Upcoming MacBook Pro and MacBook Air to sport scissor switch keyboards, ARM-powered MacBooks and redesigns coming in 2021
The 16-inch Apple MacBook Pro was welcomed by many largely due to improved thermals and the return of the traditional scissor switch keyboard. Now, it looks like Apple will be implementing this in upcoming MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models slated to launch in Q2, according to famed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Kuo notes that the reception of the 16-inch MacBook Pro was "better than expected". Although he doesn't go into the details of the specifics of the upcoming MacBook models, we do expect Apple to launch a 14-inch MacBook Pro to replace the 13-inch variant. Kuo also notes that the upcoming MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models will have "various cost optimizations", but nothing that users will immediately notice. Apple suppliers should be able to ramp-up operations for mass production of the upcoming MacBooks in late March owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a related development, Kuo also believes that Apple will launch MacBooks with its own custom processors sometime in Q4 2020 or Q1 2021. Apple is also likely to introduce MacBooks with a complete redesign sometime in Q2 or Q3 2021. Again, there is no indication as to which models will sport these chips or redesigns. It could be the MacBook Pro, the MacBook Air, or both.
There have been indications of Apple's eventual transition to ARM for quite some time now. In the initial phase, Apple is likely to test the waters with a new MacBook Air powered by a custom Apple A-series chip. If all goes well, a possible architecture shift across the entire Mac lineup in the coming years is not off the cards.
On the PC side of things, Windows 10 on ARM has proven to offer quite the mobility advantage (in terms of battery life) and new SoCs such as the Microsoft SQ1 and Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx offer much better multi-tasking and x86 emulation performance than before. The Apple A13 Bionic already edges out even the Snapdragon 865 so, future Apple SoCs catering to more demanding workflows shouldn't be improbable.