It’s been a while since Apple unveiled a new MacBook Pro. In fact, we haven’t seen an update to the company’s high-end laptop line since May 2015, when the Force Touch-equipped 15in model appeared.
Basically, it’s high time Tim Cook and friends coughed up new 13in and 15in MacBook Pros – and a few choice leaks and rumours are already shaping our thoughts on what form these might take.
Read on and we’ll give you the lowdown on everything we know, and everything we think we know, about the 2016 range of MacBook Pros. And make sure to check back regularly, as we'll be updating this article as new leaks and rumours emerge.
Thinner, lighter and OLED-ier
A Bloomberg News report claims that the new MacBook Pro models will have a smaller footprint than their current counterparts, while often-reliable tech industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes the new models will offer a dramatic overhaul of the current design, starting off with a thinner and lighter build.
At the end of May, Cult of Mac obtained images that purportedly showed the new MacBook’s chassis. Notice that there are no function keys at the top of the keyboard? That’s apparently because they will be replaced by a long, narrow OLED touchpad.
This colour touchpad would allow the user to customise the function keys, as well as display helpful information, like the current song you’re playing on Spotify, or the temperature outside; it may also provide functions traditionally provided by keyboard shortcuts, such as cut and paste controls if you’re currently using a word processor. If it’s really happening, this touch panel could well end up being the big USP that Apple uses to push its new laptops.
The spy shots also show the side of the chassis, suggesting there’ll be four USB-C ports (two on each side). That’ll be much easier to live with than the single USB-C port on the recently-released MacBook. The only other connection on the device appears to be a headphone jack.
Above is a concept of how the OLED bar might look, courtesy of designer Martin Hajek. He has many more excellent renders at his site, which are well worth checking out.
The other big design addition looks set to be a power button incorporating a Touch ID fingerprint scanner – something that both Bloomberg and 9to5Mac’s sources say is definitely happening. Fingerprint scanners are nothing new on laptops, so this seems like a logical design decision for Apple to make in order to enhance security and allow users to authenticate purchases made using Apple Pay.
As for looks, there have been suggestions that new colour options may be offered, with grey, gold and silver being the choices.
Being that the MacBook Pro is Apple’s “high performance” laptop, we’d expect an upgrade in processor, RAM, storage and graphics. But there aren’t many rumours from the supply chain as to what form any of these might take.
Bloomberg claims one higher-end option in the range will feature a new AMD Polaris GPU, which offers high efficiency in a low-profile format – perfect for a thin laptop.
When is it out?
According to Bloomberg News, while Apple is already said to be in the “advanced testing” phase of these new machines, we shouldn't expect to see them unveiled at September’s iPhone 7 launch event; Apple will instead launch its MacBook Pros later, in the fourth quarter of 2016. December is too late in the year to launch a new product, so if we had to guess, this will happen in October or November.
Apple may launch a new 12in MacBook model alongside these, too; the plan, apparently, is for this to be the new mid-level Apple notebook offering, with the MacBook Air becoming the entry-level option and the MacBook Pro the high-end choice.
Apple doesn’t always feel the need to hold a special event for product updates – they are often simply announced by a press release – but if the company believes there are important new features that would benefit from a big glitzy reveal, it may well invite the press to a live unveiling.