More clues point to MacBook refresh at WWDC
WWDC is a time for surprises and the usual refreshes.
The annual conference is generally for software developers and the latest improvements to iOS and OSX, but Apple also has a history of launching hardware updates just to make things more exciting. As for what's in store for this year, everything from leaked SKUs and Intel's forthcoming Haswell announcement could point to yet another MacBook refresh from Cupertino.
9to5Mac reported on Monday that either the MacBook Air or the MacBook Pro with Retina display, or even both notebooks, will likely get a refresh at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference next week. The report specifically said global inventory levels had experienced constraints on both notebooks, and 9to5Mac offered leaked SKU codes as proof that updated models were coming. The usually spot-on news site also leaked a Mac spec sheet ahead of WWDC last year.
WWDC begins 10 June, when Apple will purportedly unveil a newly designed iOS and developments in OS X. Many do not expect big hardware announcements from the company, but updates to its current product lines are likely.
Apple launched Retina MacBook Pro at WWDC 2012
Apple unveiled a refreshed MacBook Pro, complete with Retina display, at WWDC 2012. The notebook chiefly offered a 2,880-by-1,800-pixel resolution, pixel density of 220ppi, 75 per cent reduction in glare, and a 25 per cent thinner frame than previous models. It also packed a bunch of improvements under the bonnet.
Analysing Apple's hardware patterns alone, such as the updated MacBook Pro in 2012, it is very likely that the company has planned another MacBook Pro refresh for WWDC 2013.
Intel to announce Haswell
Intel is set announce more details for its new processors, called Haswell, that promise to enhance performance and improve battery life. Haswell is the successor to Intel's Ivy Bridge architecture currently found in MacBooks. Intel tends to update its product line-up every two years; so many expect Haswell to be a major boost since Ivy Bridge was a minor improvement over Sandy Bridge.
Given that Haswell's official launch is tomorrow, many reports - including a report by noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities - indicate Apple will refresh its MacBook line at WWDC with Intel's fourth-generation Core processors.
MacBook Air in short supply
It was widely reported in May that stocks of Apple's 13-inch MacBook Air had begun to dwindle at major authorised resellers. The MacBook Air with a 1.8-gigahertz processor and 256-gigabyte solid-state drive was reportedly out of stock at many retailers like Amazon and and MacMall.
Constrained inventory of existing MacBook Airs, as well as 9to5Mac's more recent report about both the Air and MacBook Pro suffering shortages, adds weight to an impending MacBook line refresh from Apple.
If we all wish hard enough it might come true
Much of the speculation surrounding Apple's WWDC plans is just guesswork at this point. However, the company's patterns at previous conferences - combined with announcements from Haswell, supply shortages, and leaked SKUs - could very well suggest an upcoming hardware refresh. On the other hand, maybe it all just adds up to wishful thinking. We'll just have to wait and see.