Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch): Rumors, Release Date and Price
Update Aug 6: According to the latest rumors, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is expected to replace the current 15-inch MacBook Pro.
Apple is said to be on the verge of bringing a new 16-inch MacBook Pro into its family of laptops. If rumors hold true, the new notebook would have the largest screen of any MacBook Pro since Apple discontinued the 17-inch model back in 2012.
There are no confirmed details about the 16-inch MacBook Pro as Apple has remained tight-lipped while rumors continue to circulate. However, reports from reliable analysts claim that a new 16-inch MacBook Pro will arrive by the end of the year with an improved display and high price tag. It is also expected to replace the current 15.4-inch MacBook Pro.
Here is everything we know about the 16-inch MacBook Pro, and what we want to see from this upcoming notebook.
Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro possible release date and pricing
There's a lot we don't know about the 16-inch MacBook Pro, but we do have an idea of its release date. IHS Markit analyst Jeff Lin told investors in a recent research note that the MacBook Pro could go into mass production in September and that it would likely be available in stores by the end of 2019. A more recent report from Economic Daily News (EDN) in Taiwan confirmed as much, claiming that the larger MacBook Pro is coming in October.
There's also a chance we don't see the 16-inch MacBook Pro for another few years. A memo by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the new 16-inch MacBook will arrive in 2020 or 2021, not this year.
A mysterious device received FCC approval in July (via MacRumors), though it's unclear which notebook that is. With a model number of A2159, the product is confirmed to be a MacBook Pro, though its 61W power rating suggests a 13-inch model, not the new 16-inch version.
We expect the 16-inch MacBook Pro to land firmly in the premium price range. The least-expensive 15-inch MacBook Pro costs $2,400 and rises to above $6,000 when you upgrade the specs. We wouldn't be surprised if the 16-inch version has a starting price between $2,500 and $3,000. EDN agrees, claiming in a July report that the notebook will start at around $9,000 Taiwan dollars, or $2,893.72.
16-inch MacBook Pro design and specs
Details about the 16-inch MacBook Pro are scarce and those we do know are more hearsay than fact. However, some trusted analysts have spilled some intriguing details about the rumored system.
Mac users will be happy to hear that Apple is expected to ditch the Butterfly-style keyboard in favor of the more traditional scissor-style switches, according to well-regarded Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The 16-inch MacBook Pro is expected to be the first MacBook with the new keys followed by refreshed versions of Apple's other laptops in 2020.
The MacBook Pro's 16-inch, LCD panel (not OLED) is rumored to have a 3072 x 1920 resolution, which would make it slightly sharper than the current 2880 x 1800-pixel Retina display, though not as crisp as the 4K panels we find on some Windows PCs. Around that display will be much thinner bezels to accommodate a larger 16-inch display in the same sized chassis as the current 15.4-inch model, according to a recent report.
There's no word on what processors Apple will employ in the 16-inch MacBook Pro, but we're expecting to find Intel's newest 9th Gen H-series CPUs. Apple is rumored to ditch Intel and make its own processors at some point, but signs point to that happening in 2020.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro is unsurprisingly expected to run macOS Catalina, the latest version of Apple's desktop OS.
What we want from the Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro
An improved keyboard
The issues plaguing the MacBook Pro's troubled Butterfly keyboard led to multiple class-action lawsuits against Apple, which later issued a formal apology for the ongoing issues.
Adding insult to injury, the keyboard on every new MacBook, including the 15-inch MacBook Pro, has very shallow key travel. Most folks would agree that competing laptops, like Lenovo's ThinkPads and HP's EliteBooks, are more comfortable to type on.
At this point, it might just be easier for Apple to scrap the keyboard and start over from scratch. One solution would be for Apple to opt for a traditional keyboard with deeper key travel but with the same tactile clickiness as the Butterfly-style switch.
A USB-A port
Apple is known for stubbornly sticking with its decisions, but removing the USB Type-A port from the MacBook Pro is one worth revisiting.
The Thunderbolt 3 input Apple adopted across its laptops was supposed to be the one port to rule them all, but that hasn't exactly gone to plan. USB-C accessories are few and far between, which is why so many MacBook owners are forced to buy adapters or hubs. That's the primary reason why we recommend some users to buy an outdated MacBook Air over the newer 2018 model.
Power users and creators, the groups the MacBook Pro was made for, need a mouse and external keyboard for their work, which is why it's crucial that Apple includes at least one Type-A port on its upcoming notebook.
A better Touch Bar, or none at all
The divisive Touch Bar seems like a good idea on paper, but it's much less useful than what Apple advertised when it was revealed on the MacBook Pro a few years back. The Touch Bar now feels more antiquated than ever with dual-screen laptops like the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo expected to arrive later this year.
While some people are fans of the Touch Bar, most folks I've spoken to think it's a gimmick, including my colleague and longtime Apple user, Henry T. Casey, who said, "I've found it's only good for picking emojis." Henry also added that "the only truly great thing near the Touch Bar is the Touch ID sensor, but the MacBook Air has that biometric sensor without the OLED strip, the best of both worlds."
Common complaints with the Touch Bar are that using the touch-sensitive strip isn't any faster than tapping on a function keys and that it's easy to trigger an action on accident. Simply increasing the size of the Touch Bar and making it more visible would greatly improve usability. Haptic feedback and simplified icons wouldn't hurt, either.
Alternatively, Apple can do away with the Touch Bar altogether, and make the 16-inch MacBook Pro a bit more affordable.
An exciting new design
The latest 15-inch MacBook Pro has the same design as the 2016 version and is practically identical to the laptop Apple introduced in 2012. While the design has aged well — the 15-inch MacBook Pro remains thin, lightweight and premium by today's standards — it's time for something new.
At the very least, Apple could offer the 16-inch MacBook Pro in more exciting colors. The Space Gray and Silver options should remain, but we'd love to see playful options, including that gorgeous blue Apple offers on the new iPod Touch. The stealthy Jet Black color Apple debuted on the iPhone 7 also gets my vote.
Narrow bezels on the Asus ZenBook 13 UX333FA
I'd be surprised if Apple didn't get rid of the display bezels on the 16-inch MacBook. I can already see Tim Cook boasting about how you get a 16-inch display in a 15.6-inch chassis. One could argue that the latest 15-inch MacBook Pro already has thin bezels, but Apple's Windows competitors do it better (see the Dell XPS 13 and Asus ZenBook 13 UX333FA).
Face ID is a terrific feature that makes unlocking an iPhone safer and more convenient. So why isn't it being used on the MacBook Pro?
Apple is already late to the party, as most premium Windows 10 laptops can be outfitted with an optional IR camera for Windows Hello facial recognition login. Multiple reports claim Apple is testing Macs with Face ID, so let's cross our fingers that this upcoming 16-inch model is one of them.