The next time Apple has MacBook Pro news to share, it’ll be more than just a simple refresh. Sources have told Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman that Apple is planning several significant design tweaks for their high-priced laptops, but we’ll have to wait a while yet to know for sure — it’s unlikely that the MacBook Pro will share top billing with the iPhone 7 during Apple’s September 7 press conference.
The biggest change might annoy some MacBook Pro users as much as when Microsoft got rid of the start button in Windows 8. Those sources claim that Apple is planning to get rid of the top row of function keys altogether. Stalwarts may cringe, but Apple has something very interesting planned as a replacement — an OLED strip that will act as a small second display, which would be used to display commands and shortcuts contextually. For example, having Spotify open would display the progress bar and track skipping controls, while having a word processing program open would show basic editing tools. It’s a cool idea because it’s so open-ended — Apple could conceivably release an SDK allowing developers to create custom touch strip controls for their programs, and Apple themselves could keep the bar updated continuously.
Despite macOS Sierra allowing users to use the iPhone’s fingerprint scanner to authenticate Apple Pay payments on a laptop, Apple is also reportedly adding a Touch ID fingerprint scanner to the MacBook Pro itself. The new Pro will also have a USB Type-C charging port, although we’re not sure if they plan to have only the Type-C port and nothing else — because the Pro isn’t expected to be as thin or light as the MacBook, we suspect there will still be some regular-sized USB ports, at the very least.
Apple is also reportedly including discrete graphics in the new MacBook Pro, courtesy of AMD and their new Polaris line. We saw one of their new Polaris desktop graphics cards at Computex in June, but Polaris encompasses mobile GPUs, as well. They’re not going to be as powerful as Nvidia’s Pascal GPUs, but they’ll likely be lighter and more efficient, which is more suitable for the MacBook Pro — Apple might push gaming as an angle, but Mac OS is still not going to be known as a gaming platform.
Physically, they won’t be much different — the MacBook Pro will still have a boxy look, as opposed to the tapered MacBook and MacBook Air laptops. They’ll reportedly be thinner than previous generations of the MacBook Pro.
It’s possible we could see an announcement about the new MacBook Pro later this year, but odds are good that we’ll have to wait until Apple’s regular spring press conference.
Via Business Insider