Could the New MacBook Pro Be Getting a Notch?

MacBook Pro Concept 2021 Credit: Konstantin Milenin / Twitter
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Despite reports that Apple has been trying to eliminate the iPhone’s infamous notch for years, an eleventh-hour Mac rumour is suggesting that Apple might actually be adding a notch to the redesigned MacBook Pro models expected to be unveiled next week.

Apple’s 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro are both about to undergo what could be the biggest redesign in the product’s entire history, which means it’s hard to rule anything out. Combine this with multiple rumours over the past few years of Face ID also coming to the Mac, and it’s a very real possibility, even if it seems like an unlikely one at first glance.

To be fair, the rumours of this change come from unproven sources, but as MacRumors points out, there’s enough plausibility here that we could indeed be in for a big surprise on Monday.

Embracing the Notch

The rumour first surfaced on China’s Weibo social media service, where it was posted by a relatively unknown user who claimed that it would have a notch with a size similar to the one found on last year’s iPhone 12.

However, DuanRui, who seems to be plugged well into the leaker community, dismissed the rumour as a joke, suggesting that the news was “not true enough.”

Following this, though, an unknown Reddit user claimed to have spoken with supply chain sources, offering up second- and third-hand information that the notch is indeed real, but also that it’s oddly not being added to support Face ID.

The New MacBooks Pro

Most of the other things the Reddit user shares seemingly just confirm what we’ve already heard, while possibly expanding on a few other things:

  • The Touch Bar is going away, but Touch ID will remain.
  • The Touch ID sensor will gain a backlight to help users locate it in the dark.
  • The new Mini-LED displays are coming, and they’ll support HDR, but not necessarily 120Hz “ProMotion” refresh rates.
  • The “MacBook Pro” branding will go back to the bottom of the display, like the 2012–2015 Retina MacBook Pro models.
  • The entire keyboard area will be black, rather than just the keys themselves.
  • New ports will include a “new” MagSafe port for charging, an HDMI port for video, and an SD card slot.
  • There will be one less Thunderbolt/USB-C port, so three in total. While these can still be used for charging, the new MagSafe and HDMI ports should be a fair tradeoff here.

According to the post on Reddit, the notch won’t just be coming to the new MacBook Pro models, either. The colourful MacBook Air expected to arrive early next year will also feature the same notch.

Notably, the rumour claims that notch does not “house Face ID modules.” Instead, it’s just for a new 1080p camera, TrueTone sensors, and the mic array.

Since these currently sit above the screen area on the current MacBooks, it’s conceivable that Apple could simply want to make use of that extra dead zone that sits in the bezel above the display, in which case a notch would make sense.

What’s particularly interesting is that the Redditor did the math on this as well, and it seems to make sense. MacRumors found code in a macOS Monterey beta last month that revealed the new screen resolutions of the two new MacBook Pro models, coming in at 3,024 × 1,964 and 3,456 × 2,234 for the 14-inch and 16-inch sizes, respectively.

What’s notable, is that these don’t work out to a proper 16:10 aspect ratio — the dimensions used by all previous MacBooks — unless you subtract 74 pixels from the top, which is about the amount of space you might expect a notch to occupy. This would leave the main screen with a proper aspect ratio while leaving enough space beside the notch for the status bar, similar to what we see on the iPhone.

As odd as this seems in the midst of reports that Apple wants to move away from the iPhone’s notch, it’s important to keep in mind that we’ve never once heard Apple say that. Further, while Apple doesn’t go out of its way to talk about the notch, it also doesn’t make any effort to hide it. Marketing photos of every iPhone released since the notch became a thing have displayed vibrant wallpapers and other content that bring the notch out of the woodwork, rather than trying to downplay it.

Either way, we won’t have to wait long to find out. Apple is expected to unveil its new MacBook Pro lineup on Monday at its Unleashed event.

[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.]

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