Upcoming MacBook Pro update could kill function keys, replace them with touchscreen

new macbook offers usb speeds 10 gbps possibly thunderbolt 3 pro
Apple could be set to bring a newly revamped MacBook Pro to the table by the end of this year, with rumors abound that it will be lighter, thinner, feature a new OLED touch bar above the keyboard itself, and will even support the Touch ID fingerprint security system into its design.

Related: There’s a Macbook Pro for everyone, find yours here

Although unconfirmed by official sources, as you would expect from Apple, this news comes from respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo at KGI Securities, and corroborated by separate sources known to 9to5Mac and others.

The rumored OLED touch bar is designed to replace the traditional physical function buttons that are usually present on the MacBook Pro (and used to control features like display brightness or speaker volume). The new panel will provide all the function they ever did and more.

Touch ID is also rumored, but it’s not clear if that touch bar will also handle the fingerprint input for Touch ID scanning. A separate rumor making the rounds late last week said Touch ID compatibility will be enabled for iPhone and iPad users who pair their mobile device to their Mac.

Unsurprisingly, rumors also suggest there will be 13-inch and 15-inch models, each thinner and lighter than previous generations of the notebook. Both are said to feature a revamped, injection molded hinge design — though the benefits of that approach aren’t yet clear.

They are also rumored to support USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3, though considering how Apple has preferred to trim down ports on its laptops in recent years, we wouldn’t expect too many connectors to be present on a revamped frame.

We expect these newly retooled MacBook Pro models to appear later this year, alongside a new 13-inch MacBook which will see some simple upgrades to improve performance and bring it in line with the 12-inch retina model.

As we’ve pointed out in the past, the current MacBook line-up is weaker than ever due to outdated hardware and aging chassis design. Apple desperately needs to launch impressive new notebooks if it’s to keep up the brand’s reputation for cutting-edge hardware in all spaces where it competes. A unique touch sensitive input bar is the kind of feature Apple needs to include to steal the spotlight back from its Windows competition.

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