It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Apple roll out a revamped and next-gen MacBook Pro. In fact, the entirety of Apple’s Mac lineup has been in dire need of a meaningful refresh for an embarrassingly long time.
Thankfully, we won’t have to endure Apple’s stale and stagnant Mac lineup for much longer. Earlier this week, Apple sent out invitations for a special media event set to take place on October 27. Apple, in typical fashion, hasn’t told us what’s on the agenda but it’s no secret that the event will focus primarily on new Macs. It’s also no secret that the star of the show will be a completely retooled MacBook Pro with a number of snazzy new bells and whistles.
If you’ve been in the market for a new Mac, you certainly won’t want to miss next week’s event. And to get you primed for what will hopefully be some compelling new products, we’ve put together a list highlighting everything we know about Apple’s upcoming MacBook Pro.
First things first, the killer feature on Apple’s 2016 MacBook Pro will reportedly be the addition of an OLED display panel located towards the top of the keyboard. Rather than expanding the existing keyboard, it’s believed that the OLED panel will be located where the function keys typically reside.
This past May, photos purporting to be from Apple’s new MacBook Pro leaked online and, surprise surprise, note the empty space where the function row keys usually are.
As to the inherent advantages of such a design, an OLED display on the keyboard would allow the keys to dynamically change to more appropriately fit whatever app you happen to be using.
As an illustrative example, designer Martin Hajek earlier this year produced a number of tantalizing concept images which showcase how the feature might operate.
The images below, for example, show what the OLED display might look like with Spotify running.
These are just concepts, remember, but the possibilities of an OLED display offering up app-specific shortcuts is certainly compelling. All the more intriguing are reports that users will have the ability to customize app-specific shortcuts to their liking. Late this August, the French site Consomac unearthed code from Apple’s Pages app which strongly hints that the shortcuts on the OLED display — which Apple internally calls the Dynamic Function Row — can be tweaked by users. Imagine, for example, selecting a block of text and with the tap of a button instantly formatting it to your liking without having to go sifting through a maze of menus.
We would imagine that Apple will have more appealing examples to show us come next Thursday.
Another intriguing detail about Apple’s forthcoming MacBook Pro models is that they will have Touch ID integrated into the keyboard itself. This should be particularly useful given that users running Mac OS Sierra can now take advantage of Apple Pay on the web.
As for other details, Apple’s new MacBook Pro will reportedly be a little bit thinner than its predecessor, will feature a larger trackpad, and will include a keyboard based on the butterfly mechanism Apple first introduced us to with the 12-inch MacBook. If this particular rumor pans out, expect the keys on the new MacBook Pro to have a slightly larger surface area.
Apple touts the benefits of its butterfly mechanism thusly:
Traditional keyboards use a scissor mechanism, which tends to wobble around the edges. This creates a lack of precision when you strike anywhere except the center of the key. We needed to reduce key wobbling for a keyboard this thin; otherwise, striking a key off-center could result in the keycap hitting bottom before a keystroke registers. So we designed a unique butterfly mechanism, which is wider than the scissor mechanism and has a single assembly made from a stiffer material — allowing for a more stable, responsive key that takes up less vertical space. This innovative design improves stability, uniformity, and control — no matter where you press on the key.
Additionally, don’t be surprised if the trackpad on the new MacBook Pro is completely stationary a’la Apple’s current 12-inch MacBook.
As far as ports are concerned, consumers can likely kiss the beloved MagSafe adapter and traditional USB ports goodbye and instead say hello to new USB-C and Thuderbolt 3 ports. While Apple may very well just include one USB-C port, one would imagine that Apple would outfit its Pro notebook with more than just USB-C port.
With respect to internals, we can naturally expect to see some great speed and graphics improvements. Specifically, the new MacBook Pros will reportedly house Intel Skylake processors which should make the machines much more power efficient, a welcome perk on a Pro device that will likely be used as a workhorse by many. On the graphics front, don’t be surprised to see a GPU which takes advantage of AMD’s Polaris architecture.
Size wise, Apple will reportedly release two MacBook Pro models, one in a 13-inch form factor and another in a 15-inch form factor.
While there was some concern that Apple might do away with the headphone jack on its new MacBook Pros, the leaked chasis below should help alleviate any concerns in that regard.
Last and not least, expect to see Apple’s revamped MacBook Pro hit store shelves in 2016, presumably before the busy holiday shopping season kicks off. One rumor