Get ready. New Macs are on the way. What will be different. Same old, same old. Thinner, faster, lighter. To get an idea of what Apple might be planning for the refresh of the MacBook Pro, just look at the new MacBook. Thinner, lighter, maybe not all that fast, but it’s a piece of hardware that gushes with ‘use me’ upon first touch.
What we can expect with the coming next generation MacBook Pro line is more of the same, but with more of a speed bump that we saw with Intel’s anemic M-series in the MacBook last year.
How can savvy and experienced Apple watchers tell what Apple plans to do?
First, we know that thinner, lighter, faster is a genetic disorder whereby Apple’s engineers are genetically predisposed to shave off weight and thickness of new devices. We see it everywhere. iMac. iPhone. iPad.
Second, there are many reasons why thin is in. It’s an expectation. At least, it’s expected so long as Apple can maintain the 10 hours or so battery life. The company also specializes in aluminum cases. Aluminum can be thin, light, and strong.
Third, the MacBook Pro line has been aging for awhile and is ready for a new line which will include the obvious– thinner, lighter, faster– but also a new hinge. Why? Thinner and lighter. The MacBook is so thin that Apple had to redesign the keyboard to handle key travel. Expect the same thing in the new MacBook Pro models.
What about a touch screen?
After all, Windows notebook tablet hybrids all come with a touch screen. What about the Mac? Touchscreens make for excellent TV commercials and good demonstrations, but it’s tablets where touchscreen get used the most, not on notebooks. Apple has drawn the line and recognizes that human behavior isn’t likely to change. Windows PC notebook tablet hybrids make for decent PCs at a low price, but they’re clumsy and slow as touchscreen devices posing as tablets.
Word among rumor mongers says that Apple plans a function key-like touchscreen panel that would replace the MacBook Pro’s function keys which are mostly hardwired. Adding a touch panel which acts as a long but easily accessible touchscreen for function keys means app developers can expand how the Mac’s keyboard is used.
Because thin seems so desirous among computer users these days, Apple will get rid of a number of ports which clog up the left and right sides of the case. In other words, say goodbye to the big, clunky, nearly 20-year-old USB ports in favor of the ultra thin and reversible USB-C port (think of it as Intel and the PC world’s answer to Apple’s lightning connector on iPhone and iPad).
How many USB-C ports?
I have no inside knowledge that I can divulge but I expect to see a total of four USB-C ports, two on each side of the thin case. One port can be used to charge the Mac’s battery, while the other three act as standard USB ports, but shrunk down to USB-C size. Don’t expect to see HDMI out without an adapter. And don’t expect to see an SDXC card slot as you’ll find in the current MacBook line.
Thin is in. But when does it end?