MacBook Pro 2016: Leaks and rumours for Apple’s new laptop – 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 it come out?

Many are confident the laptop will arrive by the end of this year, MacWorld reports, but predicting exactly when we’ll see the new MacBook Pro has been difficult as there have been several no-shows.

Prior to Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June, it seemed certain it would emerge alongside key announcements such as the introduction of iOS 10. However, no hardware was launched.

Apple’s next big event – which should be announced any day now – will be for the reveal of the iPhone 7. Bloomberg has that down in its diary as 7 September, although it says a MacBook Pro debut alongside the next smartphone looks very unlikely and that fans will have to wait for the hype to die down before getting solid information.

This doesn’t leave a lot of time, but the laptop is still expected to be with us by Christmas, with either its own launch event or a quiet entrance in the manner of the 12ins MacBook debut earlier this year. 

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