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The 16-inch MacBook Pro may bring back the physical Esc key

Rumors about a redesigned MacBook Pro with a 16-inch screen have been buzzing for nearly all of 2019. The latest rumor indicates that Apple may be responding to one of the biggest complaints about the current MacBook Pro: the Touch Bar.

No, it’s not being removed entirely. However, according to an image found within the latest version of MacOS Catalina by 9to5Mac, there will be two big changes to the design of the Touch Bar. First, the Touch ID and integrated power button will be disconnected from the Touch Bar itself. It’s still within the frame of the keyboard, but it’s no longer directly attached to the Touch Bar itself, according to the leaked photo.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Secondly, the photo backs up earlier reporting that the Esc key would also be sectioned off from the Touch Bar as a physical key on the left side. In a sense it makes the Touch Bar slightly shorter on each side, while providing the added benefit of a physical Esc key when it’s needed. If this were indeed true, it would be a direct reaction to many complaints from Apple enthusiasts.

It looks as if the keyboard will be the main focus of Apple’s changes on a redesigned MacBook Pro. The company will also be replacing the butterfly mechanism keys with traditional scissor-style keys to combat the plagued durability of the newer design. These keyboard changes are rumored to come to the entire lineup, so future MacBooks and MacBook Airs should also receive the new keyboard changes.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro was once rumored to launch in the fall of 2019. But with October nearly over and newer reports pointing to an early 2020 launch, we’ll have to keep waiting. The earliest it could get announced would be in a special spring event in March. That would be an unprecedented time to launch a new design for the MacBook Pro, which is usually reserved for fall events. After that, WWDC is the next event, which takes place in early June.

That being said, with Apple’s sudden announcement of the AirPods Pro earlier this week, nothing’s off the table completely anymore.

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Luke Larsen
Luke Larsen is the Senior editor of computing, managing all content covering laptops, monitors, PC hardware, Macs, and more.
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