Apple MacBook Pro refresh could be smaller and thinner with AMD Polaris GPU options
The last major MacBook Pro redesign was four years ago, so it's about time for a major overhaul if Apple hopes to maintain its market share in the notebook world. A number of publications including The Verge and MacRumors have prompted their readers to withhold purchasing the latest MacBooks as they have been critical on Apple's constant minor tweaks year after year without any real innovative features.
Current rumors are pointing to a major design update with this year's MacBook Pro refresh including an OLED display bar above the keyboard and a Touch ID sensor power button. Even an unfinished chassis has appeared online claiming to be part of the new MacBook Pro.
Thinner and smaller
Now, sources close to Bloomberg are echoing these same predictions. The upcoming MacBook Pro will reportedly be thinner, smaller, and flatter without needing to incorporate the wedge-shaped design of the current MacBook 12 and MacBook Air. It is expected to have a pressure-sensitive trackpad and a USB Type-C port, though it is unknown if the port would support Thunderbolt 3.
Secondary OLED display
Bloomberg sources are also confirming the previously rumored OLED strip that will replace the traditional top row of Function keys. This secondary display would show different functions and information depending on the current application or task. Apple wants to simplify keyboard shortcuts during video playback, iTunes playback, and Word use. Software updates could improve upon the OLED display without any hardware changes.
Touch ID fingerprint sensor
In addition to the OLED toolbar, Touch ID may be implemented to both lock/unlock the notebook and make online payments via Apple Pay. It's worth noting that the Bloomberg report is not explicitly stating that the Power button would be Touch ID-activated as suggested by earlier rumors, but that the fingerprint sensor would simply be located next to the OLED display.
AMD Polaris GPU inside?
Another major rumor is about Apple's choice of GPU options for its next MacBook Pro. Accordingly, Apple may be leaning towards AMD Polaris GPUs because their TDP and power demands would be more appropriate for the newer and thinner MacBook Pro designs. AMD recently mentioned that its Polaris architecture could fit in thinner notebook form factors, though it is unclear if Apple would be incorporating Polaris on all of its SKUs or simply make it an optional upgrade. Additionally, it is unknown if Apple will be shipping with Skylake or Kaby Lake as the first batch of Kaby Lake systems are expected by the end of this year.
Colors and release window
Apple will reportedly bring gray, gold, and silver color options for its next MacBook Pro series. The Cupertino company may even hold a separate announcement date and event later this year to come after its September press event where it is expected to announce the next iPhone refresh.
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