Apple To Unveil New MacBook Pro at Oct. 27 Event
With the holiday shopping season fast approaching and its recent update to the Mac operating system, Apple is likely to unveil a new MacBook Pro during an event that will be streamed live on Thursday. Multiple reports suggest the new device could feature a row of OLED touchscreen keys at the top of the keyboard where the standard function keys are typically located.
Apple last updated its MacBook line in April, when it came out with a refreshed version of the 13-inch MacBook Air. It has since also released new software for its devices, with the debut of iOS 10, macOS Sierra, watchOS 3 and tvOS 10 last month.
As usual, Apple isn't revealing many details ahead of its special event later this week. Scheduled to start on Oct. 27 at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, the event is being teased with the cryptic tagline, "hello again."
OLED Strip Could Support Customization
While Apple released its new iPhone 7s and Apple Watch Series 2 in concert with its September operating system updates, it hasn't yet rolled out any Macs designed to run with macOS Sierra. That's likely to change Thursday.
The new Macs being announced this week could include a MacBook Pro that features a touchscreen OLED (organic light-emitting diode) strip on the keyboard where the function keys are normally located, according to a report in Recode last week. That feature could allow users to customize keys to support the apps they use the most.
In May, the Cult of Mac site published photos of what appeared to be a MacBook with a flat thin panel in place of the function keys. Cult of Mac said the photos came from "an anonymous source who claims to work for one of Apple's manufacturing partners in China."
Cult of Mac also reported at that time that KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted Apple would release a MacBook Pro later in the year with an OLED touch feature and butterfly keyboard.
A Meaningful 'Hello Again'?
First unveiled last year, Apple's butterfly mechanism was designed to improve keyboard stability and usability by replacing the standard "scissor" mechanism used for keys. The first device to feature the new keyboard design was the 12-inch MacBook released in April 2015.
In addition to the new keyboard features, BGR reported last week that the MacBook Pro update being announced this week could also include Touch ID. That feature makes sense in light of macOS Sierra's new support for the Apple Pay mobile payments system.
Apple's use of the phrase "hello again" to tease Thursday's event could also hint at coming news about other new Macs. As Jonny Evans pointed out in Computerworld last week, "hello" was the screen image that appeared on both the first Mac and the first iMac when Apple launched those devices.
"That Apple is saying 'Hello' must be significant, especially with some Mac models having seen no upgrade for almost three years (1,000 days)," Evans noted.
Microsoft has also announced a launch event for Wednesday, when it is expected to unveil its new all-in-one Surface PC. The new device could feature an extra-large display -- 24 inches or 27 inches -- with a touchscreen and support for 3D design.