Is this a sign that the apocalypse nears? Or only a sign that new hardware is on the way? That’s the question we want to know, as popular electronics retail chain Best Buy no longer has the 12-inch MacBook in stock. Even more intriguingly, the store seems to have ripped the related listings off its website, with the result that customers can’t find these products even when performing an on-site search. That, naturally, has caused quite a bit of fuss/excitement within the Apple community.
“They had a sale a few weeks ago ($300 off the 1.2 512GB version), and supply pretty much got emptied then,” one MacRumors forum member posted. “Stores around me went from having supply, to being empty after that.”
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Indeed, a quick search on Best Buy for a 12-inch MacBook leads to a listing for a 12-inch shell case and a refurbished 12-inch model with an Intel Core M processor, 8GB of memory, and 256GB of storage. Simply type in “MacBook” and the site pulls up listings for the 13.3-inch MacBook Air, the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro, the 11.6-inch MacBook Air (which technically could be called 12 inches), and the 15.4-inch MacBook Pro.
Some of these products are currently on sale, knocking $150 off the retail price. For instance, the 13.3-inch MacBook Air with an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of memory, and 128GB of storage currently costs $850, down from $1,000. Actually, all MacBook Air models seem to be on sale at Best Buy as of this article, indicating that the store could be attempting to flush them out and make room for the next-generation models.
Meanwhile, MacMall is also raising a red flag thanks to a number of 12-inch MacBooks listed as out of stock. Some are labeled “Not in stock” while others read “Temporarily out of stock.” Nowhere, however, do these listings read “No longer available” or anything else suggesting a discontinuation.
So why the alarm then? Putting products on sale to flush out the current stock of hardware is typical before a device refresh, especially when it comes to Apple products. Once stores are out of stock, they typically wait for the new hardware to be released, generally after they have been announced by the manufacturer. Apple is expected to reveal new MacBook solutions in June during its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).
Last week brought rumors that the new line of MacBooks will feature a special hinge built in the U.S. that will give them a super-slim form factor that’s thinner than the current MacBook Air. Apple will also reportedly launch new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBooks at the end of the second quarter of 2016 that will borrow some of the designs seen in the 12-inch Retina MacBooks. The new devices will supposedly feature a USB Type-C port on each side to keep the notebooks thin.
A reference to a 12-inch Retina MacBook for early 2016 was discovered in the System Image application for OS X last month, indicating that a hardware refresh would take place at least by late April. Apple previously used the “early” label to designate a launch within the first four months of the year, which conveniently coincides with Best Buy’s recent lack of 12-inch MacBook stock.
That said, it still seems possible that Apple will wait until June to release new hardware given WWDC. Then again, MacRumors points out that Apple released the current 12-inch MacBook on April 10 last year while WWDC 2015 took place months later. Given this history, we’ll just have to wait and see over the next several weeks what Apple plans to do. Heck, now we’re excited!