Apple is preparing a big update to its MacBook Pro line of laptops. KGI Securities analyst Ming-chi Kuo first revealed that Apple is planning to replace the function keys on the MacBook Pro with an OLED touch bar, and now Bloomberg's Mark Gurman is confirming the initial reports. The new MacBook Pros are said to be slightly thinner than current models, with a slightly wider trackpad and an option for AMD Polaris graphics in at least one model.
Bloomberg says that Apple isn't planning to unveil the new MacBook Pros at an event on September 7th, where it's expected to launch a new iPhone and additional Apple Watch models. Apple is also expected to include USB Type-C on the new MacBook Pro, alongside a Touch ID fingerprint reader. "Apple has tested versions of the upcoming laptops that integrate the scanner beside the new function key display," explains Bloomberg's Gurman. Apple is also rumored to be considering gray, gold, and silver color options for the new MacBook Pro.
Mockup of the new MacBook Pro OLED touch strip by Martin Hajek
The most intriguing addition to the MacBook Pro is the secondary display above the keyboard. Designed to replace the function keys, Bloomberg reports that it will be a strip-like screen that shows functions on a task-by-task basis and will simplify keyboard shortcuts. The panel could show media controls when iTunes is open, or cut and paste commands when Microsoft Word is running.
Apple has been widely criticized for still selling a four-year-old MacBook Pro model without a Retina display. Mac fans have been waiting anxiously for a MacBook Pro refresh, and the current Retina MacBook Pro is more than 440 days into its cycle, despite refreshes usually appearing every 268 days on average in the past. Apple has not yet announced an official date for its iPhone event (rumored for September 7th), and it's possible the company could now refresh its MacBook Pro line without an onstage event.