Apple is looking at revamping its MacBook and MacBook Pro (pictured) laptop line later this year with thinner and lighter designs, as well as Touch ID support and an OLED display touch bar, and with a new 13-inch MacBook model.
The rumored changes and updates were unveiled in an analyst note from Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at KGI Securities who often has information on Apple updates before anyone else, according to a May 23 story by 9to5Mac.
The "dramatically overhauled MacBook Pro" will arrive sometime in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to Kuo, with a "thinner and lighter design with design cues taken from the 12-inch MacBook," the story reported. Touch ID support and a new OLED display touch bar, which will replace the function keys at the top of the keyboard, will also be integrated into the new design. The next MacBook Pro models will come in 13-inch and 15-inch sizes and will be the "brightest spot for Apple's 2016 rollouts," Kuo wrote in his note.
The upcoming MacBook Pro design will also use new metal injection molded hinges as well as USB-C support and Thunderbolt 3 connectors, the story reported.
Kuo wrote that Apple is also expected to introduce a 13-inch MacBook that will be similar to the company's recently updated 12-inch Retina model. "According to Kuo, Apple plans to make the MacBook Air the entry-level option, while the MacBook will become the mid-tier choice and the MacBook Pro will remain the high-end variant," the story reported.
Of course, Kuo's insights are still based on just his own reports, and Apple could or could not make the changes described by the analyst.
In April, Apple updated its 12-inch MacBook with a round of key improvements, including the latest Intel Core M processors, faster graphics performance and flash storage, and as much as an hour of longer battery life, according to an earlier eWEEK story. The latest MacBooks will now feature sixth-generation dual-core Intel Core M processors with up to 1.3GHz speeds and faster 1,866MHz memory, as well as new Intel HD Graphics 515 graphics processing units that deliver up to 25 percent faster graphics performance, according to Apple. Also, faster PCIe-based flash storage will give the machines improved performance.
In addition, the new MacBooks now offer improved battery life for up to 10 hours of Web browsing and up to 11 hours of movie playback. In addition, all 13-inch MacBook Air computers now get 8GB of memory standard from Apple.
Also in April, Apple unveiled its smaller 9.7-inch iPad Pro tablet, which followed its 12.9-inch enterprise-aimed iPad Pro tablet that was launched in November 2015.
Apple's earlier 15-inch MacBook Pro was released in May 2015, according to an earlier eWEEK story. That machine received Apple's Force Touch trackpad as well as faster flash storage, longer battery life and faster discrete graphics. Force Touch includes built-in force sensors and a Taptic Engine that delivers haptic feedback, allowing users to click anywhere on the pad for a uniform feel.