Bloomberg: next-gen MacBook Pro with OLED touch strip “most significant update in 4 years”

By , Aug 10, 2016

macbook pro oled 1

Bloomberg threw its weight today behind rumors that a next-generation MacBook Pro would have Touch ID and an OLED touch strip with programmable shortcuts replacing the function key row, among other features first predicted by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Author Mark Gurman now writes for Bloomberg that the new MacBook Pros represent “the most significant upgrade” to the lineup in four years with the updated, thinner notebooks offering more powerful graphics processors “for expert users such as video gamers” and design features like a smaller footprint, thinner appearance, a bigger trackpad and more.

Gurman on an OLED touch strip:

The most significant addition to the new MacBook Pro is a secondary display above the keyboard that replaces the standard function key row. Instead of physical keys, a strip-like screen will present functions on an as-needed basis that fit the current task or application.

Apple’s goal with the dedicated function display is to simplify keyboard shortcuts traditionally used by experienced users. The panel will theoretically display media playback controls when iTunes is open, while it could display editing commands like cut and paste during word processing tasks, the people said. The display also allows Apple to add new buttons via software updates rather than through more expensive, slower hardware refreshes.

The notebooks have a smaller footprint and are slightly thinner than the current ones, but won’t have tapered design like the MacBook Air. The casing reportedly has shallower curves around the edges and the trackpad is slightly wider.

The report adds that Touch ID fingerprint verification will come standard on the new machines. As we previously reported, the fingerprint sensor could be integrated into the notebook’s Power button.

RELATED: why rumored OLED touch strip makes sense for MacBook Pro

“Like with iPhones, the new Pro laptops will encrypt fingerprint data so it can’t be removed from the devices,” adds the report.

On iPhones and iPads, fingerprint data is kept within the Secure Enclave, a dedicated cryptographic processor which Apple embedded into the main system-on-a-chip. The iPhone’s making chip cannot directly access any encrypted data from the Secure Enclave.

If Apple were to offer the same level of protection for fingerprint data on the new MacBook Pro, the machine might easily feature its own Secure Enclave. That, in turn, could suggest that the new machines might ditch Intel processors and run a custom Apple-designed chip like on the iPhone and iPad.

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Leaked MacBook Pro chassis “confirms” OLED toucher rumors.

Gurman claims fans will be able to buy a built-to-order model with a higher-performance Polaris graphics chip from AMD which offers the power efficiency and thinness necessary to fit inside the slimmer notebook, the person said.

Other rumored features of the upcoming MacBook Pro refresh include USB-C and Gray, Gold and Silver finishes. The upcoming machines have reportedly been in “advanced testing” within Apple since earlier this year and are not likely to debut at an iPhone event currently scheduled for September 7 (our guess: October).

MacBook Pro OLED concept top of post via 3D artist Martin Hajek.

Source: Bloomberg

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  • Chindavon

    Will be interesting to see the live demo on stage with this.

  • What about a decent GPU? RAM DDR5? Thunderbolt 3?

    It looks nice, but Apple needs to step into the game with a real pro Macbook.

    • Ara Rezaee

      1. There are no DDR5 rams out there, I assume you meant DDR4, if so I agree they should and most likely will upgrade the ram.
      2. Thunderbolt is not really useful so “to me” its not an issue
      and finally no laptop (Mac or Windows) will ever truly be a “pro” product

      • Sorry, typo.

        I believe that a Macbook Pro, much because of macOS, has a great potential for video editing, which relies a lot at GPU. Thunderbolt 3 is a no brainer at least for support eGPUs (Razer Core e.g.).
        There are a lot of great laptops that performs really pro, even for games. Apple is too much behind in this race.

    • I think Thunderbolt 3 is a no-brainer. The report makes no mention of the GPU on baseline models, but you’re basically expecting whatever integrated Intel graphics is included in a chipset architecture they choose to implement. It’s a good sign they’ll be allowing BTO machines with a souped up AMD GPU, methinks..

  • Cones1r

    Yes please!

  • Anonymous

    This is a step in the right direction. But I wish “each” key would be an LCD screen so I could use third party key boards.

    • Christopher Lim

      That’s already done, but there is a fault to that idea, in sunlight, the keys are not visible enough and having that many screens will take a significant toll on the battery as well as increase the thickness of the keys and therefore the device. The tech will also increase the device price. Check out the company Optimus to see their implementation.

      • Anonymous

        Gonna google them now. Yes, I can see how in sun light it would not work. However, that’s just one use case. Also, I would assume you could at lest turn of the lighting to the keys to save some battery life. I would still buy it, even if I had to give up some battery life in the processes.

  • Marcus

    I’m so excited for this! I plan on getting the next MacBook Pro and I really hope Apple comes through with this feature.