It has been almost three years now since Apple last redesigned the MacBook Pro lineup. While the addition of the OLED Touch Bar and larger touchpad have been nice touches, Windows laptops are now picking up slimmer bezels and other features which make the MacBook look a bit old in comparison.
But rumors have been afloat about what the 2019 MacBook Pro will be like. Here’s what we know so far.
Price and release date
Currently, there are not many rumors as to when you can expect the 2019 MacBook Pro, but we can go based off Apple’s previous launch records to come to a would-be launch date. The most recent update to the MacBook Pro lineup was released in July 2018, and a launch happened right before that in June 2017. But for a larger revamp like we’re expecting, WWDC in June or a fall event is more likely.
As for pricing, the current non-Touch Bar MacBook Pro lineup is led by a $1,300 13-inch model with seventh generation Intel Core i5 Processor, 8GB RAM, and a 128GB SSD. A 13-inch model with the Touch Bar and 8th-generation processors ups the price to $1,800. As for the 15-inch version, prices start at $2,400, so you can expect Apple to keep any new MacBook models in the same price range.
A complete redesign
With the news that a 16-inch MacBook Pro model could join the family, it is likely that it could revamp the entire lineup down to 13, 15, and 16-inch sizes. We expect that’ll become the most expensive MacBook. Considering the nearly $1,100 difference between the 13-inch and 15-inch version, it wouldn’t be surprising if the new 16-incher hits the $3,000 price range. More screen means more money, right?
Other than Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo revealing that 2019 MacBooks will pick up an “all-new” design, there’s not much known about what the next version will look like. Apple last revamped the MacBook Pro lineup in 2016 by cutting down its weight adding a Retina display, the OLED touch bar, and Thunderbolt-3 ports. However, following the pattern of what Huawei and Dell have done with the XPS 13 or Matebook X Pro, slimmer bezels now would be a good option. It also would be nice to see the return of more ports, including an SD Card slot, and maybe USB-A, but this remains doubtful as even the MacBook Air 2018 doesn’t feature those.
With Samsung working on 4K OLED panels for laptops, one can hope that slim bezel displays could also make its way over to a new MacBook. These panels were confirmed to be shipping to laptop makers in February and would make a nice upgrade over the current generation Retina display.
In addition to a change in the display, the 2019 MacBook could have a different type of keyboard. A recent patent shows that Apple was considering a transformable glass keyboard for MacBook. This would come as a massive improvement over the current generation Butterfly keyboard. The patent suggests a multi-layered system with a transformable piece of glass on the top layer and a touch-sensing layer beneath it. The first glass layer could also be altered, which allows the bottom of the laptop case to have room for a touchscreen.
Since MacBooks are powered by MacOS, features in the operating system can be tied to new hardware. New MacOS updates are typically announced at WWDC, with the most recent MacOS Mojave still following the pattern of being named locations in California.
That said, a patent from 2017 indicated that Apple could be considering adding hand and eye tracking to MacOS. It’s been available in Windows 10 for a while, and this would be a feature that could possibly make its way over to new MacBooks. Additionally, it would be nice to see if Apple could add in support for FaceID to MacOS. We’ve seen this on the company’s latest iPads and iPhones, and considering that most Windows laptops already support facial recognition with Windows Hello, it is a glaring omission from the Mac.
Another new feature on the software side of the 2019 MacBook Pro could be the ability to download and use iPad apps. A recent report from Bloomberg hinted that Apple will be combining iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps by the year 2021. The first wave of the change could involve allowing developers to port iPad apps over to the Mac with a new SDK coming in June of 2019 — timed perfectly for the summer release of a new MacBook.
The MacBook Lineup has taken the jump from Kaby Lake processors in 2017 to Coffee Lake processors in 2018, and, following the pattern, the next 2019 MacBook will again likely have Intel’s latest processors. The more obvious upgrade would be to the current Whiskey Lake Processors, which were announced in August of 2018 but are already powering some of the latest Windows laptops. The chipset would bring support for integrated Gigabit Wi-Fi, as well as subtle performance jumps when web-browsing.
More interestingly, Anandtech recently reported that new 9th-generation processors are incoming on laptops, in both the Core i7 and Core i9 variants. As Forbes points out, these would be successors to last year’s 8th-gen Core i9, which debuted in the 15-inch MacBook Pro last summer. At the top of the range would be the Core i9-9880H, which comes with eight cores and sixteen threads.
While a bit far off and timed for Winter 2019, Intel’s upcoming Ice Lake processors also could also be a bet but remains doubtful. However, the release date is out of the typical summer release date for MacBooks. Another wild shot could also be ARM processors, but Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously indicated that Apple won’t be pushing those out until 2020. Intel is also expecting that change to happen in 2020, according to a recent report from Axios.