MacBook Pro 2016: Leaks suggest October release – The Week UK

While the anticipated arrival of the iPhone 7 looks set to take centre stage in Apple’s plans this year, a lot of fans will much happier to hear there are rumours that an all new MacBook Pro is also heading our way.

The tech giant is hotly tipped to introduce a new range-topping laptop by the fourth quarter of 2016 and in contrast to the iPhone 7 – which is expected to only introduce minor changes – it could be a game changer.

Here’s what’s been said so far: 

OLED touchbar

MacRumors pours over the most consistent rumour about the laptop – that it will boast a thinner but more functional design thanks to the addition of an OLED touch bar.

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, one of the most accurate Apple analysts, the next MacBook Pro will represent “the most significant upgrade ever taken by Apple”.

It’s been suggested that a touch-sensitive strip will be placed just above the keyboard, replacing the physical function keys altogether. By using a touchscreen, the laptop can change the buttons into controls specific to software and apps – for instance, the bar could be used to track downloads or act as a dedicated control for apps such as Spotify, seamlessly shifting between different programmes.

It seems like a pretty good bet, considering MacRumors has published photographs of what appears to be a MacBook chassis designed to hold the new component.

Thinner design

Apple’s current MacBook Pro line-up is noticeably fatter than the standard MacBook and MacBook Air so it’s no surprise to believe the next model will be thinner and lighter.

The same leaks by Ming-Chi Kuo imply the tech giant is readying metal-injection mould-made hinges and the shallow, butterfly-mechanism keyboard from the 12ins MacBook for use on its range-topper, strongly suggesting it will be much thinner.

There’s more, though, and much like the iPhone 7 set to ship this September, the MacBook Pro could drop ports in order to slim down.

This new iPhone is expected to arrive with no headphone jack and according to AppleInsider, the next MacBook Pro could go down a similar route with its USB ports.

The laptop may only come with the USB Type-C standard – the smaller USB slots used on the latest MacBook for data transfer and charging. 

Faster, with better battery life

The next laptop being speedier and more efficient is a given – all thanks to sixth generation Skylake processors, says TechRadar.

“The move to Skylake is likely to warrant massive speed improvements across the board in addition to more impressive battery lives”, says the site, adding the processors also sport support for wireless charging. However, it’s unlikely this is a feature that will arrive on the laptop.

Touch ID

Kuo has also shared information with 9to5Mac claiming the MacBook Pro will get Apple’s biometric scanning system.

Touch ID is already known to users of recent iPhones or iPads. It uses fingerprint scanning to add a new layer of security for potentially sensitive actions, such as payments.

Kuo says this year’s tablet will see Apple incorporate the technology into the power button, suggesting features such as Apple Pay could be heading the way of the MacBook line-up.

Stylus friendly trackpad                                                       

It’s also been speculated that Apple could introduce a stylus-friendly trackpad to the MacBook Pro following the discovery of patents detailing such a feature.

Alphr picks up the trail, suggesting that the introduction of the Apple Pencil last year alongside the new iPad Pro opens up the possibility of a MacBook Pro with a trackpad you can draw on.

The trackpad would be much larger than the one fitted to the current MacBook Pro range in order to make the new feature as useful as possible and given the laptop’s standing as a favourite with creatives and designers, says the site, it could be a game-changing feature.

When will Apple release it?

It’s expected that the next MacBook Pro will arrive at some point this year, although most rumours have painted a murky picture as to exactly when and there have been one or two no-shows.

It wasn’t at Apple’s last hardware reveal in March, when the company unveiled the iPhone SE, upgrades to the Apple Watch and a 9.7ins iPad Pro.

Similarly, the new laptop was a no-show at June’s Worldwide Developers Conference. Instead, Apple focussed solely on software, with big upcoming releases iOS 10 and WatchOS 3 as the headline acts.

Apple’s next big event is scheduled to take place on 7 September, when the company is expected to reveal its next smartphone – the iPhone 7 – and possibly more. While it’s possible the 2016 MacBook Pro could emerge, critics and insiders feel an Apple Watch 2 is more likely to be the support act.

The latest word on the MacBook Pro’s arrival comes from Bloomberg and suggests a reveal not too long after that of the iPhone 7.

According to people familiar with the matter, Apple will show off its next laptop in October and it will form part of an almost entirely refreshed Mac line-up.

Also expected are a new 5K standalone monitor made in collaboration with LG, plus iMacs with new graphics cards and a tweaked MacBook air with multi-functional USB-C port technology.

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