MacBook Pro: Kaby Lake models 'to enter production this year'
Report claims Apple plans to upgrade 13ins and 15ins models 'in third quarter'
New MacBook Pro: Photos of Apple laptop leaked
Apple is readying itself for a third round of 2016 product launches, with the Cupertino tech giant hosting a keynote event at 6pm UK time tomorrow.
The company has already released iPhones, iPads and the Apple Watch this year, so its computers are expected to be on the agenda this time.
Pre-launch rumours suggest a new MacBook Pro will be the big reveal, but Apple may have accidentally given the game up early – MacRumors reports that pictures of the upcoming laptop are hidden away in the latest version of MacOS.
Buried deep within Sierra 10.12.1 are clear images of a new laptop, confirming a number of its features.
As expected, the next MacBook Pro will feature an OLED touch-sensitive strip across the top of the keyboard. It's tipped to be called the "Magic Toolbar" and it replaces the physical function keys.
The leaked images seem to confirm it will display contextual virtual buttons – users will be able to bring up the old function keys, but the strip will morph into a bar containing controls for the likes of volume, pause/play and skip for iTunes, and word-processing editing tools.
It also appears the laptop will come with Touch ID – the fingerprint sensor Apple has fitted to iPhones since 2013.
The scanner is embedded in a patch on the right hand side of the Magic Toolbar and can be seen in the images being used to authenticate an Apple Pay transaction. It'll probably unlock and power up the Laptop too.
The leak appears to show a 13ins MacBook Pro and it doesn't suggest much of a design change besides the two speaker grilles flanking the keyboard.
It's hard to determine if the computer is smaller and thinner and there are no pictures revealing the ports – it's rumoured Apple will do away with the HDMI and SD Card slots and that the new MacBook Pro will use USB-C ports.
Full details will be unveiled tomorrow and you can watch live on Apple's website.
New MacBook Pro launch: Everything we know
Apple has officially confirmed that it will host another keynote product launch this year.
The company unveiled the iPhone SE and 9.7ins iPad Pro at an event in March and a full line-up of new software in June. Last month, both the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 made their debuts.
The next event, scheduled for this Thursday 27 October, is likely to focus on the company's line-up of Mac computers. You'll be able to watch it from 6pm on Apple's website.
Many of the desktop and laptop computers in Apple's line-up haven't been re-designed or thoroughly refreshed for some time, so rumours as to just what will arrive are varied.
One thing everyone agrees on is that a new MacBook Pro will be the star of the show.
Here's what we know about the new range-topping laptop as well as the other new computers Apple could be unveiling this Thursday:
MacRumors pours over the most consistent rumour about the laptop – that it will boast a thinner but more functional design thanks to the addition of an OLED touch bar.
According to Ming-Chi Kuo, one of the most accurate Apple analysts, the next MacBook Pro will represent "the most significant upgrade ever taken by Apple".
The touchscreen strip will be placed just above the function keys and is said to be context sensitive. You'll be able to bring up the old function keys on the touchbar if you need them, but specific apps will also make use of it. For instance, fire up iTunes and it could become a control centre for your favourite tracks, while switching to a word processor could bring up editing tools.
It seems like a pretty good bet, considering MacRumors has published photographs of what appears to be a MacBook chassis designed to hold the new component.
Apple's current MacBook Pro line-up is noticeably fatter than the standard MacBook and MacBook Air so it's no surprise to believe the next model will be thinner and lighter.
The same leaks by Ming-Chi Kuo imply the tech giant is readying metal-injection mould-made hinges and the shallow, butterfly-mechanism keyboard from the 12ins MacBook for use on its range-topper, strongly suggesting it will be much thinner.
There's more, though, and much like the iPhone 7 set to ship this September, the MacBook Pro could drop ports in order to slim down.
The laptop may only come with the USB Type-C standard – the smaller USB slots used on the latest MacBook for data transfer and charging.
It's also said that the HDMI port could disappear from the laptop, as will support for SD cards, so you might need a range of adaptors to get the most out of Apple's most powerful and versatile laptop.
The display sizes are, however, unlikely to change. It's expected that Apple will continue to offer the MacBook Pro with 13ins and 15ins screens, packed into cases with much smaller bezels so while the displays will remain the same, the overall package will not be as big.
Faster, with better battery life
The next laptop being speedier and more efficient is a given – all thanks to sixth generation Skylake processors, says TechRadar.
"The move to Skylake is likely to warrant massive speed improvements across the board in addition to more impressive battery lives", says the site, adding the processors also sport support for wireless charging. However, it's unlikely this is a feature that will arrive on the laptop.
Kuo has also shared information with 9to5Mac claiming the MacBook Pro will get Apple's biometric scanning system.
Touch ID is already known to users of recent iPhones or iPads. It uses fingerprint scanning to add a new layer of security for potentially sensitive actions, such as payments.
Kuo says this year's tablet will see Apple incorporate the technology into the power button, suggesting features such as Apple Pay could be heading the way of the MacBook line-up.
Stylus friendly trackpad
It's also been speculated that Apple could introduce a stylus-friendly trackpad to the MacBook Pro following the discovery of patents detailing such a feature.
Alphr picks up the trail, suggesting that the introduction of the Apple Pencil last year alongside the new iPad Pro opens up the possibility of a MacBook Pro with a trackpad you can draw on.
The trackpad would be much larger than the one fitted to the current MacBook Pro range in order to make the new feature as useful as possible and given the laptop's standing as a favourite with creatives and designers, says the site, it could be a game-changing feature.
Alongside the new MacBook Pro, the latest word from accurate Apple analysts KGI suggests that one or two other Apple Mac products will be unveiled later this week.
MacRumors has the latest news from Ming Chi Kuo, who says that the Pro version of the MacBook will be joined by an updated, 13ins version of the standard Retina laptop. Apple already produces the MacBook with a 12ins screen size, so it's possible that this other new laptop could be a new 13ins MacBook Air.
Kuo also suggests that Apple is working on new desktop Macs. The iMac is due for an update that involves new AMD graphics cards and a new standalone 5K display. However, these products aren't expected to launch for some time, so they may not appear later this week.
MacWorld expects the two new Mac laptops to launch almost immediately after they are showcased.
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New MacBook Pro: Apple announces keynote event
After weeks of rumours, Apple has confirmed it will be holding another keynote product reveal in 2016.
The event will take place on Thursday 27 October and streamed live from 6pm UK time, says the tech giant.
Apple hasn't confirmed which products are on the table, but it’s widely expected its line-up of Mac computers will be refreshed.
The invitation sent out to press contains a teaser hinting Macs are on the agenda too, saying: "Hello again" in a not-so-subtle nod to the first Macintosh, which Steve Jobs introduced with a simple "Hello" in 1984.
A new MacBook Pro is expected to be the star of 14the show. It's been four years since Apple gave its most powerful laptop any meaningful upgrades and it's thought that a radical redesign and all-new hardware features are on the way.
MacRumors says there's already plenty of rumours outlining what Apple has planned for its range-topping laptop.
It's believed the company will keep the 13ins and 15ins screen sizes, but slim down the overall package, with thinner bezels and a flatter keyboard.
Alongside the introduction of Touch ID, the laptop's big new feature will be an OLED touchscreen bar replacing the standard function keys on the keyboard. The strip will be display virtual keys that change depending on the application being run - a word processor would show editing keys and options, while player controls would feature when watching video, for example.
Controversially, the MacBook Pro could ship with some industry standard ports missing. MacRumors says it may only support the smaller USB-C standard and that an adaptor will be needed for USB-A inputs.
A Thunderbolt port will remain, but the HDMI port and the SD Card reader could also disappear.
One of the most interesting pre-launch rumours is that of Apple Pencil support. The iPad Pro's stylus is tipped to be compatible with the upcoming MacBook's trackpad, so you'll be able to write and draw on it naturally.
Alongside the new MacBook Pro, Apple could introduce some revised editions of its other computers. Some are tipping the arrival of a 13ins MacBook Air while the iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac Mini could all get updates.