After rescheduling its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report earlier this month due to a "scheduling conflict," many wondered if Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was planning a product event. Sure enough, the tech giant is set to launch new Macs on Oct. 27, according to a report from Recode on Monday evening.
What to expect
Assuming Recode's report is accurate (the technology news website founded by longtime tech journalists Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher has proved to be a reliable source in cases like this), the event will be focused on new Macs and is "expected to take place at or near Apple's Cupertino campus rather than in San Francisco."
While Recode doesn't specify which new Mac models will be updated on Thursday, rumors in the active Apple rumor mill point to a likely launch of new MacBook Pro models.
MacRumors expects the new MacBook Pro to get a total overhaul, taking some design cues from the new Macbook:
The new MacBook Pro is said to include a redesigned, thinner body with a flatter MacBook-style keyboard, an OLED touch panel that replaces the physical function keys at the top of the keyboard, and Touch ID support.
It is expected to do away with the USB-A port, HDMI port, and SD card slot, featuring just four USB-C ports based on part leaks, and it is said to include support for USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt 3.
Other products that could potentially be refreshed on Thursday are Apple's Macbook Air, iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac mini -- all overdue for a refresh.
Why it matters
Assuming Apple can begin shipping any announced products soon after its event, an Oct. 27 product event would be well timed. New Macs launching shortly after the event would give Apple a fresh new lineup as it heads into the important holiday season. Further, this would mean Apple would get to show off new Mac products to customers visiting the Apple store to upgrade to the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, which were announced in September.
It's difficult to overstate the importance of Apple's holiday quarter. It is historically the company's biggest. In Apple's first fiscal quarter of 2016, for instance, the company posted a record $75.9 billion in quarterly revenue -- up 47% from the fiscal fourth quarter of 2015.
On average, analysts currently expect revenue during the holiday quarter of $74.6 billion, up a whopping 76% sequentially but down 1.7% year over year. Could hot, new Macs be what Apple needs to push total revenue into year-over-year growth for the quarter?
At about 12% of Apple's revenue, overhauled Mac products could have a small, but noticeably positive, impact on the company's top and bottom line, particularly since the segment is already in need of new products based on declining Mac sales in recent quarters. In Q1, Q2, and Q3, Apple's Mac revenue decreased year over year, with segment revenue declining a steep 13% year over year in Q3. New Macs, therefore, have the potential to bring the segment back to growth and possibly even give Apple's overall revenue and earnings a boost.
Apple's rescheduled earnings release for its fiscal fourth quarter will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 25 -- two days before Apple's rumored product event. Will robust expectations for new Mac products help Apple provide guidance for year-over-year revenue growth for Q1?