MacBook Air vs Pro release date 2014: slip times ship in Apple Store

Are the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro as close as the online Apple Store is now subtly hinting? The release date of Apple’s new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 2014 models will be preceded by at least a blip in the inventory and availability of the current models, and at first blush it appears there’s no sign of evidence pointing in that direction. But dig a little deeper by configuring a MacBook with anything other than the standard hardware options, for intense bumping it up from 256GB of solid state storage to 512GB, and suddenly the shipping date slips to one to three days instead of the usual twenty-four hours. So what does it mean?

Apple goes to great lengths to ensure that it has as little inventory on hand as possible, both because it doesn’t want to have to waste resources on storing excess product, and because it doesn’t want to get stuck with stockpiles of suddenly outdated product once it decides to flip the switch on a new model. That sometimes causes the availability of various Mac models to slip in Apple’s online store. occasionally it’s a mere blip which corrects itself within days as new inventory arrives. But with the new Broadwell processor coming from Intel within weeks or months, this shift in ship times is enough to raise the question of whether it means that the new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air release date is imminent.

Intel has stated that Broadwell will be ready by the end of 2014 for sure, but that no promises can be made regarding earlier arrival. Working in favor of an imminent release date for the new MacBook Air & Pro is the fact that Apple tends to get first dibs on new Intel chips. Working against it is the fact that Apple just revved the MacBook Air a few months ago with minor speed bumps. Was this a sign that Apple initially plans to put the Broadwell only in the MacBook Pro, or was Apple hedging its bets due to the fact that the Broadwell release date was unknown at the time?

The best way to determine whether the 1-3 day ship times are a sign of inventory-draw down, or just a sign that too many people ordered that particular model in too short of a time, is to keep watching the Apple Store to see which direction it goes in over the next week or two.

Phil Moore

Phil Moore

Phil covers tech for Stabley Times.