Kuo: MacBook Pro redesign to lose Touch Bar, continue Apple's Arm-based silicon transition and pick up MagSafe charging
As many are aware, Apple is in the middle of a major transition from Intel chips to its own custom ‘M’ series Arm-based chips for its entire Mac range. The first new models dropped late last year featuring the potent Apple M1 chip. While the performance of the new silicon really caught the eye, it debuted in very familiar guises in the form of the existing 13-inch MacBook Pro design, long-in-the-tooth Mac mini design and the pre-existing MacBook Air chassis.
A new note to investors from renowned Apple supply chain specialist Ming-chi Kuo details what he expects will be the first significant redesign of the MacBook Pro range in the past few years. The main design cues are expected to follow the flatter, squared off look of the new iPhone 12 range and come in 14-inch and 16-inch sizes. The most radical design change, however, will be the removal of the somewhat controversial OLED Touch Bar strip that replaces most of the function keys on the top row of existing MacBook Pro models.
The new MacBook Pro models will also feature the next installment of Apple’s M-series chips. At this stage it is not clear whether this will be an M2 chip with new architecture, or a more powerful variant of the current M1 chip (which is more likely). Kuo also expects the new MacBooks to feature additional ports instead of the currently exclusive USB-C connector arrangement. This is in response to complaints that users have to carry around one or more dongles, which can be disruptive to workflow and can get messy.
Other changes include the return of a MagSafe charging system. It isn't clear at this stage whether it will draw from the new MagSafe approach Apple has adopted with the iPhone 12 range, but it seems likely it will be some type variation on this theme. Bloomberg has also added that it expects the displays on the next-generation MacBook Pro range to be both brighter and feature higher contrast. With the Touch Bar seemingly jettisoned, it does raise questions about whether the new MacBook Pro models could finally introduced touch screens. At this point in time, however, there aren't any indications that this is the case.