This past Monday, Phil Schiller launched the updated MacBook Air during Apple's World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote, but the update fell on deaf ears, as the MacBook Pro lineup was left unchanged. The current MacBook Pro and MacBook Pro with retina display were not even given Intel's latest processor upgrade, know as "Haswell." Many are wondering what was behind Apple's decision to leave their flagship laptop languishing while the entry level MacBook Air was given so much attention.
Currently, only Apple and a handful of niche vendors (such as Dell's Alienware gaming division) are getting a supply of Intel's Haswell chipset for their ultrabook laptops. Intel's shortage of processors during their production ramp may be one of the reasons Apple was unable to deliver both MacBook lineups with the processor upgrade, by why did Apple choose the Air over the Pro?
Apple could have launched the Hawell processor with the MacBook Pro instead of the MacBook Air, but ironically, it is Intel's continued push for the PC Ultrabook market to defeat Apple's Air lineup that is forcing Apple's hand. Intel has been hard at work pushing its hardware partners to take on Apple's MacBook Air. Intel has gone so far as to incentive PC manufacturers with a $300 million cash fund in an effort to lower price points, and spur development. But with Apple's latest MacBook Air offerings, coming it at $100 less and offering far more, PC ultrabooks are going to find it difficult to dominate the ultrabook space until they are able to compete with their one major weapon – cheap pricing.
More minor factors contributing to the MacBook Air update over the Pro series, is the fact that summer represents the beginning of the back-to-school buying season, which is market ripe for MacBook Air sales. Minor internal changes to the MacBook Air coupled with Haswell is also likely to give Apple ultrabook bragging rights as having the longest battery life available in the market. Adding Haswell to the thirsty MacBook Pro lineup with discrete graphics cards (15-inch models) would likely be unable to achieve this feat.
Apple is likely to update the MacBook Pro lineup with Haswell processors in August, moving the lineup to a strictly retina display offering. This will be a significant moment, as it will make Apple the first among its rivals to be first in delivering an entire laptop lineup void of legacy optical drives, in favor of longer battery life and fast PCIe flash storage.
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