AWT News Update: April 15, 2016

We're ending the week with news from around the world, all about our favorite tech company:

  • Intel's rumored to be on the verge of layoffs in the near future, and we speculate if it's time for Apple to start using its own chip designs in future Macs
  • Apple starts Earth Day celebrations a week early with a green leaf on the logo and retail employees in green t-shirts
  • iPhone 6s and 6s Plus sales are reportedly "sluggish" and rumors even say that Apple might release the iPhone 7 earlier than scheduled to revive sales
  • A fun rumor and some speculation about the fate of the MacBook line

The text version of this podcast can be found below.

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for April 15, 2016.

If there was ever a reason for Apple to start thinking about using its own chips in Macs, perhaps this is it — Intel, which makes the processors for all Macs — is reportedly about to lay off thousands of employees due to the slowdown in PC sales worldwide. Intel’s primary source of revenue is the sale of PC chips, so that slowdown is sure to be hurting them. Why should Apple consider kicking them while they’re down? Well, perhaps they could get the company to use its many foundries to make the chips that Apple designs. Apple would also have more control over the timeframe of CPU releases and therefore the release dates of its computer products, and could even add functionality to computers that aren’t possible with today’s processors. The downsizing is expected to begin sometime after Intel reports its first quarter financials on Tuesday.

Apple has started its celebration of Earth Day — April 22nd — a week early, adding a green “leaf” to the Apple logo on its stores worldwide. In addition, you’ll find that your favorite employees at the local Apple Stores are dressed in green t-shirts, which I hope are made from sustainable and biodegradable hemp, and they even have an AppsForEarth hashtag on them. Apple is also moving to paper bags, although some stores have a hefty stock they’re being asked to use before they switch to paper. Me? I’m wondering how the paper bags will hold up in rain and if they can be recycled as backpacks like the plastic ones could.

Apple has apparently told suppliers that it’s going to maintain reduced output of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus through the end of the June quarter. This comes from a report by the Japanese Nikkei newspaper citing commentary from parts suppliers. Apple is allegedly seeing sluggish sales for the 6s series, and the newspaper even noted that Apple might consider releasing the iPhone 7 earlier than September as a way to revive sales. If that’s true, the supplier pipeline should start seeing increased work as soon as next month.

And finally, we’ll end the week with a fun rumor. There’s word that the MacBook with Retina display will be updated in the second half of 2016 with a new screen hinge design that will make use of metal injection molding. The process allows for strong and detailed metal parts, and this could allow the company to make the thinest and lightest Mac even more sexy. The entire MacBook line might see a shakeup this year; it would make sense to eliminate the MacBook Air product line and replace it with the much more svelte MacBook with Retina display in a variety of sizes. The timing of all of the possible laptop fun is of course up to Intel, since Apple’s most likely waiting on widespread availability of the new Skylake processors.

We’ll be back Monday with another edition of the AWT News Update.