Apple appears set to include an OLED touch bar display in a refreshed design of its MacBook Pro range by the end of the year. According to a new report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the new MacBook Pro (MBPr) devices will also receive Touch ID support, and a thinner and lighter form factor.
The new OLED touch bar will run along the top of the MacBook Pro keyboard, replacing the traditional function keys. In addition to the OLED bar and Touch ID, the new notebooks will also feature USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 support – possibly allowing the new MacBook Pro to be thinner. Apple has typically given the MacBook Pro evolutionary upgrades for years, but Kuo says this refresh due in 4Q16 will be "most significant upgrade ever undertaken by Apple".
The updated MBPr line will be taking design cues from the MacBook. Notably, its metal injection mold-made hinges and butterfly-mechanism keyboards. Customers will retain the option of choosing between a 13-or-15-inch display, with Apple pricing the MBPr as the company's premium notebook option. The MacBook Air will be positioned as the company's low cost notebook range, and the MacBook targeting the middle of the market.
If the refresh does come in the last quarter of this year as the report states, it will mark one of the longest gaps between upgrades for the MacBook Pro in its history. Having not been updated since May last year, the MBPr was once again glossed over when both the MacBook and MacBook Air devices received a performance boost last month.
Apple's next major event is WWDC starting June 13, however in recent years it has focused solely on software.