【TECHS】Macbook Air Update on November 20th?

When Apple introduces something, Google and Microsoft must counteracts.  This relationship can be in any order. With the most recent announcement of Surface Book, I believe Microsoft has the leading edge in terms of utilizing most up to date intel technology.  This has been actually true for Apple when comes to Macbook series in general.  Is Apple losing the title?

Previous Rumor

According to Macrumors.com, Macbook Air and Macbook Pro 13 inch are unlikely to be updated until early 2016.

Intel-Skylake-i5-i7

Their logic were reasonable at the time.  Above are list of Intel skylake CPU that will be corresponding to Macbook Air models. These were deemed to be not released until early 2016 because integrated Iris 540 graphics version won’t be ready until then, and which are indeed the version Macbook Air will likely to receive.

I7-6650U will be ready November 20th

The above assumption is however no longer true.  The recently announced Surface Pro 4’s most expensive CPU version is actually i7-6650U, which does use Iris 540.  This model according to Microsoft’s website is shipping November 20th i.e. later than other versions of Surface Pro 4, but still in 2015.

Even Skylake Macbook Pro 13 inch model may be released in this year

Intel-Skylake-28-Watt-Chips

Above is the Skylake chip table that likely to correspond to Macbook Pro 13 inch according to Macrumor.  Their logic back in September again were similar and because Iris integrated version won’t be ready until early 2016, Macbook Pro 13 inch model won’t see their update until that time.

Although we still do not have actual laptop announced that uses above chip models, if we look at I7-6650U on Intel official website, we see its launch date specified as Q3’15, which I believe is October to December 2015. This perfectly fits November 20th ship date of the model of the Surface Pro 4 containing the chip.

Guess what. Official Intel site also has i7-6567U, which is the version of Skylake chip likely be used on Macbook Pro 13 inch, with a lauch date of Q3’15.

Intel is ready.  Is Apple ready?

So Intel will be ready to support Apple’s Skylake model Macbook Air and Macbook Pro 13 inch.  The question now is “Is Apple ready?”  Under the normal circumstance, answer is pretty much solid “yes.”  As Apple tends to release new version of Macbook relatively quickly after the corresponding chip release with occasional exceptions.  This time however does have a potential extraordinary circumstance that is the release of iPad Pro.

Many sees iPad Pro is trying to put itself into similar target/market as the Macbook Air/13 inch Pro.  If Apple sees it same way, they may intentionally avoid having competing product from its own released simultaneously or too closely.

Now personally, I see two are different audience/target or at least I hope Apple sees such.  Otherwise, why would Apple keep emphasizing they won’t combine two OS i.e. iOS and OS-X.  Each have their own strength and does its own things well because (perhaps) they are specialized on it.  So if iPad Pro is cutting into Macbook Air/Pro’s market, that’s only because individual preference of touch based OS vs. desktop based OS and it is a natural divergence rather than stealing one crowd from another.

Furthermore, I believe newer Macbook Pro 13 inch and Macbook Air can potentially be used as counter argument against Surface Book.  This is because with newer 13inch Macbook Pro will have superior CPU performance than Surface Book.  Remember this is because Macbook Pro 13 inch uses 28W model of CPU series where as Surface Book uses 15W series (same as Macbook Air).  If the argument is strong enough to say Macbook Pro 13 inch is better than Surface Book depends on how one interprets, but at least on the paper CPU can outperform, and GPU will be no longer 1/2 that of Surface Book.

What do you think?  Will Skylake version of Macbook Air and Macbook Pro 13 inch be released before the end of year?  I say “yes” with 90% chance!

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