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Ever since the original MacBook Pro, Apple has identified the notebooks based on the time of year in which they were released.
  • Early: January-April
    Mid: May-August
    Late: September-December
The first MacBook Pro with a Retina display, for example, has a "Mid 2012" model name because it was released in June of that year.

Apple continued this trend when it launched its latest MacBook Pro lineup in October. Both the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, along with the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with a standard row of function keys, were described as "late 2016" models on Apple's website and support documentation.

Just recently, however, Apple appears to have dropped the "late" portion of "late 2016" when referring to its latest MacBook Pro models, as spotted by Apple blog Pike's Universum. Apple now simply identifies all of its latest MacBook Pros as "2016" models on its tech specs pages and under "About This Mac" on the second macOS 10.12.4 beta.

macbook-pro-2016.jpg

The latest MacBook Pro models are still identified as "MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2016)" or "MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016)" under "About This Mac" on earlier macOS Sierra versions for some users. Apple also has a few support documents that still refer to a "late-2016 MacBook Pro" in sentence usage on its website.

Given that Apple only refreshed its MacBook Pro lineup once last year, it is reasonable to assume that "late" was an unnecessary descriptor; however, Apple still refers to its latest 12-inch MacBook as "Early 2016" despite there being no other updates to that notebook last year. The same applies to the "12-inch MacBook, Early 2015."

Apple has also yet to remove "Mid" from its "Mid 2014" MacBook Pro, despite the fact that it was the only MacBook Pro model released in 2014, so this appears to be a clear deviation from the company's traditional nomenclature. We've reached out to Apple for an explanation, and we'll update this article if we hear back.

Update: MacRumors reader Peter Cao tweeted us a screenshot that shows "Late" has indeed been dropped under "About This Mac" on a 2016 MacBook Pro running the second macOS 10.12.4 beta.

Article Link: Apple Drops 'Late' From 'Late 2016' MacBook Pro Model Names
 
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Appleaker

macrumors 68020
Jun 13, 2016
2,197
4,191
This is probably just to simplify the naming for customers, although I liked the fact it mentioned the time period. Maybe they'll just use it in cases where there are 2 refreshed that year.
 
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macsplusmacs

macrumors 65816
Nov 23, 2014
1,015
5,140
Maybe they plan on sticky to an honest to goodness yearly schedule for them now?*

Then, a late, early, mid nomenclature would be unnecessary?



*and of course for the record, a good portion of their timeline has to do with having to follow intel's
 
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JaySoul

macrumors 68030
Jan 30, 2008
2,627
2,860
Good.

It's very confusing now. This should make it easier.
 
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Andres Cantu

macrumors 68030
May 31, 2015
2,999
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Texas
This means never again more than one update per year. Also will "lessen" the blow for the Kaby Lake upgrades if released sooner than "Late 2017".
 
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moonjelly

macrumors regular
Aug 18, 2016
152
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Seems reasonable. Semiconductors are no longer improving at a rate where two updates in a year is likely. In fact probably could have done this a few years ago.
 
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Icaras

macrumors 603
Mar 18, 2008
6,272
3,012
Makes much more sense, like changing OS X to macOS. Thanks Apple for simplifying nomenclature even further.

I think this should even be extended to iOS devices. I think the current numbering scheme is getting pretty silly at this point. It should simply now just be named as iPhone 2017 or iPad 2017, etc.
 
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JustThinkin'

macrumors 6502
Oct 21, 2014
418
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Conspiracy theory: they want to release an early 2017 MacBook Pro, and don't want people to easily see "late 2016 and early 2017" beside each other, causing some buyers remorse.
That's no conspiracy theory, it's the primary reason.

How ironic! They're changing it to obfuscate how closely spaced a second update is, rather than the expected reason - that updates are less frequent now.
 
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Berti10

macrumors regular
Jan 24, 2012
188
347
So this is why there are new names in this beta. There won't be any new MBP in the near Future.
 
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macTW

Suspended
Oct 17, 2016
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Maybe they plan on sticky to an honest to goodness yearly schedule for them now?*

Then, a late, early, mid nomenclature would be unnecessary?



*and of course for the record, a good portion of their timeline has to do with having to follow intel's
My hope exactly!
 
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dumastudetto

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2013
3,725
4,742
It's no surprise given MacBook Pros are highly unlikely to ever be refreshed more than once per year anymore. So we can just refer to them by the year they were launched, and not time of year.
 
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Glassed Silver

macrumors 68020
Mar 10, 2007
2,096
2,564
Kassel, Germany
"Can't update anymore, my A**!"

~ Phil Schiller, 2013
Yeah, the fact they had the audacity to mock the naysayers who they proved right with the same model they launched that day is a slap in the face.

Some of the worst PR performance Apple has ever delivered here, but the target demographic has either moved on or is about to just give up on the nMP, so the few that remain interested aren't very loud, why listen.

Practically dropping the product line wouldn't sting half as much if they at least had the generosity of sharing what the hell they are on about.

I know they are all about surprises and secrets, but you can only go so far until you damage your customer relationship permanently.

Glassed Silver:win
 
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vpro

macrumors 65816
Jun 8, 2012
1,195
65
Drop the moniker under the screen then while you're at it. Put the date in the specs menu tab in system stats. Keep everything sleek.
 
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