For some, Apple’s next major important product unveiling might not be the iPhone 7. It could be the rumored upcoming MacBook Pro expected to sport a new touchscreen OLED strip to replace the function key row on the keyboard. That will likely be a standout new hardware feature that Apple will want to highlight and launch during a public event, but it likely won’t be the only notable hardware upgrade for a new 2016 MacBook Pro.
Head below for our roundup of everything we know so far about Apple’s upcoming MacBook Pro…
The MacBook Pro is next in line for Apple’s laptops to get an update alongside either a refresh for the MacBook Air line, or perhaps a slow death or merging of lines with Airs and the new 12-inch MacBook. The last update for the MacBook Pro was in May 2o15; the last real update for the MacBook Air was in March 2015, but the new 12-inch MacBook refreshed earlier this year leaves some questions about the direction of the Air line going forward.
At least one report claimed new MacBook Airs could arrive this year, but based on the volume and quality of leaks, it looks like a MacBook Pro will be Apple’s next big laptop refresh.
OLED fn keys |
With multiple, separate leaks from usually-reliable sources now, it’s all but confirmed that Apple is working on a new OLED touchscreen to replace the function key row on the next MacBook Pro keyboard. First supply chain sources hinted at the new feature, then resources discovered in the new macOS Sierra release seemed to confirm support for the incoming hardware. The images throughout this article are concepts from the community that followed the reports (more of those below), but an alleged spy shot of a MacBook unibody cutout showed an area for the new OLED not unlike the concepts.
Touch ID |
Several reports now have hinted at Touch ID functionality arriving with the new MacBook Pro, presumably to allow for, at the very least, unlocking with a user’s fingerprint like available on iOS devices. It’s not clear exactly how or if the Touch ID feature will be integrated into the OLED screen, which is said to include touchscreen functionality and contextually sensitive buttons for not only the function keys but other system features. And Apple just unveiled Apple Pay for the web during its unveiling of iOS 10 and macOS Sierra, a feature that allows Apple Pay checkout on Macs using an iPhone’s Touch ID sensor or Apple Watch for authentication. With a Touch ID sensor built into a MacBook Pro, Apple could easily allow that functionality without an iPhone and have it ready to highlight when macOS Sierra launches this fall.
It looks like it won’t be all about the new OLED function key row. The next MacBook Pro is rumored to make the switch to USB-C like Apple did first with the 12-inch MacBook. First supply chain analysts at KGI Securities spotted evidence of the move to USB-C for the upcoming MacBook Pros, and not long after that photo allegedly showing a unibody cutout for the device appeared to have space allocated for up to four USB-C ports.
Whether or not Apple includes additional I/O or goes with USB-C only remains to be seen, but the additional ports could calm some of the complaints that Apple experienced with the sole USB-C port on the 12-inch MacBook. Accessory support for USB-C is another question entirely.
Release Date & More |
A report from typically accurate supply chain sources previously claimed the new MacBook Pros with OLED function keys are scheduled to arrive by the end of the year. That certainly wouldn’t be a stretch given the fact that MacBook Pros have now passed the one year mark since receiving an upgrade, and considering the 2016 MacBook has pushed things forward quite a bit with USB-C and design.
Many of the leaks have pointed to a thinner design for the next MacBook Pro, but it will be interesting to see where that leaves the Air line in relation to the 12-inch MacBook if Apple significantly slims down the Pro line while adding USB-C. We’re also expecting to see the usual upgraded internals including spec bumps for processors, graphics, storage, etc, and it’s possible Apple could give the new Pro line the silver, space gray, and rose/gold color options like the 12-inch MacBook.
Concepts | Opinion |
We finish off with some concepts from the community (many of which were pictured throughout), and our own thoughts on the expected upgrade.