Investors are now just days away from Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) next big product unveiling, which is this Thursday. Assuming that a long string of rumors suggesting that the company is working on a redesigned 12-inch MacBook Air with Retina display are somewhat accurate, the biggest unknown is when Apple will unveil the new device.
Preannouncing products is generally rare for Apple, minimizing the Osborne Effect on sales, even as Apple decided to preannounce the Apple Watch several months in advance of shipping the new wearable. Investors now have even more evidence that the MacBook Air with Retina display isn't ready to be shown to the public.
Don't count on Apple showing it off this week.
One of the privileged few
Re/code reports that the new high-resolution laptop will not be unveiled this week. Instead, Apple will focus on showing off its latest and greatest iPads as well as a Retina iMac. OS X Yosemite's public release is also imminent, so the new version of Apple's operating system should also get some stage time.
The reason why this report deserves more attention is because it is very likely a perfect example of Apple's PR strategy of using controlled leaks to set expectations. Re/code is one of the outlets that receives favorable treatment from Apple, as the spiritual predecessor of All Things D. Apple has a rather long history with Walt Mossberg, who was also good friends with Steve Jobs.
Apple knows that it can't stop the rumor mill from constantly churning out speculation about what the company is up to, but at the same time it can still exert some modicum of control by selectively feeding information to reputable media outlets. Longtime Apple followers will be familiar with the company's strategy of using controlled leaks, but 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman published an extensive report on the topic in August.
First things first
Apple is reportedly preparing to begin mass production of the 12-inch Retina MacBook Air in December ahead of a 2015 launch. The larger 12.9-inch "iPad Pro" is supposedly seeing its production pushed back so that Apple can focus manufacturing capacity on the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, which is enjoying higher-than-expected demand.
Reports from this morning suggest that Apple has grabbed over 20 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus preorders in China, ahead of the official launch on Friday. Larger smartphones and phablets are extremely popular in the Middle Kingdom, and fulfilling iPhone demand is Apple's top priority this quarter. If accurate, that preorder total would already be twice what Apple sold during launch weekend, and suggests it could have a blowout weekend.
Apple continues to slowly gain share on the global PC market, for the first time breaking IDC's top five in the third quarter. That displaced ASUS as the company continues a string of outpacing broader PC volumes. The Retina MacBook Air should eventually strengthen that momentum, as it improves the consumer-oriented lineup, but it can wait until next year.