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MacBooks unlike anything Apple has ever made are coming soon

Published Mar 12th, 2020 6:50AM EDT
MacBook Pro 2020
Image: Apple Inc.
  • Apple is expected to update its MacBook Pro and MacBook Air lines this year, with noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claiming that several notable upgrades are on the way.
  • New MacBook Pro and Air models featuring Magic Keyboards like the 16-inch MacBook Pro are due in the second quarter of the year.
  • An ARM-based MacBook is expected to launch in the second half of the year, with Apple supposedly eyeing a major MacBook redesign for 2021.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

The coronavirus outbreak may have significantly altered Apple’s new product launch plans for the first half of the year. However, the iPhone maker is still expected to quietly unveil several products in the coming weeks, some of which will soon hit stores. A recent series of rumors said that the iPhone 9 event is canceled, and the actual launch of the handset was postponed for summer or fall. But devices like the 2020 iPad Pro generation, new Apple TV, and new earphones might still be announced soon. On top of that, Apple is expected to refresh its MacBook line in the coming months, and here is where things get interesting. Apple is expected to update its MacBook Pro and Air lines, and an Apple insider with an accurate track record says the company will soon unveil laptops unlike anything made so far.

Well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo wrote in a note to investors seen by MacRumors that Apple will launch several new MacBook models in the coming months and next year unlike anything released so far.

Kuo said that Apple is going to release new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models in the second quarter of the year, both featuring Apple’s brand new scissor-switch Magic Keyboard that was introduced with the 16-inch MacBook Pro last year. The new keyboard replaces the butterfly keyboards that proved to be unreliable over the years, regardless of what Apple did to fix it. The keyboard first appeared on the now-discontinued 12-inch MacBook and then made its way into the Pro and Air laptops. Some users encountered issues with some of the keys, which became sticky or unresponsive. The keyboard issue got an unexpected nod at the Oscars during a Q&A session between Oscar winner Taika Waititi and the press, where the actor/director urged Apple to fix the keyboards. Apple already has a repair program in place for the affected devices, and future devices will likely feature the same Magic Keyboard as the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

What’s also exciting about Kuo’s note is that the same analyst said in a previous research note the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro will get a screen upgrade to 14-inch this year. That’s the same sort of update Apple put the 15-inch MacBook Pro through last year — the 15-inch was replaced with the 16-inch model, which is just as large as its predecessor. The new note makes no mention of the MacBook Pro size, but it makes sense to assume the screen upgrade is in the cards for the 13.3-inch model.

Kuo also said he expects the new MacBook Pro and Air to feature various cost optimizations, and noted that users will not notice any differences. Kuo did not reveal any price tags for any of these devices, but he hinted that the coronavirus outbreak should not impact Apple’s MacBook plans for 2020, as operations at suppliers should improve significantly in late March.

The analyst further detailed two other MacBook products supposed to launch later this year, and in 2021, both devices that Apple never made before.

The first one is the ARM MacBook that we’ve been talking about for a few years now. The Apple-made chips inside the iPhone and iPad would be capable of powering a device like the MacBook Pro and Air, although they would have to be customized for laptop usage. Also, macOS and macOS apps would have to be updated to run on the A-series chips. The ARM MacBook is supposed to launch in the fourth quarter of 2020 or in the first quarter of 2021, Kuo said, without revealing whether Apple is eyeing the Pro or Air lines for this ARM upgrade.

Finally, the analyst said that Apple is going to launch an all-new design for the MacBook in the second or third quarter of 2021. Apple last updated the MacBook Pro design in October 2016, with the 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro only featuring a few cosmetic changes. The MacBook Air, meanwhile, received its most important design update in years back in October 2018.

Kuo may be a reliable tipster when it comes to new Apple products, but these are just rumors until Apple confirms them. But the prospect of Apple launching brand new MacBook models must be exciting to anyone looking to upgrade to a new laptop.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.