Skylake Mac Notebooks May See Staggered Launch in 2016, Led by MacBook and 13" MacBook Pro

Apple is expected to refresh its MacBook lineup in 2016 with Intel's faster Skylake processors and Thunderbolt 3 with USB-C, and supply chain sources now indicate the updated notebooks may see a staggered launch throughout the year.

The company's manufacturing partners are expected to start producing new 12-inch MacBook and 13-inch MacBook Pro models around late March or early April, followed by 15-inch MacBook Pro models in the third quarter, according to the sometimes-reliable Taiwanese website DigiTimes.

Retina-MacBook-USB-C
If accurate, new 12-inch MacBook and 13-inch MacBook Pro models could debut at Apple's rumored March media event, alongside the new 4-inch iPhone, iPad Air 3, and Apple Watch updates, or at WWDC, likely scheduled for mid-June. Smaller updates could also be announced at any time via press release.

The larger 15-inch MacBook Pro may not be launched until after WWDC, however, as the third quarter translates to between July and September. While that seems questionable, Apple may elect to announce a new 15-inch MacBook Pro at WWDC and begin shipping the notebook later in the year.

Last year, Apple refreshed the 13-inch MacBook Pro in March, but its 15-inch sibling was not updated until May. For this reason, the 13-inch model is classified as Early 2015, and the 15-inch model is Mid 2015. Both notebooks received Force Touch trackpads, faster flash storage, longer battery life, and improved graphics.

The Early 2015 13-inch MacBook Pro is based on Intel's newer Broadwell chip architecture, while the 15-inch model still has older Haswell architecture. Since then, Intel has announced Skylake chips appropriate for the 13-inch MacBook Pro in September and 15-inch MacBook Pro earlier this week.

Given that Skylake chips have been announced for both the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro, there does not appear to be any reason for Apple to stagger the release of its notebooks this year. But, perhaps in line with its 2015 release cycle, Apple may plan to give the current 15-inch MacBook Pro a longer shelf life before replacing it.

Intel also announced Skylake chips appropriate for the 12-inch MacBook and MacBook Airs throughout 2015, so it is likely we will see Mac updates across the board over the coming months. The report also claims a new iMac will be released in 2016, but an update is unlikely until later in the year.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro 14 & 16"
Related Forums: MacBook Pro, MacBook

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Top Rated Comments

BeSweeet Avatar
111 months ago
So, by the time the 15" rMBP is out, we'll have 7th-gen Intel CPUs... Behind like usual.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Orlandoech Avatar
111 months ago
I need to upgrade from my 2010 Macbook Pro ASAP for work, and I'm not sure if I should wait for the next version or not.
Keep waiting, always keep waiting as the newer model is just around the corner. When you think you want to buy, wait longer, just keep waiting.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
whidbeyben Avatar
111 months ago
Oh puh-leeze add a second USB-C port to the Mackbook!
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rogifan Avatar
111 months ago
So, by the time the 15" rMBP is out, we'll have 7th-gen Intel CPUs... Behind like usual.
Considering all the problems Microsoft seems to be having with their Surface line Apple being behind might not be a bad thing if it means a more stable product when launched. And let's not forget according to Intel, Skylake was designed specifically for Windows 10.

https://www.thurrott.com/mobile/microsoft-surface/64095/welcome-to-surfacegate
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rogifan Avatar
111 months ago
Retina MacBook Air. My body is ready.
Well you'll be dead before you get one.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
2ms Avatar
111 months ago
The idea that Apple would not release 15 inch models until later just "to give the current 15-inch MacBook Pro a longer shelf life before replacing it" is absurd to me. The 15 Retina has hardly had any significant changes for almost 4 years now. Tiny bumps in processor speeds and a couple minor GPU changes have been peanuts. Meanwhile, all kinds of competitors have Thunderbolt 3 Skylake notebooks with similar resolution, size, etc.

Apple are going to release the 15 absolutely as quickly as possible. They're already many months late. I find the notion that they would update more slowly for no very compelling reason to be laughable. Who comes up with this stuff?
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)