Apple will release updated Mac notebooks with Intel’s next-generation Kaby Lake processors later this year, according to the latest research note from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Kuo said new 12-inch MacBook models with Kaby Lake processors will enter mass production in the early second quarter, which starts in March, and noted a 16GB of RAM option could be added—presumably as a high-end or built-to-order configuration. The two current 12-inch MacBook configurations include 8GB of RAM.
Likewise, Kuo said new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models with Kaby Lake processors will start mass production in the early third quarter, which starts in July. The research note did not specify how much RAM these models will have, but 16GB could remain the limit due to the restrictions of current memory designs.
Interestingly, Kuo also mentions a “15-inch MacBook” that will include 32GB of RAM and enter mass production in the early fourth quarter, which starts in September. He said this model will be “the most significantly redesigned product this year,” and he believes it will adopt desktop-class RAM to satisfy high-end users.
Given the high-end specifications, it is likely that this 15-inch MacBook would be part of the MacBook Pro lineup, but Kuo did not specify. Beyond faster processors and increased memory, Kuo said most other specifications and the design of all of the notebooks will be similar to equivalent models released in 2016.
Kuo believes the new Kaby Lake notebooks will be power efficient, which may positively affect shipments. He estimates that Mac notebook shipments will resume year-over-year growth at about 10% on the strength of the new models, while shipments will be quicker as production delays affecting 2016 models are resolved.
Kuo also expects Apple to discount the 13-inch MacBook Pro with a standard row of function keys this year as that model gradually replaces the 13-inch MacBook Air in Apple’s notebook lineup.
While no release dates were mentioned, Kuo previously said he expects new MacBook Pro models with 32GB of RAM to launch in the second half of 2017.
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