While the bulk of Apple’s laptop updates in recent years have been relatively incremental in nature, Tim Cook and co. have plans to really shake things up in 2016. According to a new research report from reputed analyst Mink Chi-Kuo, Apple later this year is planning to release what may prove to be its biggest MacBook Pro update in history.
According to Kuo’s latest note to investors, originally published via MacRumors, Apple later this year plans to introduce a completely revamped MacBook Pro outfitted with a Touch ID sensor along with an OLED display panel located above the keyboard. The OLED display will purportedly be implemented as a replacement for the traditional function keys.
Without question, it will be interesting to see how and where Apple implements Touch ID on the new MacBook Pro, especially in light of rumors that the iPhone 7s may incorporate an edge to edge display with an embedded home button and Touch ID sensor.
As far as other notable features are concerned, Apple’s 2016 MacBook Pro is slated to feature a thinner and lighter design, hardly a surprise given what Apple managed to do with its MacBook Line. Taken together, Kuo — who we should point out has a stellar track record with respect to Apple rumors — articulates that Apple’s upcoming notebook refresh will mark the company’s “the most significant update ever.”
Kuo’s note reads in part:
While long overlooked, the MacBook line is the brightest spot for Apple’s 2016 rollouts. This is particularly true of the two new MacBook Pro models, to be introduced in 4Q16, as they will have a thinner and lighter form factor, Touch ID, use OLED display touch bar (to replace physical function keys, located above the keyboard) and adopt USB- C / Thunderbolt 3.
Coupled with Intel’s speedy and more energy-efficient Skylake processors, Apple’s notebook lineup will be particularly compelling this upcoming holiday season. Notably, the new MacBook Pros will likely feature the same type of ‘butterfly keyboard’ Apple originally introduced on its 2015 MacBook. This is particularly noteworthy because not everyone is fond of Apple’s new keyboard design.
With respect to screen size, Kuo doesn’t expect to see any major changes to the MacBook Pro . In other words, the revamped MacBook Pro models will likely come in the same 13-inch and 15-inch form factors available today.
But the MacBook Pro is just one part of Apple’s multi-pronged notebook strategy. Kuo adds that Apple later this year is also planning to introduce a new 13-inch MacBook that will effectively take the place of Apple’s current MacBook Air. In turn, the 11-inch MacBook Air will be positioned as an entry-level device with the MacBook and MacBook Pro serving as mid-level and premium notebook options, respectively.
While initial rumblings from the rumor mill suggested a comprehensive notebook refresh sometime in July, it now appears that we’ll have to wait until Q4 before Apple’s new notebook hit store shelves.