According to a report released by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple may be preparing to drop the 17-inch MacBook Pro lineup due to weak sales. Kuo has offered accurate information on Apple’s Mac product roadmap in the past.
The predictions have come as Apple is expected to introduce new notebooks that serve as a hybrid between the current MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models. There are speculations that the new mixed line will offer greater power than the Air and better portability than the Pro. Kuo believes that Apple will choose to drop the 17-inch size as part of the revamp in order to streamline the its product offerings.
Kuo said following things about Apple:
Apple’s Mac business in 2Q12 will be boosted by several factors. Three of which are: (1) Mountain Lion, which integrates iOS features with Mac OS, Apple TV’s interaction function, will be launched in June; (2) upgrading to Ivy Bridge; and (3) back-to-school demand. We forecast Apple will sell 5.32mn units of the Mac series (up 28.5% QoQ and 35.2% YoY) in 2Q12, making it the main growth driver.
We also predict Apple will roll out a fully new MacBook model in early 3Q12, boasting strong performance and easy carryability by combining the advantages of MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.
While adding new products, Apple is likely to stop making the 17” MacBook Pro this year due to falling shipments, in order to maintain a lean product line strategy.
Kuo’s estimates indicated that Apple sold roughly 3.1 million notebooks, with nearly half of them being the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which, at the moment is the company’s best-selling Mac product.
Kuo has predicted the sales of nearly 1.5 million units of the 13-inch MacBook pro. He sees much lower sales of roughly 500,000 15-inch models and only 50,000 17-inch models. His estimates for the MacBook Air showed sales being at roughly 1.1 million, split nearly equally between 11-inch and 13-inch models. Here, Kuo believes that the MacBook Air was only meeting the Cupertino California company’s expectations and not exceeding them because the solid-state drives did not come in capacities large enough to appeal to many consumers. The trend will continue and SSD’s will continue to become more competitive over time though.
Let us see how accurate the estimates turn out though in Apple’s 24 April 2012 earnings call.
The news does not seem surprising, given the performance of the 17-inch model in the past. No official announcements have been made by Apple regarding the MacBook in general.