Why you might want to hold off on a new 15" MacBook Pro or 27" iMac

Both current models use the older Haswell chip from Intel and Apple's large laptop could benefit from the same Force Touch trackpad found on its smaller notebooks.
Written by Kevin Tofel, Contributor

Have you been saving up for a new Mac laptop or desktop? You might want to hang on to your wallet for a little bit yet: Both the 15-inch MacBook Pro and 27-inch iMac are expected to see a refresh soon.


A number of outlets reported on Monday possible new models of both Apple devices coming as early as this week. Even if the anticipated upgraded devices don't appear in the next few days, Apple's WorldWide Developer Conference (WWDC) is scheduled for early June, where any updated models might appear.

Mac Generation was among the first to suggest a new 15-inch MacBook Pro and 27-inch iMac, saying the updates could appear this Wednesday. That corresponds with an earlier report from AppleInsider who notes build-to-order configurations for the laptop were discontinued last week at MacMall, a large online Mac re-seller.

The potential timing for newer models isn't that far-fetched. While Apple introduced its new 5k Retina iMac last October, the current non-retina iMac model launched nearly a year ago, last June. And the current 15-inch MacBook Pro last saw an upgrade just a month later in July of 2014.

Both of those computers use the chips that were currently available back then; namely, Intel's Haswell processors. Since then, the chip-maker introduced its next-generation processor called Broadwell and most computer companies have made the switch to those chips. Indeed, Apple has already done so with its 13-inch MacBook Pro this past March: The base model runs on a 2.7 GHz dual-core Broadwell processor.

While a chip change for the 15-inch MacBook Pro would put it on par with Apple's smaller laptop, there's another reason for Apple to refresh the notebook: Force Touch.

The company introduced its Force Touch trackpad earlier this year on the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the new 12-inch MacBook. The trackpad can sense pressure and display different menu options or information in addition to the standard single or double-finger taps.

Image: Apple

With Apple's annual developer event just weeks away would it refresh its computer hardware in advance?

Related: Apple MacBook (2015) review: Slimmer and lighter than Air | Apple Watch: Perils of the approaching app deluge | Apple says HomeKit devices to start appearing in June

It's possible because the company's keynote at WWDC -- where Apple would typically introduce new products -- is likely to be filled up with other, more forward-thinking topics.

I'd anticipate the company to focus on advancing its WatchKit platform for Apple Watch apps, provide further details on HomeKit and outline what's in the works for iOS and OS X during the keynote. That leaves little time for relatively minor hardware bumps on the laptop and desktop line.

If that money is burning a hole in your pocket and you just can't wait to get a new Mac, keep in mind that Apple does accept returned items for 14 days after purchase. That means if Apple doesn't refresh the devices until the June 8 keynote at WWDC, you can return your Mac if you bought it on or after May 25, which is just a week away.

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