With numerous reports suggesting that Apple will launch a new MacBook Pro range in late October, one sketchy rumor suggests that the keynote presentation will take place on October 24. A Monday doesn’t seem particularly likely, and the ‘multiple sources’ cited are apparently just anonymous emails, but sometime around that date seems more likely than not. Logic dictates that a new OS update will be required for these new machines and if they were ready late September/early October, Apple would have added them to the September event.

Additionally, Apple is known for its late October launches, having had one in October four of the past five years (skipping last year) and it wants to have its channel full of inventory for the runup to the holidays in November.  So October is a safe guess for upcoming products…

IHS Securities – known for its cost-focused teardowns of Apple kit – also predicted recently that we’d be seeing a new 13-inch MacBook Air alongside the new MacBook Pro machines, supporting an earlier Bloomberg report suggesting a new iMac and 5k display (yes please!) at the same time.

MacRumors also says that its ‘understanding’ is that ‘the company’s current development work on macOS 10.12.1 focused largely on preparing the operating system to support the updated hardware’s new features.’

Apple will of course need to ensure that macOS Sierra supports the two rumored hardware additions to the upcoming MacBook Pro range …

We’re expecting the 2016 MacBook Pro to feature an OLED touchscreen in place of the physical function keys. Leaked images appear to show space for this bar, along with four USB-C ports. There appears to be support for my own theory that the touchscreen bar will be able to offer application-specific shortcuts as well as access to the universal controls currently offered by the function keys.

The other significant new hardware feature we’re expecting is a Touch ID power button. This is likely to offer support for Apple Pay on the web, which currently requires handoff to an iPhone, as well as unlocking the Mac itself.

We’ve already seen clues in macOS Sierra in terms of support for both features.

We’re expecting the new machines to feature Intel Skylake processors, and an option for AMD’s Polaris GPUs. Apple has also been exploring the possibility of removing the headphone socket, but it seems unlikely it will do so this year,

In terms of form-factor, the new MacBook Pro is pegged to have a smaller footprint and be thinner than existing models, but not to use the same wedge shape as the 12-inch MacBook and MacBook Air machines. We’ve seen a number of concepts showing how the new machines might look.

I’m not expecting to get everything I want from the new machine, but will almost certainly bite the bullet and downgrade from my 17-inch beast to get the latest tech. What about you? Based on what you’ve seen and heard so far, are you planning to buy a new MacBook Pro next month? Take our poll and share your thoughts in the comments.

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About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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