MacBook Pro (2016): What’s the story so far? –

Everyone thought Apple was going to update its MacBook Pro line at WWDC 2016, but it didn’t.

And now the world is expecting refreshed models to come out this autumn, especially because the MacBook and MacBook Air were updated in March. Keep in mind there are two sizes of MacBook Pro: a 13-inch model that was last updated in March 2015, and a 15-inch model that was last updated in May 2015. So, nobody can imagine Apple going two full years without rolling out MacBook Pro models with all new specs.

But what’s interesting is that the upcoming models won’t just simply have faster processors and thinner bodies, which we all pretty much expect, as they are rumoured to feature an OLED touch panel and a Touch ID sensor embedded in their keyboards, among other things. Here’s everything we know so far – and keep checking back, because we plan to update this piece with the latest details.

Ming-Chi Kuo, a trusted analyst at KGI Securities, said Apple plans to introduce redesigned 13-inch and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro models in the fourth quarter of 2016, which ends in September.

We don’t expect Apple’s current pricing for the MacBook Pro line to change. The cheapest, 13-inch model now costs £999, while the 15-inch model comes in two variants: a 2.2GHz £1,599 version, and a 2.5GHz £1,999 variant.

‘Thinner and lighter’

Both models are said to have a thinner and lighter form factors, and according to a report from China’s Commercial Times, they’ll feature the metal injection mold-made (MiM) hinges and the butterfly-mechanism keyboards that were introduced with the 12-inch MacBook.  Component photos allegedly for the upcoming 13-inch Retina Macbook Pro leaked in late May, revealing the thinner body of the device.

Cult of Macmacbook_pro_2016_case_sides

OLED touch panel

Kuo also said the 13-inch and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro models will feature the “most significant upgrade ever undertaken by Apple”, largely thanks to their new OLED display touch panel that replaces the row of physical function keys at the top of the keyboard. This panel might also be contextual, according to rumours, with virtual buttons that change based on apps currently in use, etc.

In the leaked component photos from May, we can see not only the thinner body of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, but also the missing cutouts for the row of function keyboards, therefore suggesting that a single OLED touch panel will indeed replace physical function keys.

Cult of Macmacbook_pro_2016_case_top

Touch ID sensor

Currently, the function key row houses a power button on the far-right, and in the upcoming MacBook Pro models, the Power button will likely maintain its position but will also incorporate a Touch ID sensor, allowing you to securely log-in with a simple finger press, according to Kuo.

USB Type-C

Rumours have long claimed Apple will bring USB Type-C to the MacBook Pro line, and wouldn’t you know it, the leaked component photos from May show four USB Type-C ports and one headphone jack on the sides of the device. Support for Thunderbolt 3 is expected to be included, too, Kuo has claimed, with the MagSafe gone. We can also see thin speaker grilles next to the keyboard in those leaked component photos.


There’s not much news on this spec at the moment, though we assume the new Macbook Pro models will sport displays with a 2304×1440-pixel resolution, the same resolution as the current 12-inch MacBook models. One rumour even claimed the 2016 models will be touchscreen.


The new MacBook Pro models will likely feature Skylake processors. These are the new, sixth generation chips by Intel, and they will bring significant performance improvements to the new MacBook Pro, resulting in a much faster machine with battery life gains to boot.

There’s also a series of new mobile Xeon E3 chips that could potentially be used in the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, but pricing constraints at the high end make the standard Core i7 Skylake chips more likely.


Both AMD and Nvidia might introduce new GPU products in 2016 – just in time for the 2016 MacBook Pro. AMD will have GPUs based on Global Foundries 14 nm FinFET processor node, while Nvidia’s GPUs will based on 16 nm FinFET Plus processor node. Both should bring gains in graphics performance either way. They are set to launch later this year, however, so it’s unclear if they’ll be ready for the 2016 MacBook Pro.

Apple Pencil trackpad

There’s only so many ways you can use Apple Pencil in its current form. Luckily for us, Apple has plenty more grand ideas for the gadget. The company has been granted a patent that allows Apple Pencil to work with the Magic Trackpad, which means you could use the stylus to draw on a Mac. In other words, if this functionality comes to fruition, Wacom’s days are numbered, as you’d no longer need tablet peripherals.

Apple applied for the patent in 2014. It describes other powerful features, too, including in-air gestures so that you can change between slides in Keynote or pages in Pages, for instance. You could even use Pencil as a joystick for games. Just keep in mind none of this may ever come to Apple Pencil, but it’s still cool to see what the Cupertino company is considering behind the scenes.

Also, this isn’t the only Apple Pencil patent we’ve seen granted recently. Another one detailed a stylus that uses swappable tips. These tips can be standard ones like a felt-tip pen, or they can be fancy ones such as a force-sensing bristle brush tip, motion-tracking camera, and a flashlight. Fingerprint recognition – similar to Touch ID – is further mentioned for authentication.

4G connectivity

Patently Apple published a patent filed by Apple that shows a MacBook with cellular capabilities, suggesting Apple want to introduce a 4G-enabled MacBook Pro. A 4G MacBook Pro would most probably be an optional hardware cost with a similar pricing structure as the iPads.

Designer Martin Hajek made the mockup at the top and the one below of a Retina MacBook Pro with an OLED touch panel.

Martin Hajekmacbooktouchpanelmain-800x601

Check out Apple’s MacBook Pro hub for the latest news.


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