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Forthcoming new MacBook Pros?

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A couple of friends have recently mentioned wanting to buy a new Mac laptop, so I wanted to post again about the MacBook Pro Buyer's Guide and the rest of the MacRumors Mac Buyer's Guides.

As I noted a couple of years ago, if you need a new computer now (and can afford it and so on), and a current model satisfies your needs, then you should certainly get one. A newer model will come out eventually, but in the meantime you'll have the use of one that will satisfice you.

On the other hand, if you can easily put off the purchase for a month, and if it's very likely (based on past release patterns, for example) that there'll be a new model within a month, then it may (or may not) be worth it to you to wait a little longer.

The MacRumors buyer's guides are pretty misleading in their recommendations, because as far as I can tell their main criterion is based on the average number of days between releases, and Apple tends to release in cycles of different lengths.

But looking at the bar graph on the left of each section can produce more useful data.

In particular, since early 2006, an updated or new MacBook Pro model has been released every eight months (plus or minus up to three weeks)—except that the latest release came ten months after the prior one.

Of course, the fact that that last data point is an outlier makes it hard to know what to expect. Does it mean they're moving to a ten-month release schedule? Does it mean the next release will be eight months after the last one? Does it mean they shipped the last one two months late but the next one will be on the original schedule? Based on those scenarios, the next release could come anytime between now and next February.

So perhaps at this particular moment, that buyer's guide isn't a useful guide as to when to buy, if you want a MacBook Pro soon.

Still, there've been a lot of Mac notebook releases in October over the years, and a few in the first week of November, and none in December. And none since 2006 in January (they used to announce new releases at MacWorld in January).

So my guess would be that either they'll be releasing a new MacBook Pro within the next five weeks, or not until February.

But that's just a guess. Past behavior doesn't necessarily say anything about future behavior.

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