It's just about certain. We have all the information we need. There is precedent. There is pressing need. There will be 3,000 MacBook Pro users in the WWDC keynote audience. It's the right time and the right place for Apple to announce new MacBook Pros.
2015 MacBook Pro. Image credit: Apple
There have been conflicting reports about what, if any, hardware Apple will announce during the WWDC keynote on Monday, June 13. It is, after all, a conference for developers. However, looking at all the factors, I believe that if there's one Mac Apple announces, it will be the MacBook Pro. Here are my reasons.
2. It's the right place. Apple's CEO Tim Cook and SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller will be standing in front of an audience that, by a large, will have thousands of MacBook Pros (and some Airs) sitting on their laps. This is the place to make a splash even as some developers are multi-tasking with the latest compile of their app going on simultaneously.
3. It's the right time. Apple has been taking some flak lately for both the stagnation of the MacBook Pro design as well as the update cycle. The 13-inch MacBook Pro was last updated in March of 2015. The 15-inch was last updated in May of 2015.
If Apple were to stretch out the update until the fall, with mere CPU upgrades, serious questions would be raised about Apple's industrial capacity to ship new, innovative MacBook Pros on an annual basis. Other PC makers are being quite aggressive in their designs, and Apple wouldn't want to be seen as falling behind.
To that end, we've seen fairly convincing rumors from the supply chain that the new MacBook Pros will have an OLED capacitive touch panel that replaces the function key row. Presumably, these keys can be re-programmed. Add to that the prospect of converting to Skylake CPUs and four USB-C ports, and Apple has the making of a very hot product to present to a very receptive crowd.
4. Announce now. Ship later. From what I've read, Apple may not be quite ready to ship next week. But that won't stop Apple from announcing the product: images, specs and pricing during the keynote. The drool factor would be enormous, enough so that a ship date in August would be palatable. It actually gives Apple some time to ramp up the marketing and let the sites that follow Apple fuel the fires of passion for 8 weeks.
5. The Supply Chain. We now have a second source that discusses a next generation hinge that would allow the MacBook Pro to be thinner. This report specifies that these MacBooks (without details of the "Pro" nomenclature) will ship in the third quarter. (Jul-Sep).
But the Apple MacBook was just updated in April and the MacBook Air line will probably be left to linger as a low-priced entry-level model. Especially for education to battle the Chromebooks. So the above has to refer to the "Pros." Other supply chain indications are linked above.
All the above evidence creates a compelling prospect for Apple to announce (but likely not ship) exciting new MacBook Pros next week. All will be forgiven in a hurry if that happens.