MacBook Pro 2016: Where the Heck Is It?
Many moons have passed since the last update.
All rumors point to the end of October as the magic moment for product announcements from Apple about the newest Macs. It's about time. In fact, it's been 17½ months since the last MacBook Pro update.
In part, Apple watchers base their October prediction—specifically, October 27—on the fact that Apple moved its quarterly earnings call up two days from that day to October 25. They say that the company will use the original date of October 27 for a MacBook unveiling. Historically, Apple has moved an earnings announcement only once before—in that instance following the death of legendary Silicon Valley adviser Bill Campbell.
Exhibit B is a September 9 email response from Apple CEO Tim Cook to a MacRumors reader's inquiry about the MacBook Pro. "I love the Mac and we are very committed to it," Cook wrote in his reply. "Stay tuned." Lots of MacRumors readers have sent similar email messages over the past months. But Cook chose to answer this one, suggesting that something's coming down the pike soon.
Patience, Young Skywalker
If you've been champing at the bit for a new Mac, an update announcement can't come soon enough. You waited patiently for a kind word about Macs from Cook at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June. Then you watched for some small token in September at the iPhone 7 event. The Mac never came up on either occasion.
Meanwhile, Mac sales have slipped, in a worldwide environment in which PC sales have risen. In other words, it's not a market thing—it's a Mac thing. Potential buyers are holding off buying the year-and-a-half-old model in hopes of getting a new model. And with good reason: Rumors point to some cool updates.
Apple is rumored to be switching to Skylake, the sixth-generation Intel Core chip. This will be a nice jump from the Haswell processor that the current 15-inch model uses, promising faster processing, more-efficient energy consumption, and improved native graphics performance. Apple might even jump to the seventh-generation chip, Kaby Lake, but this is unlikely, as the company isn't known for using the latest chips.
It seems almost certain that a touch OLED display will replace the row of function keys on new Macs. The Cult of Mac site released leaked photos in May showing what is purportedly a prototype keyboard of the new Mac. The picture below from Cult of Mac shows a space at the top of the keyboard where the function keys would normally be.
A side view of the leaked photos suggests that the new model will have four USB-C ports—two on each side. USB-C will be a welcome addition as it's faster than USB 3.0.
Apple famously dropped its headphone jack from the iPhone 7. Does that mean that the jack will be gone from the new Macs, too? Opinions differ—but to judge from the leaked photos, the port seems likely to remain. From a recent survey it sounds as though Apple is still trying to figure out how important the headphone jack is. One question the survey asked respondents was: "Do you ever use the headphone port on your MacBook Pro with Retina Display?"
Metal injection molding (MIM) hinges may adorn the new Macs. This new design feature, which combines powdered metallurgy with plastic injection molding, yields hinges that are thinner yet still sturdy.
Rumors say that the new Macs will come in more colors, much like the 12-inch MacBook, which includes Rose Gold as an option.