18:43, 20 Oct 2016
Without a doubt, Apple’s annual September event is the company’s most anticipated of the year. That’s when Apple introduces new iPhones and (usually) new iPads. But Apple also occasionally has smaller events throughout the year and the company has recently announced that it’s next one is scheduled for October 27th. It recently sent out media invites to the event in which the invites read “Hello again”. The slogan is a throwback to the “Hello” tagline of the first Mac and the “Hello (again)” tagline of the original iMac. So it goes without saying that Apple’s October event is going to focus on its Mac product lineup. Here’s what to expect (and not) from the event.
All-new MacBook Pro (13in and 15in)
The star of the event is going to be the MacBook Pro–Apple’s high-end professional laptop. It’s been almost four years since the MacBook Pro saw a major design refresh and Apple’s got some major changes in store because of it. Perhaps the coolest feature of the new laptop will be the “Magic Toolbar”, an OLED touch panel above the keyboard that replaces the traditional row of physical F-keys.
The Magic Toolbar will offer dynamic digital buttons based on the app you are using. For example, when using video editor Final Cut Pro, the Magic Toolbar would display shortcut buttons related to the tools in that app, but when using the spreadsheet app Numbers, the Magic Toolbar would show buttons relevant to spreadsheet apps. The Magic Toolbar could also support haptic feedback, so you would feel a small vibration when you touched a digital key (much like the new home button on the iPhone 7).
The Magic Toolbar will also likely sport a Touch ID fingerprint sensor so users can log into their Mac with just the touch of their finger. This makes a lot of sense given Apple’s reverent focus on security–and that it’s brought features such as Apple Pay, which is much more secure and useful with Touch ID, to Safari on the Mac.
Besides the Magic Toolbar and Touch ID, expect the new MacBook Pro to be thinner and lighter, possibly come in iPhone-inspired colors (here’s hoping for a matte black) and feature a headphone jack and four USB-C ports. The MacBook Pro is expected to do away with all other ports. Additionally the MacBook Pro could have a larger trackpad. The question is, could it support the Apple Pencil?
Updated MacBook Air (13in)
The MacBook Air is also set to see an upgrade–though it’s nothing major. First, Apple is likely to kill off the 11in MacBook Air and make the 13in model the entry level Apple laptop. This new 13in model will keep the same display and form factor as the current one, but ditch all the ports except for the headphone jack and USB-C.
New External 5K Display
Apple could also introduce a new external display that has a 5K resolution of 5120 x 2880. What’s more, this display is said to have an integrated graphics card, which will both help power its 5K screen and also allow other Macs with lower graphics abilities to take advantage of the display since much of its graphics processing power will be handled by the display itself instead of the Mac it’s connected to.
There have been no rumors on possible changes to the iMac this year, but it’s likely Apple could introduce small spec bumps to the current lineup. If they do, expect a bit more RAM, better graphics cards, USB-C ports, and faster processors.
Though not a Mac–they’ll probably work with the new Macs. expect Apple to announce a shipping date for their new wireless AirPods in-ear headphones, which the company announced back in September.
New wireless accessories
It’s also possible Apple could choose to update its wireless accessories lineup. Possible devices include an updated AirPort Express with 802.11ac, and updated Time Capsule, and maybe new mac peripherals including a new Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad in new colors that match the colors of the new MacBook Pros. It would be incredible if a new Magic Trackpad was larger, supported the Apple Pencil, and also sported its own Magic Toolbar–but that’s just conjecture.
No new Mac Pro or Mac Mini
The Mac Pro hasn’t gotten an update singe it receive a major design refresh three years ago–and don’t expect it to be updated here (although it’s possible Apple could do an internal spec refresh. As for the Mac mini–it’s been two years since it’s seen an update and one isn’t likely here.
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