After months of waiting, Apple is holding an event on Oct. 27 to refresh its line of MacBooks. Thank heavens. It's certainly been long enough. (Update: 10/19 4:17 p.m. ET: Apple has invited the press to the event).
Rumors have flown over the past year, but we've read the reports and heard some things ourselves, and here's what we think you should be prepared for when Apple unleashes its next round of products.
New MacBook Pros...
The MacBook Pro hasn't gotten a refresh since 2012, when Apple added Retina displays and removed the optical drive (though Apple has still been selling the non-Retina version with an optical drive all this time as well). They're getting long in the tooth, so they'll need some new features like Touch ID and an upgrade to seventh-generation Intel Core i CPUs.
...with an OLED function bar...
The main new feature on the Pro? It's an OLED touch bar that replaces the function keys. We're not quite sure how Apple will integrate it into macOS Sierra and which programs will be able to take advantage of it at launch, but we're confident it will be a major part of the upgrade.
... and USB Type-C
Apple first jumped on the USB Type-C train with the 12-inch MacBook, which uses it as its only port aside from the headphone jack. A recent report from Mac Otakara suggests that the Pro will only feature USB Type-C ports, rather than USB 3.0 ports. It would also get rid of MagSafe for charging. Power users would require a lot of adapters for old peripherals, but accessory makers would also be forced to look towards the future.
A new MacBook Air, and the death of an old one
Reports suggest that the MacBook Air is sticking around despite the 12-inch laptop's place in the lineup, but the 11-inch model is in limbo. There's a question as to whether Apple will discontinue the 11-inch model, so we may not see one at the event. That would kill the cheapest MacBook in the lineup. The main feature we're hearing about is USB Type-C ports, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the entry level laptop still won't get an upgrade to Retina displays and otherwise keep the same design.
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New macOS Sierra features
It was surprising to see macOS Sierra announced without any new Macs to support it, but now that they're coming, we may see features especially for the new devices. That means the next update to Sierra may be a sizable one to introduce anything that Apple was holding back for its latest and greatest.
A 5K Monitor and iMac Upgrades
It's been rumored for awhile now that Apple will release a 5120 x 2880 (or 5K) display with an integrated GPU. With the Thunderbolt display discontinued, it's time for a new product to take its place on shelves. The GPU could, in theory, help older or less powerful MacBooks output to such a high-res screen.
Apple's desktops are also ready for a refresh, though not a full-scale redesign. If it's announced, expect new GPUs from AMD and processor bumps.
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