Tim Cook Says 'Strong Demand' For 2016 MacBook Pro Helped Set New Mac Sales Record Last Quarter
Apple reported its second quarter earnings results earlier this week, and during its subsequent conference call, CEO Tim Cook said Mac revenue hit a new March quarter record due to "strong demand" for the latest MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models, released in October 2016.
We had great Mac results during the quarter. Revenue grew 14 percent to a new March quarter record, and we gained market share thanks to strong demand for our new MacBook Pros. Our Mac business has generated over $25 billion in revenue over the past four quarters.
Apple sold 4.2 million Macs in the quarter, up four percent from the 4 million it sold in the year-ago quarter, but it does not break out sales on a model-by-model basis. Mac-related revenue totaled $5.8 billion, up 14 percent from 5.1 million in the year-ago quarter, a new all-time record in the second quarter.
Apple's record March quarter was achieved despite a lack of hardware updates to the MacBook, MacBook Air, iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac mini in over one to three years depending on the model. The MacBook Pro was the only Mac that Apple updated in 2016, beyond making 8GB RAM standard on the 13-inch MacBook Air.
Even the 2016 MacBook Pro faced its fair share of criticism when it launched. Some professional users were disappointed about the removal of all but two or four Thunderbolt 3 ports, while others faced battery life concerns and graphics issues that were eventually addressed with software updates.
Fortunately, updates are on the horizon. Last month, Apple made the rare move of pre-announcing that it's working on new pro-focused iMac models that will launch later this year. It's also working on a new Mac Pro that will feature a "modular" design, after admitting the 2013 model has thermal constraints.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities said new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models with faster Kaby Lake processors would enter mass production in the June quarter. He also said new 12-inch MacBook models would enter production in the spring, and some high-end models could supposedly have 16GB of RAM.
Kuo also mentioned a "15-inch MacBook" that would include 32GB of RAM and enter mass production in the early fourth quarter, which starts in September. He said the model would be "the most significantly redesigned product this year," and he believes it will adopt desktop-class RAM to satisfy high-end users.
Hardware references to possible next-generation MacBook Pro models were discovered in macOS 10.12.4 in February. It's less certain if the MacBook Air will continue to receive updates, or be supplanted by the 12-inch MacBook entirely, while Apple said the Mac mini remains an "important product" in its lineup.
"We're investing aggressively in [the Mac's] future, and we are very excited about the innovation we can bring to the platform," said Cook.