Analyst predicts new iMacs this quarter; what about MacBook Pros?

In a note to clients — as noted by AppleInsider — KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the iMac will be updated this quarter with even better screens and improved processors. This begs the question: what about the MacBook Pro?

But back to the iMac. Better screens than the 5K model with Retina display? Kuo thinks we'll see an all-in-one with a LED phosphor material called KSF that will boost color saturation. Purportedly, LED backlights with KSF phosphor are emerging as a new wide color gamut solution.

As for the processor upgrade, the question is whether it will be the latest Intel Broadwell processor or Intel's not-yet-available Skylake (iMacs currently use Haswell chips). With Apple's track record of getting Intel's latest and greatest before anyone else, I'm betting on the latter.

If Apple is indeed getting Skylake processors this quarter, we're almost certain to get substantial upgrades to the MacBook Pro. If not, I don't expect to see the MBP line revved until spring 2016. 

According to Intel, Skylake chips “will have the biggest PC innovations in the last 10 years. Skylake will bring wireless charging and data transfers, and also a “significant increase in performance, battery life and power efficiency,” Kirk Skaugen, general manager of Intel’s PC Client Group, said at last year’’s Intel Developer Forum. The next gen Intel chip will also purportedly offer performance gains of 10x or more and support DDR4 RAM for further speed improvements.

Perhaps most intriguingly, it will adopt the WiGig standard — a technology that enables gigabit-speed communications without using wires — which will form the basis of the wireless docking capability. And, according to some, wireless display connectivity and charging. In other words, it’s possible that a Skylake Mac laptop would need no cables for power, connectivity with accessories, or connection to an external monitor. (Hmmmm. Could Apple be planning a WiGig Cinema Display?)

The problem is that it’s uncertain if Skylake will ship this quarter or in early 2016. That's why it's a guessing game on when we'll see a major upgrade to the MacBook Pro line.

But back to the iMac. In April Apple’s biggest display partner LG Display, said in a paper (since removed) explaining 8K (7,680 x 4,320) resolution and that “Apple has also announced that they will release the ‘iMac 8K’ with a super-high resolution display later this year.” Of course, Apple hadn’t made any such announcement, but could it happen?

I’m dubious, but it’s possible. VESA’s new DisplayPort 1.4a standard allows 7,680 x 4,320 displays, and 8K computer displays are expected to arrive sometime in 2016. Also, the advent of 8K broadcasting in Japan for the 2020 Olympics is expected to spur a new round of TV set resolution increases, even though shipments have not yet started in serious commercial volumes.

According to the IHS research group (, a global source of critical information and insight, shipments of 8K ultra-high definition (UHD) resolution (7680 ×  4320 pixel) TVs are expected to increase from 2,700 shipped worldwide in 2015 to 911,000 in 2019. The IHS 8K TV forecast hinges on the 65-inch screen size, which has by far the highest volume in production and will account for almost 80% of 8K TV shipments in 2019.

However, 4K TVs and monitors, which have four times the resolution of 1080p displays, aren’t yet mainstream devices. 4K TVs only accounted for 20% of global TV sales last year, according to research firm DisplaySearch. Only a limited number of content providers yet offer 4K content — much less 5K — which limits the practicality of owning such displays.

Kuo said he expects iMac sales to grow 100% quarter-over-quarter, ending the upcoming September period with one million units shipped.