Apple is set to completely refresh its MacBook lineup in 2016 according to a well-placed analyst who says Apple’s MacBook Pros will be made thinner and lighter with an OLED panel sitting above the keyboard to support the company’s fingerprint sensor technology, Touch ID.
The information comes from a new research note published by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who has deep links within Apple’s Chinese supply chain and a strong record of predicting what the company will do next. The information has been backed up by sources speaking to 9to5Mac.
The dramatically overhauled MacBook Pro will come in 13-inch and 15-inch models, while Apple will also introduce a new 13-inch MacBook, which will be very similar in terms of design and features to the company’s current 12-inch MacBook. Apple is set to continue to sell its hugely popular MacBook Air as the entry level laptop in its range.
While some reports suggested Apple would introduce the new MacBooks at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) next month, Kuo says the new laptops won’t be introduced until the final quarter of the year.
The most intriguing aspect of the new MacBook Pros appears to be the OLED panel which will sit above the keyboard and replace the row of physical function keys. The touch-sensitive panel will allow Apple to introduce its fingerprint recognition technology on its laptops for the first time according to Kuo.
Earlier this year it had been reported that Apple was working on a system using the Touch ID on iPhones and iPads to allow MacBook users to unlock their devices, but it appears the company is also going to integrate the feature directly into its computing hardware.
The thinner and lighter MacBook Pro designs will be facilitated by a new technique to create metal injection molded hinges, according to the research note. The new laptops will also support both USB-C and Thunderbolt 3.
Apple will unveil the latest version of its Mac OS X desktop operating system next month and it is widely tipped to include support for the company’s voice activated digital assistant Siri.