Apple has changed the date of its upcoming quarterly earnings call, sparking speculation that the tech giant could make an announcement on the new MacBook.

For the world’s biggest company to change such an important call, there must be a reason behind it, writes Ben Lovejoy for 9to5Mac.

Photo by Szilveszter Farkas
Photo by Szilveszter Farkas

Earnings call schedule changed, but for what?

In fact Apple has done so before, and there was an important reason why. On the only other occasion that the company has changed the timing of a call, it was to allow executives to go to a memorial service in order of Bill Campbell, a long-serving board member of the company.

Despite announcing that the timing would change, there has so far been no explanation why this time around. Reporters have received no response when inquiring.

One possible explanation is that the quarterly earnings call has been brought forward in order to make room for a keynote event two days later. This has sparked speculation that the event could be related to new Macs, as we have been waiting for news on Apple’s new computers for a long while.

Of course the company could hold a Mac keynote on Tuesday and hold its earnings call on Thursday as originally planned. However this seems unlikely.

Bad news to come before Mac announcement?

The thinking goes that Apple has changed the date because it doesn’t want to overshadow its new Mac by announcing what many believe will be disappointing sales figures for the iPhone 7. Estimates may be slightly better than expected, but many people believe that there will be another year-on-year decline in sales of the iPhone.

At the same time the average selling price of the handsets may be boosted by the increased popularity of the larger iPhone 7 Plus. However Apple’s own guidance forecasts revenue of $45.5-47.5 billion, down from $51.5 billion last year.

While former Apple CEO Steve Jobs used to give low guidance figures, preferring to manage expectations and over-deliver, Tim Cook has so far given realistic guidance. This makes it unlikely that revenue will exceed top-end guidance to the extent that it surpasses last year’s figure.

If things stuck to the supposed original schedule, we would see a Mac keynote on the Tuesday, closely followed by an announcement of declining sales on the Thursday. On the other hand if Apple switches the dates, we get to hear the bad news before the good news.

MacBook Pro overhaul predicted

As a result the story becomes one of challenges with the iPhone followed by excitement from the Mac range. Commentators believe that there will be a major overhaul of the MacBook Pro, and others are predicting a new MacBook Air, 5K display and iMac. There may even be an announcement on a new Apple TV.

The MacBook Pro is expected to feature an OLED touchscreen, a slimmer body, Touch ID power button, Skylake processors and the additional option of an AMD Polaris GPU.

While this theory may sound convincing, there is one mystery. Why did Apple not have a Mac announcement firmly scheduled before this? One possible explanation is a shortage of some kind of component which meant the company had to wait before it could settle on a date. This could have been due to the OLED touchscreen, although another possibility is a delay to the expected macOS update.

As always with tech rumors, this is all just speculation before an official announcement is made.