Apple Predicted to Discontinue 17-Inch MacBook Pro
Research analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has in the past offered accurate information on Apple's Mac product roadmap, recently took on a new position with KGI Securities and has published a new report today indicating that Apple may be preparing to drop the 17-inch MacBook Pro from its lineup due to weak sales.
Kuo's prediction comes as Apple is expected to introduce new notebooks that serve as a hybrid between the current MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models, offering greater power than the Air but greater portability than the Pro. Kuo believes that Apple will elect to drop the 17-inch size as part of this revamp in order to streamline the company's product offerings.
Apple’s Mac business in 2Q12 will be boosted by several factors. Three of which are: (1) Mountain Lion, which integrates iOS features with Mac OS, Apple TV’s interaction function, will be launched in June; (2) upgrading to Ivy Bridge; and (3) back-to-school demand. We forecast Apple will sell 5.32mn units of the Mac series (up 28.5% QoQ and 35.2% YoY) in 2Q12, making it the main growth driver.
We also predict Apple will roll out a fully new MacBook model in early 3Q12, boasting strong performance and easy carryability by combining the advantages of MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.
While adding new products, Apple is likely to stop making the 17” MacBook Pro this year due to falling shipments, in order to maintain a lean product line strategy.
According to Kuo's estimates for the first calendar quarter of 2012, Apple sold roughly 3.1 million notebooks, with nearly half of them being the 13-inch MacBook Pro, far and away the company's best-selling Mac product. But while Kuo predicts sales of nearly 1.5 million units of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, he sees much lower sales of roughly 500,000 15-inch models and only 50,000 17-inch models.
Kuo estimates Apple's first quarter MacBook Air sales at roughly 1.1 million, split nearly equally between 11-inch and 13-inch models. He believes that the MacBook Air is only meeting Apple's expectations and not exceeding them, in large part because solid-state drives are not yet available in large enough capacities to satisfy consumers. But the trend of abandoning optical and traditional hard disk drives from notebooks will continue, and solid-state drives will continue to become more cost competitive over time.