New MacBook Pro: does its 2014 release date include OS X 10.10?

Apple is set to introduce the new 2014 iteration of the MacBook Pro, the professional Mac laptop whose new version has been hotly anticipated since Apple quietly released a new MacBook Air last month without a peep about its Pro plans. With its WWDC conference keynote taking place next week, Apple will preview its next generation MacOS X 10.10 (with a better commercial product name than that) system software. But is it a reasonable expectation that Apple will unveil its new MacBook Pro model next week and announce its release date as well?

That may depend on whether Apple plans to ship the new 2014 MacBook Pro with OS X 10.10 preinstalled. The new Mac operating system will require a month or more of developer beta testing before it’s ready to ship. Apple could opt to make the new MacBook Pro the first piece of new hardware to ship with 10.10 on it, but in such case the new laptop won’t arrive until July at the earliest. Will Apple dare show off the new MacBook Pro a full month before it’s ready to ship, and risk putting a damper on existing MacBook Pro sales in the mean time? The answer has generally been no, with occasional exceptions.

Last year Apple previewed the new Mac Pro tower-slash-cylinder at WWDC long before it was ready to ship – but that was a situation where the new model was so overdue that sales of the existing Mac Pro had already begun drying up. Apple could opt to simply unveil the new MacBook Pro next week and give it a release date swiftly thereafter, with the promise that it’ll be optimized for OS X 10.10 once it’s released later in the summer.

Apple must also decide whether 10.10 will once again be a free update, or whether the tradition of charging money for major Mac software updates will resume. But the bigger question heading into WWDC may be why Apple has decided to hold back the new MacBook Pro for the bigger stage, and what new surprises it’ll bring.

Phil Moore

Phil Moore

Phil covers tech for Stabley Times.