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Weâ€™ve been hearing rumours of a mysterious new 16-inch MacBook Pro since February, although itâ€™s been less clear as to exactly what Apple has in store for this new flagship MacBook and when we may actually see it arrive â€” some have suggested a late 2019 release, while other reports pegged it as a major redesign thatâ€™s in the works for 2021.
Now a new report from IHS Markit, via Forbes, not only reiterates that the 16-inch premium MacBook is coming very soon, but sheds a bit more light on exactly where itâ€™s going to fit into Appleâ€™s lineup.
IHS Markit analyst Jeff Lin, who already went on the record in June predicting a September release of the 16-inch MacBook Pro, is now back with a few more salient details, including a production timeline and some specs on the device. According to Lin, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is expected to begin production next month, which could push the release timeline off a bit from his original September prediction, and Apple is expected to begin cranking out 39,000 units per month.
16-inch is the New 15-inch
More significantly, however, Lin says that the new 16-inch MacBook Pro will be a replacement for Appleâ€™s current 15-inch MacBook Pro, spelling the end of the line for the 15.4-inch screen size. According to Lin, Apple plans to end production for the 15 inch MacBook Pro in November, shifting it over to the new 16-inch models instead.
If true, this would be a bit surprising considering that Apple just refreshed its entire MacBook Pro lineup over the past three months, with some pretty healthy upgrades to the 15-inch MacBook Pros. The top of the line models gained an insanely powerful Intel ninth-generation octo-core CPU based on the bleeding edge Coffee Lake HR architecture, and in fact the Intel i9-9980HK CPU found in that model is the pinnacle of Intelâ€™s ninth-gen mobile chips, and it was quite an engineering feat for Apple to squeeze it into the MacBook Proâ€™s classic slim form factor.
Still, it wouldnâ€™t be entirely unprecedented for Apple to do such a thing, especially if itâ€™s to make room for a significant redesign â€” something that hasnâ€™t happened in a while. Although Apple doesnâ€™t typically release major MacBook updates so close together, it did happen back in 2013 with the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, and for a far less exceptional update than a new 16-inch MacBook Pro would represent.
An Expensive Powerhouse
By all reports, however, this new 16-inch MacBook Pro is going to pick up the baton from the just-refreshed 15-inch and run with it even further, likely taking the first big step toward more significant upgrades to come.
According to Lin, the new 16-inch MacBook Pro is going to also use the latest Intel Coffee Lake HR chips â€” the same ones found on the 15.4-inch MacBook Pro â€” but may in fact start using the 8-core chips as a baseline configuration. This would certainly explain other recent rumours that this could be the most expensive MacBook that Apple has ever released, with prices starting at $3,000. While some believed that would put it into the same class as Appleâ€™s long-retired 17-inch MacBook Pro, which previously held that pricing distinction, the fact that itâ€™s replacing the 15-inch model suggests that itâ€™s going to be the new normal for Appleâ€™s high-end MacBooks, rather than a higher tier.
Everything Else We Know
Lin also previously reported that the new MacBook Pro will feature an LG-made LCD display with a resolution of 3072 x 1920, and the same 227 ppi pixel density of Appleâ€™s other recent MacBooks. This would make it the highest-resolution screen that Apple has ever put on a MacBook, since the larger 17-inch MacBook Pro was discontinued before Appleâ€™s switch to Retina Displays.
It also seems likely that Apple isnâ€™t planning to increase the footprint of the new MacBook Pro, but will instead shrink the bezel to get a larger screen into a similar device, with supply chain reports suggesting the company is working on an â€œultra-narrow bezelâ€ that could result in an almost edge-to-edge display akin to Appleâ€™s iPhone X series devices.
Apple is also expected to ditch the problematic butterfly keyboard in the 16-inch MacBook Pro, in favour of a return to the old â€œscissor-switchâ€ style with a much-improved new design. The new keyboards will likely eventually come to all of Appleâ€™s MacBooks, as the butterfly keyboards have turned out to be a big thorn in the companyâ€™s side, but it does seem reasonable that a redesigned 16-inch MacBook Pro would be an ideal place to debut the new design.
[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]