Mac Week: MacBook Pro 2016 release date, news and rumors

MacBook Pro 2016 release date, news and rumors

Apple’s MacBook Pro range hasn’t been updated for some time: the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina was refreshed in March 2015 and the 15-inch in May. New MacBook Pros are clearly imminent, especially considering Apple’s market share in the computing space fell 4.9% in Q2 2016 compared to the year prior.

The biggest change is likely to be in the Pros’ processors, and while there are rumors of detachable touchscreens we’d take them with a hefty pinch of salt.

Appearing more and more likely, though, is that a small, OLED display will take the place of the MacBook Pro’s function keys in its 2016 revision. And, like the iPhone 7 before it, some are even suggesting the death of the 3.5mm headphone jack.

Let’s sift through the river of rumors to find nuggets of knowledge: what can we really expect from the 2016 MacBook Pro refresh?

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The next generation of Apple’s professional notebook
  • When is it out? Rumors point to late October 2016
  • What will it cost? Likely starting at £899 ($1,099, about AUS$1,670)

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MacBook Pro 2016 release date

We expected to see the new MacBook Pro 2016 at Apple’s annual developer event, WWDC, this June. However, as reports had previously suggested, this year’s conference focused primarily on introducing new software updates rather than hardware. So, even if there is a new MacBook Pro in the works, it took a backseat in June to iOS and macOS amendments.

More recently, Apple’s iPhone 7 event took place on September 7, the next candidate for a pair of new MacBooks to be announced. While there were no computers in sight at the iPhone event, shortly thereafter Apple CEO Tim Cook suggested customers “stay tuned” for Mac developments.

Since then, following the launch of macOS Sierra, we’ve caught word that Apple is working on an update to its operating system specifically tailored to the new MacBook Pro hardware. That’s right, in macOS Sierra 10.12.1 – which is slated for the latter half of October – we’ll see integration with the new OLED touch bar, if reports from MacRumors are to be believed.

Reports up to this point suggest the new hardware will feature hinges produced using a mechanism called ‘metal injection molding’. Said to be inspired by Microsoft’s Surface Pro line of devices, the hinges are allegedly being manufactured by Jarllytec, a major Taiwanese manufacturer who also crafts hinges for Microsoft’s convertible tablet.

These hinges purportedly began shipment back in June for the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Meanwhile, the 15-inch model’s hinges are set to arrive in the third quarter of the year, making the late October release window argument even more convincing. Reports suggest that the new slim MacBooks will boast a quadruplet of USB-C ports, two on each side, perhaps complemented by additional color variations akin to the 12-inch MacBook.

MacBook Pro 2016 price

The current MacBook Pro range starts at £899 ($1,099) for the 13-inch non-Retina model, rising to £999 ($1,119) for the entry-level 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro and topping out at £1,999 ($2,099) for the 2.5GHz 15-inch Retina.

MacBook Pro

The 13-inch non-Retina MacBook Pro, tucked away apologetically at the foot of Apple’s product page, surely can’t be long for this world; come the updates we’d expect it to vanish in favour of a Retina 13-inch model instead.

Apple tends to keep its pricing similar between generations, so an £899 entry-level Pro with Retina display is likely to be the baby of the range.

MacBook Pro 2016: What’s so special about Skylake?

The MacBook Pro is trailing PC rivals in the processor stakes: Dell and HP are moving on to the seventh-generation Intel Kaby Lake processors this fall, while Apple is still clinging to the fifth-generation Broadwell chips.

This year’s MacBook Pro, however, is believed to meet in the middle, purportedly sporting sixth-generation Skylake chips. The move to Skylake is likely to warrant massive speed improvements across the board in addition to more impressive battery life.

MacBook Pro

Skylake has some tricks up its silicon sleeve that Broadwell lacks, including support for WiGig and WiDi short-range, high speed data transfer as well as wireless charging. We may not see that flip of the switch in this year’s notebooks, but it’s possible nonetheless for Apple to tap into this functionality later on.

However, one thing Skylake can’t do is output 5K resolutions over a single cable stream. That’s why, in June, sources told Buzzfeed reporter John Paczkowski that Apple is working on a 5K external display complete with its own integrated graphics chip to handle the stream.This would theoretically replace the now-defunct Thunderbolt Display of yesteryear. The graphics, according to Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman should be based on AMD’s new Polaris architecture.

MacBook Pro 2016: Hello USB-C, goodbye headphone jack

Faster is a given, better battery is almost certain. What about design changes? The current MacBook Pro is fairly porky compared to Apple’s other notebooks, especially the minimalist USB-C MacBook.

That’s partly because it’s an older design and partly because the current MacBook Pro boasts lots of ports: twin Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3, an HDMI socket and an SDXC card slot.

Apple isn’t sentimental about removing supposedly must-have features it deems redundant – the MacBook Pro lost its SuperDrive years ago – so could those ports be for the bullet too in favor of one or two USB-C ports? Reports seem to point to that.

Not only is the MacBook Pro 2016 expected to feature USB Type-C ports, but on top of that, they’ll be USB 3.1 Gen 2, making them even faster than the first-gen port of the 12-inch MacBook. However, like with the iPhone 7 before it, the headphone jack might get the bullet on the MacBook Pro as well.

MacBook Pro

With Intel’s integration of Thunderbolt 3 in USB-C connections, USB, Thunderbolt, DisplayPort, PCI Express and power can be delivered over a single cable. If the Lenovo Moto Z is anything to go by, so too can digital audio.

What’s more, USB-C has the bandwidth for daisy-chaining even the most demanding devices, and of course Apple is always happy to sell reassuringly expensive adapters when it bins a previously popular port. If the 2016 MacBook Pro doesn’t have at least one USB-C port we’ll eat an iPad – although it’ll be interesting to see how much Apple prizes thinness over existing connectivity.

MacBook Pro 2016: Touch ID and next-gen SSDs?

The Pros are all about performance, so will they get next-generation SSDs? It’s a nice thought, but while Intel’s blazingly quick Optane SSDs are destined for Macs, they aren’t likely to appear in any this side of 2017.CallID

Another persistent rumour is TouchID fingerprint recognition, but that particular pundit also predicted TouchID in the recent Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad updates, which of course didn’t happen. A recent leak suggests, however, that a fall MacBook rollout will incorporate a power button featuring TouchID tech.

MacBook Pro 2016: A stylus without a touchscreen

In a July patent approval, Apple suggested it was interested in extending Apple Pencil support beyond the limits of the iPad Pro’s touchscreen display and onto its Magic Trackpad. The speculation doesn’t stop there, of course, as this idea could easily translate to the onboard MacBook trackpads as well.

Don’t be surprised if, come Autumn, we see a revamped Apple Pencil revealed alongside a new set of MacBook Pros.

MacBook Pro 2016: Detachable keyboard and screen?

One of the most interesting MacBook Pro rumors is that it’s getting a touchscreen, and perhaps a detachable keyboard, too. We think that’s spectacularly unlikely, for several reasons. More likely to come true is the theory that Apple will implement, in some capacity, a touchscreen keyboard in its next MacBook Pro. Lenovo Yoga Book, anyone?

While a patent filed by Apple suggests an iPad-like interface in favor of a the physical keyboards we’ve all grown accustomed to, photographs recently acquired by Cult of Mac show something a little different; that is, a more conventional Magic Keyboard-esque qwerty layout featuring a touchscreen OLED display to replace the function keys.

And, although this rumor seems awfully farfetched for an annual MacBook Pro revision, there is evidently some truth behind it, according to French website MacGeneration via 9to5Mac who discovered code indirectly alluding to the OLED bar’s virtualized buttons.

A touchscreen, even a tiny one ousting a single row of keys, could make for an enticing compromise for those in pursuit of the classic MacBook Pro experience as well as for fans of the ever-flourishing 2-in-1.

This article has been updated for TechRadar’s Mac Week. This year marks not only the 10th anniversary of Apple’s MacBook, but the triumphant return of macOS. So, TechRadar looks to celebrate with a week’s worth of original features delving back into the Mac’s past, predicting the Mac’s future and exploring the Mac as it is today.

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article


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  1. Reply Ms. Mckayla Mohr PhD September 29, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    you should wait for the new one as it has massive imporvements

  2. Reply Anita Dicki Jr. September 29, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    32GB RAM, >1 USB(-C) port (ideally positioned such that using one does not block the other(s)), better battery life. Less heat. and oh yeah: keep magsafe!

  3. Reply Hugh Jerde DVM September 29, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    "A touchscreen, even a tiny one ousting a single row of keys"

    What does that mean?!

    Isn't "ousting" the w.w.? :-)

  4. Reply Lukas Bartoletti September 29, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    i've been using apple products all my life, 17 macbook pros are EXTREMELY NECESSARY to me.
    I am tired of using a 5 year laptop as my main computer.
    I tried those tiny ones, I tried connecting to screens,

    it's not the same. Some times you need to work while in bed or outside, or while traveling.

    BRING BACK a 17 macbook PRO APPLE

  5. Reply Mr. Amir Armstrong September 30, 2016 at 1:53 am

    lol! just keep on reducing!

  6. Reply Alaina Bartell September 30, 2016 at 3:21 am

    I just smile at the sensational comments that demand an intelligent response such as yours. I smile because I enjoy apple products. I smile because, in our free market, I can partake of whatever tech I deem personally necessary, and add some indulgences on top. I smile because I can completely ignore the idiotic comments on the interwebz that offer no redeeming value to the article posted. So keep on developing, Antonio, even if it is in the midst of lunacy exemplified by some of the comments on here.

  7. Reply Bradley Renner September 30, 2016 at 3:31 am

    thing is now the 15inch mac book pro is 18 months old… its CPU AND GPU are very outdated, and yet they still charge a fortune for it. They need updates now, not in 6 more months… are we getting back to commodore 64 days…? never an update ! (the commodore 64 was never updated (hardware performance wise in the 10 years it was sold).

    This update cycle to Macbook Pros and need the Mac Pro are the slowest I have seen in many years !

  8. Reply Dr. Jaren Rosenbaum September 30, 2016 at 3:54 am

    I feel your pain

  9. Reply Ms. Nedra Schoen September 30, 2016 at 10:02 am

    I want to switch from Dell XPS to Macbook Pro but I have to wait two or three months to get something similar and more expensive.

  10. Reply Mrs. Keara Hills II September 30, 2016 at 11:30 am

    As long as there is an SD card slot. There has to be an SD card reader.

  11. Reply Kitty West September 30, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    Hey Apple, please just upgrade the computer to skylake and keep everything else the same. A simple skylake upgrade (i5-5257U to i5-6267U) would significantly boost processing power, and boost graphics power by greater than 1.5x! That would mean the entry level MacBook would have better graphics than the Iris Pro 6200 (base graphics in 15" rMBP). That's what most MacBook users want. Also, do you all know how annoying a touch bar would be?? HP tried it wayyy back in 2010 and it was a massive failure. Some people even covered it up with ducktape to prevent accidental interaction. And please don't replace other ports with USB-C. I don't think many see a problem with adding the port, as long as you don't take away any of my USB or Thunderbolt ports and keep MagSafe. The MacBook is just fine the way it is now, we should keep it that way.

  12. Reply Ralph Gerlach September 30, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    "If anything you'll get a minor upgrade of the current model… Which is still superior to anything the idiots at Dell, Asus, or HP could make anyway. In fact, it really pisses me off that 5+ year design still runs circles around the idiot PC makers."

    You haven't been looking terribly closely if you think "none" of the PC vendors are competitive with the rMBP, they have been for ages now.

    I say this as a rMBP + SurfacePro user; many "PCs" have been running rings around the rMBP for quite some time, while Apple lets that area of its business stagnate & wither.

    PC's only weak point, is integration between the hw & sw (OS/fw/dvrs etc), that still lets them down occasionally.* But on the hw side they've had Apple smoked for yonks, they've been making real efforts in that area, & doing some truly innovative stuff.

    I personally wouldn't make the jump to W10 as my primary machine, I still prefer OSX/macOS. But I'd most def. recommend many current & upcoming PC offerings to friends/fam, have already & all of them have been happy.

    *MS+Partners have improved hugely, but it's still not good enough, even on MS' own machines!

  13. Reply Lelia Kirlin September 30, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    Hey Adam, I am a software engineer.. I have focused my career in iOS development… I eat thanks to my Apple products… 😉 So, "Everything Apple sells is unnecessary" you said? I don't think so..

  14. Reply Rick Crist September 30, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    here we have a clear example of a fanatic of the slowness of windows 10 :)

  15. Reply Mohamed Borer September 30, 2016 at 11:59 pm

    I do like the newer improvements as my macbook is now 4 years old and needing some hardware upgrades. I am currently waiting for the newer 2017 macbook pros to come out and i hope at some point they come out with the aluminum in other colors, like the iphone. While that isn't exactly necessary to the performance of the computer, it indeed makes a bit more appealing. I also would like it if the processing and graphics capabilities would step up their game. I tried a 2016 version i7 15" macbook pro and it still lagged behind in some of the pc's out there and originally, the graphics was top of the line way back in the day. I still do not like windows….

  16. Reply Felicity Konopelski October 1, 2016 at 12:05 am

    2 TBs of storage would be wicked cool.

  17. Reply Golda Purdy October 1, 2016 at 3:40 am

    I for one do not believe this article or any rumors that new MacBook Pro will be released this year (2016). If anything you'll get a minor upgrade of the current model… Which is still superior to anything the idiots at Dell, Asus, or HP could make anyway. In fact, it really pisses me off that 5+ year design still runs circles around the idiot PC makers.

    Also Apple has been too busy with iPad Pro, iPhone 7, and Apple Watch 2… All of which make them WAY more money then MacBooks ever will.

    I would expect to see something mid-2017 at this point. That gives Apple enough time to at least focus and get the tech ready.

    I am EXTREMELY likely to get the next major upgrade if it has a dedicated video card in a 13" display configuration of the MacBook Pro… Cross my fingers!

  18. Reply Prof. Deonte Bayer October 1, 2016 at 7:54 am

    What is happening to Apple? is it Tim Cook? Johnny Ive? When will they innovate again? I've been using Apple products since the late 80's and I am a tech professional. Apple lead the pack for years with their new devices and technologies and allowed us Apple snobs to brag over our Windows/PC/Samsung/Google counterparts. Apple hasn't wowed us with anything in years. I am still devoted to Apple for their interface design, and attention to detail, but come on. Not the fastest or slimmest or most high tech phone. No where near the top of the line laptops, no full OS tablets (Surface), no convertible ultrabooks, almost two generations behind in processors on the MacBooks, and I'm sorry, but the watch is a joke. I've been proving to people for years that Apple products are the best, but it's almost impossible anymore. The trend of Windows to Mac converts is starting to swing the other way. On top of all this, their stock hasn't changed significantly in 2 years.

    And yes, the 17" MacBook Pro is essential. Worst thing ever (for me) was the death of the 17" MacBook. I finally broke down and bought a 15" Macbook last year, and its not the same. Not to mention that I am seriously jealous of all the new HP and Dell Ultrabooks that are smaller, faster, and have higher res touch screens, higher RAM limits, better graphics controllers, etc…

    Sadly, much of what made Apple so special and different is gone. And it's not Beats Music, and it's not a watch… And while I'm at it (Johnny Ive), the new Magic Mouse 2 design blows. Who the hell makes a rechargeable mouse and puts the recharge plug in the center of the bottom of the mouse??? So when the battery is dead, you can't use AND charge the mouse. I now have two mice. An Apple mouse, and a Logitech mouse for when the Apple mouse dies and is disabled by it's charging function…

  19. Reply Candido D'Amore October 1, 2016 at 11:36 am

    I wish they would figure out a better way for the power cord. I hate that it constantly gets knocked out. I wish there was a way to configure it to either have different sides to plug in, depending on where the plug is, and or have it recessed so it doesn't get knocked out.

  20. Reply Maryam Jaskolski October 1, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    "What would you like to see in a 2016 MacBook Pro?"

    What would I like to see in a 2016 MacBook Pro? Well, for starters I would like to actually be able to see a REAL LIFE MACBOOK PRO!! Hurry up and release it already, Apple! My laptop died on me months ago and I really need I new one for my PhD. I don't know how much longer I can wait. I am tired of been mucked around by Apple and I am tired of waiting. First it was going to be released in March, then in June and now in October. WTF? I am sick of having my hopes lifted and then dashed over and over again. If this keeps up I will end up having to buy the older model, but
    knowing my luck the newer model would be released that very day. I wish they would set a release date and stick to it.

  21. Reply Vicente O'Reilly October 1, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Antonio, I wasn't born yesterday. At what point in your life did Apple products become necessary? What made Apple products a necessity in your life? The answer to that question is, when you CHOSE to develop solely iOS software, at which time it became a requirement not a necessity. Mewcomm responded to my comment and set a precedent with the word "necessary." Not me. Why are you not appropriately responding to him rather than me? Mewcomm told me that a 17" laptop was not necessary. If you agree with such a concept, then clearly Apple products are no more necessary for you than a 17" laptop is for me!

  22. Reply Miss Alia Mohr PhD October 1, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    I need one for college too. I'm going to buy a cheaper 15" while I can. So I suggest doing that.

  23. Reply Dorthy Schuppe October 1, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    Prototype Kaby Lake chips are now in manufacturer's hands. Since the next gen MacBook Pro will jettison its legacy ports, it only makes logical sense that Kaby Lake's native support for Thunderbolt 3, native USB 3.1, DisplayPort 1.2 and 2G graphics architecture to substantially improve performance (30x) in 3D graphics and 4K video playback would be Apple's choice for its next generation MacBook Pro. Timing is the issue, the Core i7-7500U 2.7-2.9GHz quad-core processors are not due until 2017. Apple has not updated the MacBook Pro from Broadwell because Intel has consistently missed delivery dates. If Intel can deliver Kaby Lake which has 2.5 times the performance with 3 times the battery life over Skylake in 2016, Apple will take the bait. Apple has a close relationship with Intel, it would not be the first time that Intel has rewarded Apple with an early release primary because Intel knows the it will be a game changer in that Apple's PC competitors will have to match specifications generating sales in a stagnant PC market. The upgrade to Kaby Lake will also bode well to support Apple's plan to shave off more than a few millimeters from the next gen MacBook Pro's thickness while increasing battery volume because Kaby Lake would help reduce the thermal need for heavy fan cooling. The thickness reduction would be aided by metal injection molding by Surface Pro manufacturer Jarllytec along with a MacBook like keyboard with butterfly mechanism.

    Because of its new graphics capability, the next gen MacBook Pro could bump up retina to full 4K without too much of a hit on performance or battery life. A move to OLED or Apple's Micro LED would be unlikely but possible. At the same time as Kaby Lake becomes available, Intel/Micron's Optane SSD will be released with its 1000x improvement which would usher in a truly game changing next generation MacBook Pro.

    The top function row will be replaced with a full color OLED backlit touch screen whose icons would change given the context, application or other triggers. The new row would the perfect place to incorporate a Touch ID sensor which is already supported in Sierra macOS. I suspect that changing all the mechanical keyboard backlighting to context sensitive color OLED icons for language, formulas and games may not make it into the next generation.

  24. Reply Mr. Abelardo Rath October 1, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    So how do YOU feel about a 17" screen? Necessary or not? Are you as narcissistic as the others in this thread that would dictate your opinion over mine by declaring that a 17" screen is not necessary?

  25. Reply Tevin Nienow October 2, 2016 at 2:26 am

    we need a bigger screen PLEASE APPLE bring back 17 macbook pro

    "NEW" 5 year old 17 Macbook pros are SOLD for $7,000 on AMAZON!!!!!!!!!

    Those who bash on 17 macbook pros:

    JUST DON't USE THEM if you think they are too big , there is NO NEED TO BASH ON other people's needs.
    Yes , most people don't need wheelchairs.


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