Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) unusual silence of late has caused a stir in observers, concerns in investors, and an uneasy curiosity among analysts. A lack of new product news is a rare thing for the company, which over the last several years has been very good about keeping a schedule of new products and releases. However, Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who has a fairly good reliability record among analysts for predicting new Apple releases and refreshes, is now saying that the well will not remain dry much longer.
In a research note, the analyst said that the company is planning to bring its Macbook line up to speed with Intel’s (NASDAQ:INTC) latest platform, but other speculations, such as a Macbook Air with Retina display, are probably not in the pipeline. In a shift from his previous forecasts, he predicts that Apple will keep its optical drive line of Macbooks alongside the Retina line, and that no major design changes are expected with the refresh — which he thinks will be debuted at this years Worldwide Developers Conference in June.
Referring to the 13 inch and 15 inch Macbooks, ”There is still demand in emerging markets, where Internet penetration isn’t advanced, for optical disk drives,” Kuo wrote in his note.
The biggest change, he adds, is that the new Macbooks will shift to Intel’s Haswell line of processors, a bump up from the Ivy Bridge line that the products run now. The updated computers will begin shipping at the end of the second quarter, he estimates, with the Retina display models being released later, due to production shortfalls for the higher resolution panels.
The WWDC, held in mid-June in San Francisco, sold out in two minutes this year, beating its former record of two hours.