Bloomberg reports Apple is preparing to debut the first significant overhaul of the MacBook Pro lineup in over four years. Citing the ever popular “people familiar with the matter,” the publication says the new notebooks will be thinner, have a smaller footprint, include a touchscreen strip for function keys, and will offer more powerful graphics processors.
The new computers have been in advanced testing within Apple since earlier this year, said one of the people, who didn’t want to be identified discussing products before their release. The MacBook Pros aren’t likely to debut at an event currently scheduled for Sept. 7 to introduce next-generation versions of the iPhone, according to one of the people. Apple spokesman Bill Evans declined to comment.
The report repeats a claim from earlier this week, that the new MacBook Pro will offer an OLED touchscreen strip above the physical keyboard, which will replace the usual row of function keys. The strip-like screen will display information and functions on an as needed basis that fits the current task or application. The idea behind the new OLED touchscreen is to simplify the keyboard shortcuts used by experienced users.
The panel will theoretically display media playback controls when iTunes is open, while it could display editing commands like cut and paste during word processing tasks, the people said. The display also allows Apple to add new buttons via software updates rather than through more expensive, slower hardware refreshes.
The report says their sources say the new MacBook pros will be slightly thinner than the current models, but won’t be tapered like the current MacBook Air and 12-inch MacBook models. The smaller footprint notebook will feature casing with shallower curves around the edges. The computer’s trackpad will also be slightly wider.
Apple is also said to be offering a higher-perfomance graphics chip from Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. in place of the current offering’s Intel GPUs. Bloomberg’s sources tell them Apple will use one of AMD’s “Polaris” graphics chips, as it offers better power efficiency, and thinness required to fit inside the slimmer MacBook Pro.
The new design will also offer USB-C connectivity, which can handle charging, and data and display connectivity via a single port. The new notebook will also boast a Touch ID fingerprint scanner to offer one-touch login. The new laptops will encrypt fingerprint data, just like the iPhone, so it the information can’t be stolen from the device. Apple is also said to be considering whether to offer the notebooks in gray, gold, and silver, although it isn’t certain what color will be offered when it first debuts.
As always, none of this information is set in stone, and we won’t be completely sure of what Apple is planning until they announce new models of the MacBook Pro lineup. We’ll keep you posted.