Update May 4: Apple officially unveiled the new 13-inch MacBook Pro 2020.
The MacBook Pro 2020 models are some of the most eagerly anticipated in recent memory. That's because a specter of faulty keyboards has haunted the current MacBook Pro laptops since they adopted the butterfly design in 2016.
However, the 16-inch MacBook Pro (2019) and its new Magic Keyboard appear to have finally solved this problem, while bringing a number of additional enhancements, including macOS Catalina, that helped secure the new MacBook a high spot among the best laptops.
- Apple keyboard face-off: Are the MacBook Pro's 'scissor' keys really better?
- MacBook Pro (16 inch, 2019) review
- Apple 2020 iPad Pro rumor roundup: Everything you need to know
How many of these features will make it into the smaller MacBook Pro this year? And what would we like to see? Here is everything you need to know about the 2020 MacBook Pro, including pricing, release date and possible specs.
MacBook Pro 2020 price and release date
There haven't been any specific pricing rumors regarding the upcoming MacBook Pros yet, but history suggests that Apple will retain the base pricing on each model.
Despite the slightly larger screen in last year's 16-inch MacBook Pro, the starting price remained at $2,399. It's not unreasonable to expect the smaller model to retain its $1,299 entry price.
The latest rumors suggest that the first MacBook Pro arriving this year is a refreshed 13-inch MacBook Pro with at least the new scissor-style Magic Keyboard and an updated Intel 10th Generation (Ice Lake) processor. A larger update to the 16-inch MacBook Pro is not expected until late Q3 or Q4, and it's possible this is when we will see the rumored 14.1-inch MacBook Pro introduced.
MacBook Pro 2020 design and specs
While the now-iconic unibody aluminum look of the MacBook Pros is not likely to change this year, rumors suggest quite a few internal changes for the smaller MacBook Pro in 2020.
One of the more significant changes will be the rumored move to a mini-LED display. Not only should this offer improved black levels, contrast ratios and higher brightness levels, but it should also bring with it a further reduction to the bezels on the MacBook Pros.
Early reports said that these screens wouldn't be ready until late Q4 of 2020 or Q1 of 2021, and more-recent rumors suggest the earlier end of this projection.
Naturally, the scissor-style Magic Keyboard of the 16-inch MacBook Pro is expected to hit the rest of the lineup, and it can't get here soon enough.
Moving to the processor, rumors indicate that the 13-inch MacBook Pro will get a 10th Generation Intel (Ice Lake) processor. It stands to reason that this will be what is used across the line in 2020. The 16-inch MacBook Pro (2019) used the same, 9th Generation processor as its predecessor, so this should be a refreshing performance upgrade for each of the smaller MacBook Pros.
With that said, evidence of AMD APU support has shown up in macOS Catalina code recently, hinting at a possible move to AMD for Apple in the future. At this time, there's not a lot to go on here, but it would certainly be a big move and one we'll keep our eye on, especially since AMD's new, 4000-Series chips promise big gains over Intel processors.
Rumors also claim that Apple is contemplating a move to custom ARM-based laptops, but there is little chance the MacBook Pro would be the testbed for this move.
What we want from the MacBook Pro 2020
Reliable keyboard: This probably goes without saying, but having personally gone through the MacBook Pro keyboard-exchange program multiple times over the last few years, I can confirm that the new scissor-style Magic Keyboard needs to be in every MacBook in 2020.
The same (or lower) price: Holding the line is all that we are asking for on pricing with the MacBook Pro in 2020. While Apple commands a premium over its Windows-based competitors, the company has avoided price creep with its high-end laptops in recent years. It would be welcome news if Apple resisted bumping up the starting price of these upcoming laptops.
4K screen: Given that the target audience for the MacBook Pro consists of professionals, and often creative professionals, a higher-resolution option should be available. This doesn't need to become the base resolution; plenty of users would prefer the additional battery life of a 1080p panel, but the competition has been offering 4K resolution for years.
Face ID: This was introduced back in 2017 with the iPhone X, and it seems like it's time for the technology to transition over to laptops. Touch ID works well, and the separation from the rest of the Touch Bar was a welcome change with the 16-inch MacBook Pro. But Apple leads in the area of facial recognition in mobile, and the company could easily do so in the laptop market.
Wi-Fi 6: We are still in the relatively early days for Wi-Fi 6, but a flurry of new options that support the wireless standard hit the market last year, and prices on some of the best Wi-Fi 6 routers are dropping. Given the cost and, hopefully, longevity of a MacBook Pro, it would be nice to feel future-proofed with Wi-Fi 6 support.