Thinner MacBook Pros to have touchscreen function keys, TouchID, more

Apple logoApple hasn't updated its pro laptop lineup in well over a year, and rumors about refreshed models have been floating around for months. USB Type-C, an OLED touchscreen that replaces the row of function keys, and a thinner design are all expected at this point, and a new report from Bloomberg's well-sourced Mark Gurman reiterates all of those points while offering a couple of new details.

Past reports have suggested that the touchscreen function keys will allow Apple and app developers to offer keyboard shortcuts that change based on what you're doing or what app you're using, and the Bloomberg report offers no new details here. It does, however, say that Apple plans to bring its TouchID fingerprint sensors over to the Mac for the first time and that "Apple has tested versions of the upcoming laptops that integrate the scanner beside the new function key display." The upcoming macOS Sierra update already allows users to unlock their Macs with their Apple Watches, but a TouchID option would offer easy authentication that didn't require separate hardware.

Thinner MacBook Pros to have touchscreen function keys, TouchID, more

The report also says that the laptops will be thinner, include slightly larger trackpads, and have smaller footprints than the current MacBook Pros, though they won't switch to a tapered design like the ones used for the MacBook or MacBook Air. As expected, USB Type-C is also on tap, though it's still not clear whether those Type-C ports will also be Thunderbolt 3 ports. Finally, some models will allegedly offer a dedicated GPU option based on AMD's new Polaris architecture. Dedicated GPUs are usually confined to the larger 15-inch Pros, leaving other models to make do with Intel's integrated GPU offerings.

Gurman suggests that the laptops won't be unveiled at Apple's expected iPhone event, which rumors suggest will happen on September 7. Apple hasn't talked about Mac hardware onstage since it introduced the MacBook in March of 2015. That was also the last time the 13-inch Pro was refreshed. The 15-inch MacBook Pro was refreshed in May of 2015, but they included the same processors as the 2014 models. Neither design has been updated since the original Retina models were introduced in 2012.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Apple, notebooks

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