Apple’s MacBook Pro Will Come With All-New Features
Apple’s next line of high-end notebooks could come with some never-before-seen features.
Apple will launch new “thinner and lighter” MacBook Pros later this year that will add some important features, including support for the company’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo wrote to investors on Tuesday, according to Apple-tracking site 9to5Mac, which heard the same from its own sources. In addition, the MacBook Pro could deliver support for an OLED touch bar that would sit above the MacBook Pro’s keyboard, the analyst says.
The MacBook Pro is Apple’s top-of-the-line notebook model, delivering to customers 13- and 15-inch options. The 13-inch model starts at $1,299, while the 15-inch model comes in with a starting price of $1,999.
Apple (AAPL) has made a few design tweaks over the last several years. Yet for the most part, the MacBook Pro’s design has not meaningfully changed in the last several years. Indeed, the device comes with the familiar aluminum design, Retina display, and backlit keyboard. If Kuo and 9to5Mac’s sources are correct, the move would represent a long-awaited major change to the high-end notebook.
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The touch bar sitting above the keyboard will “replace the physical function keys” that are currently at the top of the computer’s keyboard, 9to5Mac and Kuo report. It’s unclear, however, how it will operate and for what it will be used. The company will also take some features from its MacBook, including adding USB-C support. With that port, users will likely be able to charge the device, as well as use it for data transfer. The computer might also come with new hinges.
Kuo, who is among the most accurate analysts when it comes to predicting what the notoriously secretive Apple has planned, said in his note that the new MacBook Pro will be the “brightest spot for Apple’s 2016 rollouts,” according to 9to5Mac.
In addition to rolling out some new MacBook Pros, Apple could also unveil a new, 13-inch MacBook, Kuo said. The move would effectively make the MacBook Air, Apple’s lightweight notebook, the cheapest of its offerings, followed by the MacBook. The MacBook Pro would lead the notebook line in terms of power and price.
The suggestion, however, that Apple could be planning an OLED touch bar comes amid a rash of rumors that the company is looking at the technology, known as organic light-emitting diode, for its 2017 iPhone. Indeed, several rumors out of Korea suggest that Apple has an OLED screen prepped for its 2017 model, making it the first iPhone to ever come with the screen technology. Another report on Monday said that Apple supplied Applied Materials (AMAT) will be one of its OLED suppliers, along with Samsung Display.
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OLED presents a wide range of benefits, including the ability to be curved and better color accuracy. However, it’s not as easy to produce as LCD, which has forced Apple, which sells tens of millions of iPhones every quarter, to stick with that technology until OLED is ready.
It appears—if the mounting rumors are true—that Apple is now ready for OLED.
According to Kuo, the next-generation MacBook Pros will be unveiled later this year. He expects the devices to go on sale in the fourth quarter.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.