Apple has already served up minor updates for its MacBook Pro and MacBook Air laptops this year, but now the question is whether the upcoming major revisions complete with the Intel Broadwell chip will see their release date before 2014 is over. The answer: ask Intel. The mere fact that Apple has gone ahead and offered minor “speedbump” updates doesn’t mean it’s given up hope that Broadwell will be ready in 2014, but instead it merely means that Apple didn’t want to have to go into the start of the back to school and holiday shopping season with its only it 2013 models to show for. Intel, for its part, is sticking to its Broadwell story.
First, what is Broadwell? The current MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models are powered by the Intel Haswell microprocessor, which represented a major leap forward in reducing power consumption, thus allowing longer daily battery life out of the same sized battery. The Broadwell processor represents the next major leap forward in that regard, allowing laptop vendors like Apple to either offer all-day battery life or to go ahead and reduce the battery size, resulting in even thinner and lighter models. The next MacBook Pro & Air will indeed include the Broadwell chips; it’s merely a matter of waiting it out until Intel has managed to finalize the new technology and put the chips into mass production.
Intel, for its part, continues to say that while it can’t promise the Broadwell chips will be ready for the start of the holiday shopping season, they will indeed ship before the 2014 calendar year is over. That means Apple will be able, if it wants, to hold the new MacBook Air and Pro release date in 2014. But if the Broadwell doesn’t arrive until, say, late November, Apple may opt to stick with what it has rather than attempting an inventory turnover in the middle of the shopping season – in which case the new MacBooks could end up not arriving until early 2015.