Apple could be refreshing the MacBook Pro with OLED touch panels and Touch ID
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Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo from KGI Securities recently commented on potentially new features we can expect from future iPhone models. Now, Kuo is at it again with more rumors on Apple products with a new focus on the MacBook Pro Series. Accordingly, the Q4 2016 refresh could be a significant upgrade over the current generation including a new USB Type-C with Thunderbolt 3 port, Touch ID, and even a touch panel above the keyboard.
The latter rumor in particular is similar to an existing patent that describes a touch panel on the flat surface between the display and keyboard (see image on right). Although the patent does not explicitly mention the MacBook Pro, the concept could still apply to a notebook and potentially replace the top row of Function keys. A flat touch panel would also allow for more natural writing and editing compared to a standard touchscreen display that will likely teeter during regular use. An unrelated second patent describes replacing the keyboard entirely with a touch interface, but such a move would be too experimental on a proven series like the MacBook Pro.
Other than the speculations above, the Q4 2016 MacBook Pro refresh should be thinner and lighter than the current generation as Apple is expected to carry over design and manufacturing cues from the MacBook 12. Internal updates like Skylake and AMD M400 Polaris options are almost guaranteed. Kuo is also predicting a MacBook 13 reveal and launch as well due to the success of the MacBook 12.