Skip to main content

Apple’s MacOS Sierra documentation hints at Touch ID support, OLED touch bar in MacBooks

mac malware advanced cleaner macossierra 0015
Apple’s MacBook Pro lineup is getting a bit long in the tooth. The Cupertino company’s ostensibly top-tier laptops haven’t seen an update since 2015, and many still sport Intel’s aging Haswell chips — two generations behind the company’s latest silicon. But rumor has it the MacBook series is due for its most ambitious upgrade yet sometime this year, and developer references in Apple’s latest MacOS release, Sierra, lend credence to those rumblings.

Specifically, recently published API references on macOS Sierra’s developer website hint at new hardware in the rumored MacBook Pros. One with the colorfully descriptive “kHIDUsage_LED_DoNotDisturb” would seem to point to the presence of a physical “Dot Not Disturb” button on the upcoming laptops (on current-generation Macbook Pros, Do Not Disturb can only be toggled in software, within the macOS notifications pane. The conspicuous “kHIDUsage_LED,” meanwhile, appears to provide a means to display capacitive media playback buttons — i.e., rewind, play, pause, and fast forward — on a secondary screen.

Related Videos

Yet another, “kHIDUsage_LED_NightMode,” points to a hardware toggle for a color-shifting software mode — one perhaps like iOS’s Night Shift, which automatically adjusts screen tone to minimize eye strain at night. And they’re just the tip of the iceberg: Apple’s pages list hooks for screen-based message notifications (“kHIDUsage_LED_MessageWaiting”), microphone status (“kHIDUsage_LED_Microphone”), and even audio equalizer toggles (“kHIDUsage_LED_EqualizerEnable”).

That’s not all that the new macOS Sierra dev pages reference. A handful of related APIs — “kIOHIDBiometricDoubleTapTimeoutKey,” “kIOHIDBiometricTapTrackingEnabledKey,” and “kIOHIDBiometricTripleTapTimeoutKey” — indicate new biometric hardware of some sort, perhaps a Touch ID fingerprint sensor. And a resource for “USB Super Speed+,” the market-friendly name for USB 3.1, all but confirms the presence of upgraded ports. (The current Macbook Pro packs USB 3.0.)

In May, well-respected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo corroborated reports by 9to5Mac and others that refreshed MacBook Pro hardware was due out before the end of this year. The new laptops would be thinner and lighter, he said, and feature Touch ID sensors, several USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3 ports, and an OLED touch bar in place of the current models’ function keys. A hinge crafted by metal injection molding, a specialized process used to achieve a design thinner than otherwise possible, could be in tow, too, Kuo said.

Sales of Apple’s stagnating Mac lineup continue to fall ahead of the rumored new models’ unveiling. In April, the company reported a dip of 12 percent in unit shipments and a 9 percent decline in revenue. But Apple, too, faces a broader industry environment of downward-trending shipments: worldwide sales of PCs dipped 9.6 percent from the first quarter of 2015, according to market analytics firm Gartner — the sixth consecutive period of declines.

Editors' Recommendations

HP Dragonfly Pro vs. Apple MacBook Pro 14: a solid alternative?
The HP Dragonfly Pro Support app.

Apple's MacBook Pro 14 has taken over as the best 14-inch laptop you can buy today, thanks to great performance and battery life, a spectacular display, and an elegant, functional design. It's one of the best laptops you can buy, and it's just been upgraded with the newer Apple M2 Pro and Max CPUs for even better performance and efficiency.

HP introduced the Dragonfly Pro at CES 2023 to take on the MacBook Pro, and it has a pretty steep hill to climb. We haven't been able to review the laptop yet, but it marks an interesting switch for the Dragonfly to the consumer segment from the commercial market. Can HP's newly designated 14-inch machine take on the best?

Read more
2 ways the new MacBook Pro may be worse than the 2021 model
Apple MacBook Pro seen from the side.

The new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros have arrived, and in almost every way, they're a solid improvement over the 2021 models. They have better graphics, longer battery life, and faster connectivity. They look the same on the outside, but the internal upgrades are real.

But there are two aspects of these machines that may end up being worse than the original models from 2021 -- and they're not unimportant.

Read more
Here’s why people are saying to avoid the entry-level M2 Pro MacBook Pro
A person sitting in a vehicle using a MacBook Pro on their lap.

One thing Mac users have always been able to count on in recent years is the blazing speed of their computer’s storage. The brand-new M2 Pro MacBook Pro and M2 Mac mini, however, look set to be bitterly disappointing in that regard.

That’s because multiple outlets have confirmed that Macs outfitted with entry-level M2 chips (both the M2 itself and the M2 Pro) come with much slower read and write speeds compared to the previous-generation models. For instance, 9to5Mac benchmarked the new 14-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Pro chip and found its SSD’s read and write speeds dropped by 40% and 20% respectively.

Read more