Lenovo wants to release a new 15-inch ThinkPad without a numpad
Some people love it, others hate it: The numpad is a controversial topic. If someone works with numbers, the numpad can be an invaluable necessity. If numbers aren't that important for you work, the numpad can be a nuisance. This is especially true for laptops, where the numpad necessitates that the keyboard is shifted to the left. Many users consider an off-center keyboard to be much less ergonomic than a centered one.
A decade ago, many laptops weren't wide enough to incorporate a dedicated numpad. But since the advent of the widescreen-format on laptops (be it 16:10 or 16:9), things have changed – especially in the 15-inch category, where models without a numpad have become rare. Examples for some recent laptops without a numpad include the Apple MacBook Pro 15, the Dell XPS 15 and the HP ZBook Studio.
ThinkPad – From "no-numpad" on the T530 to "all-numpad" on the T580
One brand that didn't embrace the numpad for many years: The Lenovo ThinkPad. Until 2011, not a single ThinkPad-laptop with a dedicated numpad existed, apart from the monstrous 17-inch model ThinkPad W700. Only two years later, this situation completely reversed: Since 2013, all ThinkPads with a 15-inch screen came with a numpad (and thus an off-center keyboard), this includes new models like ThinkPad T580 or the ThinkPad P51. The last 15-inch ThinkPad without a numpad was the ThinkPad T530, which launched in 2012.
For many ThinkPad users, this situation was seemingly not satisfying, as many have voiced their criticism in Lenovo's own forum. Apparently, the feedback finally swayed Lenovo to rethink this design-decision: In one of the threads where people demanded the option to ditch the numpad, a Lenovo employee announced the release of a new 15-inch model without a numpad.
Possible candidates: ThinkPad P52, ThinkPad P1 or ThinkPad T580p
Interestingly enough, this mystery ThinkPad is supposed to be out at some point later this year, which begs the question which model this will be. Lenovo has already updated the ThinkPad T series. This leaves the ThinkPad P series, Lenovo's mobile workstation line. Thanks to a roadmap-leak, we already know some model-numbers of upcoming ThinkPads, such as the ThinkPad P1, ThinkPad P52 or ThinkPad T580p. Potentially, one of these three models will be available without a numpad.