Get ready for a massive MacBook Pro update. Apple is planning to unveil new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro laptops with retina displays soon. According to a new report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple is building a completely new pro laptop with many new features, such as a Touch ID sensor and an OLED mini screen above the keyboard.
If you’ve been following MacBook Pro rumors, you know these rumors aren’t new. But Gurman is confirming what well-informed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo from KGI Securities and 9to5mac have already been saying: yes, the new MacBook Pro is going to be a big release.
Let’s start with the shape of the device. The new MacBook Pro should be thinner and lighter, but not wedge-shaped like the MacBook Air or 12-inch retina MacBook. The bezels around the display should be smaller, and the overall frame of the device should be smaller.
The fact that the new MacBook Pro won’t look like a MacBook Air is a good sign for those who rely a lot on the multitude of ports on the existing MacBook Pro — there will be more than one port. Apple could switch to USB Type-C ports to replace USB ports, the MagSafe port and even Thunderbolt ports as USB-C ports can support the Thunderbolt protocol. Maybe Apple will drop the HDMI port and SD card slot to save up on space, maybe not.
Under the hood, Apple will most probably use the Intel Skylake processors, giving a performance boost and improving energy consumption. You can expect better Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chips as well.
But the most significant addition will be a narrow OLED display right above the keyboard. It should replace the physical function keys with a touchscreen. This could be the most surprising element of this MacBook Pro as nobody knows exactly how Apple will use this strip. You could control basic laptop functions from this screen, such as volume and media buttons. But Apple could also take advantage of this screen to display shortcuts and information depending on the app you’re using.
Apple also plans to integrate a Touch ID sensor in your Mac. This would let you unlock your laptop without having to type your password. More importantly, the Touch ID sensor would ship with a secure enclave, making your Mac more secure than before. It would let app developers use Touch ID for other things — password managers could take advantage of Touch ID for example. And finally, it would make Apple Pay for macOS Sierra more secure.
Recently, many have pointed out that the MacBook Pro is embarrassingly outdated. The last major update was in June 2012, bringing a retina display and a thinner design to the MacBook Pro lineup.
But people tend to forget that the unibody MacBook Pro was introduced in 2008, also four years before the retina update. Apple doesn’t change its laptops very often, relying on internal component upgrades every now and then.
And yet, Skylake processors should have come sooner to the MacBook Pro. Gurman is saying that Apple won’t introduce the new MacBook Pro at the iPhone launch event that will likely happen on September 7. I could see Apple introducing the new laptop in October. It’s about time.