Apple’s next-generation 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models will feature new chips, but few other changes, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a post on Medium today, Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple has lowered its shipment forecast for new MacBook Pro models by 20 to 30 percent for the fourth quarter before mass production of the notebooks begins, due to lower-than-expected demand.
Signs of a recession and fewer people working from home are two reasons why Apple is reducing orders, while “limited new selling points” for the new MacBook Pro models could also affect demand.
“The main upgrade to the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro is simply a new processor,” wrote Ming-Chi Kuo in a Medium post. Limited new selling points could also lead to lower-than-expected demand.”
Given the major redesign of the notebooks launched in October 2021, including bangs at the top of the display and the return of ports like MagSafe and HDMI, it’s not surprising that the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are planned to have few changes. MacBooks tend to go through multiple generations between major hardware changes.
The new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are expected to come with Apple’s M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, which Ming-Chi Kuo believes will remain in the 5nm process.
Apple is expected to hold another event in October, this time focusing on new iPad and Mac models, but it’s unclear if new MacBook Pro models will be announced at that event or sometime next year.
The full text of the post is as follows.
Apple very rarely cuts orders before peak season / new product volume production, meaning demand is significantly lower than expected, so MacBook shipments will likely continue to decline YoY for at least 1H23.
The economic downturn and WFH demand decline are the main reasons for the order cut, and both will likely continue to have a negative impact for at least 6-9 months.
The major upgrade to the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models is only the adoption of new processors, and limited new selling points may also contribute to lower-than-expected demand.
The biggest selling points for MacBook Pro are Apple processors (with higher-tier ABF carriers) and Mini-LED displays, so significantly lower-than-expected demand for MacBook Pro is a structural risk for the higher-tier ABF carrier and Mini-LED industries.
4Q22 overall MacBook shipment estimates are revised down 15-20% due to new MacBook Pro cutbacks, and MacBook shipments will decline 10-15% YoY in 2022 (vs. market consensus of 5-10% YoY decline).
The shipping time for MacBook Pro standard models / customized models on Apple’s official website has significantly decreased from “4-6 weeks / 6-8 weeks” 2-3 months ago to “in-stock / within 1 week” now, mainly due to the significant decline in demand.
The ABF industry has expanded in recent years mainly to meet the optimistic expectations of Apple processors and Intel server processors. Following the slowdown of Intel server processor shipments, the potential risk of MacBook Pro/high-end Apple processor orders being cut in 4Q22 and a YoY decline in shipments in 1H23 will increase the chance of oversupply of high-end ABF capacity in 2023.
Mini-LED demand is mainly driven by Apple, and the potential risk of MacBook Pro order cut in 4Q22 and YoY decline in 1H23 shipments may significantly weaken the momentum of Mini-LED device shipments in 2023.
Although Apple’s MacBook order reduction rate is smaller than that of its competitors, it means that Apple’s demand for high-end products is still not immune to the recession/inflationary impact.