It’s been awhile since Apple’s MacBook Pros had sizable makeovers, but that could change this year.
Apple (AAPL) will soon offer all-new MacBook Pros that will come both with a Touch ID sensor for fingerprint security support, as well as an organic light-emitted diode (OLED) “touchbar” that will sit above the device’s keyboard, Apple-tracking site 9to5Mac is reporting, citing a source who claims to have knowledge of the company’s plans. The OLED touch bar would be a display strip above the keyboard, which would provide users quick access to a wide variety of functions and notifications, depending on user preference.
The source didn’t say where the Touch ID would be located, but 9to5Mac suggests it could find a suitable home on the device’s power button.
Rumors have been swirling for months that Apple is planning to revamp its MacBook Pro, its top-of-the-line notebook family. While the company itself has remained silent on its plans, earlier this year, two separate reports cited sources claiming an OLED-based touch bar would indeed be coming to the new MacBook Pro. One of those reports came from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has been spot-on with Apple rumors in the past.
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Adding Touch ID wouldn’t be a major step forward for the MacBook Pro. Indeed, it would be a catch-up feature. Several Windows PC makers, including Lenovo and others, have long offered biometric security in their devices, allowing users to swipe their fingers over a biometric fingerprint reader rather than input a passcode. The feature has been a conspicuous omission from Apple’s notebooks for years, and Touch ID, a technology it currently uses in its iPhone and iPads, could address that issue.
However, Touch ID could be used for far more than unlocking a MacBook Pro. The feature could also be used to make purchases in the Mac App Store or verify a desktop-based purchase from online stores. Indeed, the Touch ID experience on the Mac could be strikingly similar to the one iPhone and iPad customers have.
The addition of a touch bar and Touch ID on a MacBook Pro would be one of the more notable improvements Apple has made to its high-end notebook line in years. The company’s MacBook Pro has largely featured the same, aluminum design with a black keyboard and small bezel around its display. In recent years, Apple has simply improved its internal components to add more power and help it keep pace with competitors.
Exactly when the new and improved MacBook Pro might launch is unknown. Earlier this year, Kuo said that the device would likely be available in the fourth quarter. The 9to5Mac report says the computer will launch this fall, though it didn’t say exactly when. It’s unknown whether the new features will also mean a price premium.
For more about Apple’s MacBook Pro, watch:
Given Apple’s notoriously secretive ways, it’s unlikely we’ll know for sure what it has planned until the Mac maker officially announces the computer.