Mysterious New MacBook Pro Appears in FCC Filings

Macbook Pro Touchscreen Keyboard Credit: Behance / FVRKNA
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A mysterious new MacBook Pro appears to have surfaced in now-retracted FCC documents, providing another look into Apple’s plans for its MacBook lineup later this year.

First discovered by a user on Reddit, the FCC approval Identifies the unit as a MacBook Pro with a model number of A2159 — one of the seven models that appeared in Eurasian Economic Commission filings last month. While the ECC database filings only provided model numbers with virtually no other details, the FCC documentation gives us slightly — but only slightly — more details.

Most notably, a figure showing the certification label indicates that it’s rated for 20.3 volts at 3 amps, which would be equivalent to 61 watts and therefore most likely put it in the class of a 13-inch MacBook Pro, since the 15-inch MacBook Pro models are currently rated for 87 watts. However, it’s not impossible that an entirely new model — even Apple’s rumoured 16-inch MacBook Pro — could operate with lower power consumption, particularly with Apple’s strong focus on environmental responsibility in its products.

However, if the filing does in fact refer to a 13-inch MacBook Pro, it would most likely be the standard, non-Touch Bar model, since Apple just refreshed the rest of its MacBook Pro lineup last month. The non-Touch Bar MacBook Pro hasn’t seen an update since 2017, so it’s certainly due for an update unless Apple is planning to simply discontinue it entirely. This isn’t the first indication we’ve heard that Apple may in fact be planning a refresh of that model; IHS Market analyst Jeff Lin also suggested this possibility last week.

It’s worth keeping in mind, however, that there have been several rumours of Apple working on a 16-inch MacBook Pro that could debut as early as this fall. While there’s been some conflicting information on what this new MacBook Pro will look like, and exactly when it’s coming, putting the puzzle pieces together suggests that Apple could be planning to release the debut 16-inch model in September, with an even newer model with a microLED screen still a couple of years out.

Meanwhile, 9to5Mac, which seems to be convinced the filing specifically refers to a 13-inch MacBook Pro, suggests that it might include 32 GB of RAM — a capacity previously unavailable in Apple’s 13-inch MacBooks. As MacRumors notes, FCC approvals normally appear very close to the launch of a new machine, however it also seems like the publication of the documentation may have been in error, as it was pulled by the FCC only a few hours after it first appeared.

The model number itself is also interesting, as all of Apple’s MacBooks thus far have used A1000-series model numbers, which also seem to be loosely connected to their year of release. For example, Apple’s 2017-era MacBook Pros had model numbers of A1706, A1707, and A1708, while its more modern lineup for 2018 and 2019 both share the A1989 and A1990 model numbers. Similarly, last October’s MacBook Air is A1932, and the 12-inch MacBook, which originally debuted in 2015, continues to be identified as model A1534.

With all of these numbers in mind, a model number of A2159 — a range currently only used by Apple’s latest 2019 iMacs — could indicate that Apple is working on something entirely new and different from its current MacBook lineup, and in fact all of the new models found in the ECC database last month are in the same A21xx series, suggesting that Apple is more likely working on a completely new lineup of MacBooks rather than simply a refresh of existing models.

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