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What to expect from Apple’s MacBook launch event?

tech Updated: Oct 27, 2016 19:32 IST
Anirban Ghoshal
Anirban Ghoshal
Hindustan Times
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Called the best product ever produced by Apple, the MacBook Pro is set to get an update for the first time after 2013 when it was launched.

In just a few hours, the new MacBooks will be unveiled and MacBook fans are waiting eagerly for it.

Called the best product ever produced by Apple, the MacBook Pro is set to get an update for the first time after 2013 when it was launched. Earlier, changes to the external design to the Pro was disregarded but new leaked images suggest that the MacBook is all set to get slimmer, get a new OLED bar instead of the function keyboard, add a fingerprint sensor or touch ID and shed USB ports for smaller USB Type-C ports/

Also, references within El Capitan’s code suggest a new machine could be in the works, which would enable the company to benefit from the last two years of processor advances. The chips could also go through a change and Apple might have to choose between Skylake and E5 V4 Broadwell chips.

Read more: Farewell large USBs? Apple might do it again with Macs after 3.5 mm jack drop

Coming to the MacBook Air, there might be some bad news. Apple may be considering retiring the Air. Also, the Mac mini missed out on being updated in 2015 users can hope to see a 2016 update to the machine that is currently using Haswell processors.

However, there definitely will be some incremental updates in terms of new technology and features. Here are just a few:

Processors

The new MacBook Pro models are likely to feature processors drawn from Intel’s sixth-generation Skylake chip family, or from the brand-new seventh-gen Kaby Lake family. But there is a third possibility: that Apple will switch over to ARM processors.

Currently, the 12-inch MacBook, updated earlier this year, is the only member of Apple’s laptop line-up to offer Skylake, which will bring significant performance gains to the new MacBook Pro, too, making it an even faster machine. Competitors including HP, Dell and Microsoft have already moved to Skylake, so Apple is beginning to look like it’s trailing behind.

The processor can improve battery life and efficiency with macOS Sierra. The 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro already offers 10 hours of battery life and the 15-inch model offers 8 hours but something over 10 hours or close to it will make the Pro more desirable.

Read more: MacBook launch: Will the new PCs cure Apple’s Achilles heel in India?

If Apple goes with a Kaby Lake processor, which Intel has just started shipping, then the MacBook will get support Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 and DisplayPort 1.2. But there is a catch because Kaby Lake processors are expected to ship late in 2016 or early 2017. Some rumours suggest that the processors may have arrived earlier as Dell and HP have announced laptops with the latest processors.

But what happens if Apple chooses ARM? The Dutch-language site Techtastic has posted a reference in the kernel of macOS Sierra to “ARM HURRICANE”, a chip family that is now supported. The chip has never been heard of but if put in perspective of Apple’s chip nomenclature then it makes perfect sense as the A7 was codenamed Cyclone, the A8 Typhoon and the A9 Twister. Those are iPad/iPhone chips, of course.

Read more: Second leak: Apple MacBook Pro images with OLED touchbar leaked

Display or Screen

The Pro of 2016 is expected to run a 2304 x 1440 resolution, which will be the same resolution as the current 12-inch models. Apple may raise the pixels per inch from 226 pixels per inch (ppi) to 400-500ppi.

One MacBook Pro rumour doing the rounds goes as far as to say that the 2016 models will have a touchscreen, and that it might even be detachable from the screen a lot like the Surface Book.

Read more: How and where to watch Apple’s MacBook launch event?

Graphics

Both AMD and nVidia are looking to introduce new GPU products in 2016 which some suggest could make their way to the 2016 MacBook Pro, along with other Mac products. AMD is planning to release GPUs based on Global Foundries 14 nm FinFET processor node, while nVidia is releasing something slightly different - GPUs based on the slightly larger 16 nm FinFET Plus processor node. Both the AMD and nVidia GPUs should bring significant gains in graphics performance, an area that needs some TLC - especially with regards to gaming on a Mac.

However, rumours suggests that the latest MacBook may have AMD graphics support.