Ever since Apple launched its MacBook Pro, Apple has identified its Macs with the time of year in which they were released.
- Early: January-April
- Mid: May-August
- Late: September-December
For example, when the original MacBook Pro with Retina display was released, Apple gave it a “Mid 2012” model name because it was released in June of that year.
Up until the latest MacBook Pro, which were released in October of 2016, Apple continued this trend. However, Apple has dropped the “Late” part of “Late 2016” with this model. Apple blog Pike’s Universum reports (via MacRumors). Apple now refers to it as the “2016” model on its website, tech specs page, and in the latest macOS Sierra 10.12.4 beta.
Given that Apple only refreshed the MacBook Pro once last year, it makes sense for Apple to drop the title. However, the company still references the 12-inch MacBook as “MacBook, Early 2016” even though it only has a yearly refresh cycle thus far. Same thing goes for the “Mid 2014” MacBook Pro, with it being the only MacBook Pro refresh for that year.