There’s a long list of head-scratching decisions surrounding the otherwise-excellent new MacBook Pro. One of the strangest is the processor decision. After waiting five years to give us a new Pro, why couldn’t Apple wait a couple more months to get the newest and best processor that Intel has to offer?

We won’t ever have a full answer to that, but very shortly, we will know what we’re missing out on. Reports have suggested that Intel’s much-awaited Kaby Lake laptop processors are set to land at the Consumer Electronics Show this year.

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A report from Digitimes, an outlet that tends to be reliable with supply-chain rumors, has the high-performance laptop Kaby Lake chips arriving in computers at CES. Manufacturers like Asus, Gigabyte, MSI and Lenovo are reportedly planning on using the chips in higher-performance ultrabooks and gaming laptops to be unveiled at the show.

Kaby Lake processors promise marginally better performance for all-around use and slightly better battery life, but much better efficiency and power at specialized applications. Intel tends to make significant improvements in its processors year-on-year, so any laptop running a Kaby Lake chip will have an advantage right out of the blocks over a Skylake-powered computer (cough, MacBook Pro).

Even worse for Apple, Nvidia’s laptop-sized 1050 GPU is expected to debut in laptops alongside the new Kaby Lake processors. A good discrete GPU will make a laptop much faster at graphics-intensive processes like games, but also image processing or modelling. The 13-inch MacBook Pro is stuck with a Skylake chip and no discrete GPU, which competitively-priced (if slightly heavier) Windows laptops will be packing a brand-new processor and graphics card.

That’s going to make life difficult for Apple and the new 13-inch Pro, which is already being branded as a “Pro” laptop that doesn’t live up to the name. Unfortunately, given how long it took Apple to add a small touchscreen and remove a bunch of ports, I wouldn’t expect it to incorporate a GPU into the 13-inch Pro for quite a while.

Chris Mills has loved tinkering with technology ever since he worked out how to defeat the parental controls on his parents' internet. He's blogged his way through Apple events and SpaceX launches ever since, and still keeps a bizarre fondness for the Palm Pre.