-and-miss affair with Apple refusing to offer a stable schedule for people to plan. Is there a better way?

One thing the delay has a positive impact on is the MacBook Air. Curiously launched at the pro-focused Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in early 2020, it stands out as the current “best” MacBook laptop you can buy; that will likely make it a best seller all holiday season.

And yes, Apple has an M2-equipped MacBook Pro, but upon closer inspection, it’s little more than a MacBook Air with a cooling fan. It offers a little more performance, but for the vast majority of users, the MacBook Air M2 will have more than enough capacity. Probably the MacBook Air M1 still delivers here as well. Apple certainly thinks so, keeping the latter for sale at the entry-level price of $999.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro is for those who want the illusion of a pro. Those who want the most power available on tap for comprehensive development and multimedia creation will look to the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops. While still using M1 technology, the M1 Pro and M1 Ultra chipsets outperform the vanilla M2 currently found in consumer machines.

Professionals and businesses looking for their next-gen upgrade will have to wait until next year before they can move forward. Now they are trapped in a dilemma of “buy now but buy the previous generation” or “just settle for what you have now and wait for the next generation”. Neither of these is an attractive answer.

One of the advantages of the iPhone production cycle is its predictability. Every year comes the second week of September and with it comes a new iPhone. Consumers take it as read and can plan accordingly.

The move from Intel to its own silicon gives Apple more control over the design and manufacturing schedule of the entire Mac platform. It should be able to offer the Mac user base a regular and reliable schedule of updates…and it should be able to able to communicate this too.

The iPhone launch schedule is boring by design, and it works. The Mac platform needs to inherit this attitude as quickly as possible so that consumers, professionals and corporate customers aren’t caught off guard by Apple’s plans. If 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops need to be refreshed every two years, this should be known, communicated clearly, and be part of a predictable pattern put in place by Tim Cook and his team.

But that would require an even more shocking decision from Apple. A decision to tell people about their future product plans.

Now read the latest headlines on Mac, iPhone and iPad in the Forbes Weekly Apple Loop News Roundup…

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