Trade Resources Industry Views Apple Macbook Pro 2016: Release Date, News, Rumours, Specs and Price

Apple Macbook Pro 2016: Release Date, News, Rumours, Specs and Price

Apple MacBook Pro 2016 release date, news, rumours, specs and price – everything you need to know

Update (26 October 2016): With just a day to go until the expected MacBook Pro 2016 launch, new images of an OLED touch bar have been leaked.

MacBook Pro 2016 FAQ

When will the MacBook Pro 2016 be released? October 27, 2016 (probably)

How much will the MacBook Pro 2016 cost? Prices ranging from £1,000 to £2,000, if the current MacBook Pro family is any indication

What's new about the MacBook Pro 2016? Rumours point to the new MacBook Pro being thinner and lighter than ever, apeing the new 12-inch MacBook in its design. It could also have Touch ID fingerprint scanning support and a new OLED 'Touch Bar' in place of the function keys.

MacBook Pro 2016: News and rumours in brief

Sometimes right, sometimes wrong Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities believes that the new MacBook Pro – both in its 13-inch and 15-inch guises -–will sport an all-new design, with a "thinner and lighter" build that takes cues from the 2015 (and 2016) MacBook. The refreshed look will allegedly incorporate metal injection moulded hinges.

The MacBook influence should be seen in the new MacBook Pro's adoption of the USB Type-C port as well, and Thunderbolt 3 support is highly likely to be provided. Kuo further claims that the new MacBook Pro will be the first OS X device to feature Apple's Touch ID technology.

Intriguingly, Kuo also believes that the 2016 MacBook Pro will scrap the usual function keys along the top of the keyboard. In their place will be an OLED 'Touch Bar'.

These rumours have (mostly) been backed up by subsequent reports, including one from noted Apple fancier Mark Gurman in Bloomberg, who says that the new MacBook Pro is currently in "advanced testing".

Even Apple CEO Tim Cook has chimed in post-iPhone 7 launch, encouraging observers to "stay tuned" for official news from the Mac space.

MacBook Pro 2016 Release Date UK & US: When will the new MacBook Pro launch?

Good news: Apple has confirmed a press event for October 27, and while it hasn’t confirmed that a new MacBook will be unveiled, we’d say there’s a very good chance we’ll see new Apple notebooks. But does anything else support this theory?

Well, the aforementioned report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims that the new MacBook Pro will launch later this year, in Q4. From this nugget of information we would make an educated guess that the 2016 MacBook Pro will be unveiled some time in October.

Unlike with its iPhones and iPads, there's no easily discernible pattern to Apple's previous MacBook Pro launches, particularly when it's opted to launch early in the year. This is because there tend to be a lot of minor spec upgrades and relatively few wholesale redesigns with Apple's laptops, and these can roll out at any time.

However, whenever Apple has launched a significant revision to the MacBook Pro, it almost always occurs in October.

The last time this occurred was on October 23 2013, when Apple brought Intel's Haswell CPU and Iris GPU, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Thunderbolt 2, and PCIe-based flash storage to the package. We've also seen such revisions on October 22 2012, October 24 2011, October 14 2008, and October 24 2006.

In other words, October now seems like the best bet for a new 2016 MacBook Pro to be revealed. Earlier reports indicating that Apple would introduce it at its September event have proved false – as have the wild rumours suggesting it would come as soon as WWDC.

MacBook Pro 2016 Features: What's new about the MacBook Pro 2016?

Apple's MacBook Pro range has more or less retained the same basic design since June 2012, when it introduced the first Retina model with a significantly thinner body. Yes, the current MacBook Pro design is essentially four years old.

That's why the most noteworthy feature of the 2016 MacBook Pro will probably be how it looks. As we've noted in the news and rumour section, we're expecting Apple to apply some of the lessons learned with the 2015 MacBook to produce a significantly slimmer and lighter laptop.

This will probably incorporate the custom battery technology Apple developed for the 12-inch MacBook, which enabled it to precisely fill the contours of the case. It'll still have to be a little thicker, we would have thought - more power tends to result in more cooling.

In terms of new hardware features, we're expecting Apple to finally bring its Touch ID technology to OS X – or rather, macOS Sierra as it's now known.

Touch ID is the brand name for Apple's fingerprint sensor system, which debuted on the iPhone 5S in 2013. In bringing it to the MacBook Pro range, Apple would be opening the way to similar biometric authentication for machine and app access (which should appeal to business users in particular), as well as payments on Apple's desktop OS.

We're also expecting the MacBook Pro 2016 to come with a USB Type-C port or two. Or maybe even four.

Apple's adoption of USB Type-C on the MacBook has had its advantages and its disadvantages. On the one hand, you get a compact, reversible, and speedy all-in-one port for power and data transfer purposes. This enabled the 12-inch MacBook to be ridiculously slim.

On the other hand, Apple's use of USB-C resulted in the loss of its brilliant MagSafe charger standard, which must have saved millions of pounds in damages over the years. But the most problematic factor is that there is only one USB-C port on the MacBook, necessitating an unwieldy web of adaptors should you wish to plug in several devices whilst charging.

That latter point shouldn't be a problem with the MacBook Pro, which is traditionally well served for ports. In addition to USB-C, reports suggest there'll be Thunderbolt 3 support running through the same USB-C port. It remains to be seen what else there'll be in terms of USB and HDMI, but given that USB Type-C is all about reducing size for Apple, we wouldn't hold out breath for either.

One alleged image from the Apple production line appears to show a MacBook shell with two USB-C ports on either side of the machine, and no other physical connection to speak of (aside from a 3.5mm headphone jack).

But the most exciting feature of the MacBook Pro 2016 could be the OLED 'touch bar' that's rumoured to be replacing the physical function keys. No explanation is provided in the related report, but presumably this feature will provide similar media and settings shortcuts to the outgoing buttons, but in a more flexible, even smartphone-like manner – for example, this screen could adjust its function depending on the app you're running.

In the past, we've seen the above well-executed concept render depicting what the new MacBook's OLED touch bar could look like. Pretty cool, we'd say.

The good news is that Apple has already leaked the new OLED touch bar via the macOS Sierra 10.12.1 release in October. Images hidden in the software were spotted by tech blog MacRumors, and subsequently posted online.

The images depict an OLED touch panel on top of the keyboard, replacing the function keys. And, as expected, the touch bar supports Touch ID, which can be used with Apple Pay to purchase goods online.

Also likely is that Apple will bring across its new butterfly keyboard mechanism from the MacBook, which provides a more rigid typing experience with less travel. It's another space-saving measure that has proved a little divisive since its introduction. We're certain to see a Force Touch trackpad, as that was incorporated into the last MacBook Pro refresh.

There’s also a chance that Apple might introduce a customisable keyboard, at least according to a tipster from China.

On October 12, a Reddit user posted seemingly intimate details about a new keyboard design that may be rolled out on future MacBook laptops. The poster, named only as ‘Foxconn insider’, claimed that chief Apple supplier Foxconn showed off secret Apple designs at the Tsinghua University campus in China, where he supposedly works.

According to the user, Taiwanese manufacturing giant Foxconn hosted a demo day on the campus, where an Australian start-up called Sonder was present. Sonder hit the headlines last year after revealing a smart keyboard module that feature a backlit e-ink display that allowed for shortcut- and language-swapping.

The users claimed that an executive from Foxconn said Apple’s Procurement Board Office “was closing an acquisition” for Sonder, a company that Foxconn itself has invested in. He also claims that he saw DFT (design for testing) versions of the new MacBook keyboard module, as well as Apple’s 2018 E Ink Magic Keyboard.

The moderators of the /r/Apple subreddit have verified the identity of the Reddit user, but obviously weren’t able to confirm that the information provided in his post that relates to Apple was accurate. However, a Sonder spokesperson did confirm to TrustedReviews that the company recently attended Foxconn’s Innoconnn demo day, and that Sonder is currently closing procurement contracts with three third-party laptop companies “to integrate our technology into their products”.

On the matter of Apple, the spokesperson added:

“Sonder has been in discussions with Apple’s procurement board regarding Sonder’s laptop module. Foxconn International Holdings and E Ink Holdings – both strategic partners of Sonder Design Pty. Ltd. are assisting with the above discussions."

We've asked Apple for comment on this again, and we've also asked Foxconn for confirmation of Sonder's claims.

In any case, Sonder’s technology does sound very interesting. Here’s a quick demonstration of the technology:

“The Sonder keyboard is performance and design, right at your fingertips,” reads a description the Sonder website. “We meticulously designed and engineered the Sonder keyboard, from the inside out. The final product is an advanced, elegant keyboard with transparent keys and a bespoke display that’s as much a work of art as it is state of the art.”

Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that the Apple MacBook or Magic Keyboard will ever feature the technology. For a start, we don’t know whether Apple really plans to invest in the company, and even if it does, that doesn’t mean we’ll ever see the designs debuted in genuine Apple products. Take this report with a healthy degree of scepticism.

Another trick Apple will almost certainly bring across from the MacBook is its improved display technology. The 2015 MacBook's screen is brighter than previous models, whilst also being more energy-efficient.

As for the matter of what will be powering the new MacBook Pro, we're expecting to see Intel's latest Kaby Lake processors under the hood. While these have only just been revealed themselves, it would be extremely odd if such a significant hardware refresh didn't feature the most bleeding edge architecture.

Should I wait for the 2016 MacBook Pro?

In a word, yes.

Apple's high-end laptops have been the best in the business for years now, both in terms of design and usability, and with such a major revision expected so soon, it would be foolhardy to shell out on a current-gen MacBook Pro at this point in time.

Even if you don't think you'll be able to quite stretch to the new 2016 MacBook Pro, the current crop of MacBook Pro laptops (last upgraded ion 2015) will see a significant price drop once they've been supplanted, so it's really a win-win situation.

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