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After a ton of speculation, we finally have a good idea of when to expect updates to Apple’s MacBook lineup.
A recent report from the reliable KGI Securities Apple Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests new MacBooks will be with us no later than June. They will likely be announced during Apple’s annual WWDC conference. Kuo also pointed out that Apple’s MacBooks have experienced “solid growth” over the last year, especially compared to the declining PC market.
MacBooks are increasing in popularity in the enterprise market, Kuo noted, which is an area historically ruled by Microsoft Windows. All of this is great news for Apple’s MacBook lines, and gives the company a strong incentive to put substantial effort in the 2016 updates.
Kuo’s report did not give us a great idea of what specific upgrades to expect in the new MacBook models, but there are some near guarantees. Most notably will be the introduction of Intel’s most recent Skylake processors. Up to this point, the only Apple product to feature Intel’s latest and greatest is the 27” 5K iMac, which was updated toward the end of last year.
Intel released their Skylake processors last year and since most new PCs feature the chip, this update to the MacBook line is a bit overdue. The current 13-inch MacBook Pro is fitted with Intel’s Broadwell chipset, but the 15-inch is still stuck with the even older Haswell processor. Some reliable sources have suggested the blame for the slow adoption of Skylake in MacBooks lies with Intel rather than Apple citing supply issues. Either way, the Skylake processors will almost certainly make their way into Apple’s updated MacBook Pro line up this year.
Intel claims their Skylake chips will provide up to a 10-20% speed bump over their previous Broadwell models and up to 40% better graphics performance. However, the most notable feature of the Skylake chips are their energy efficiency. Intel claims Skylake chips offer power savings up to 15-30% over Broadwell. That amount is nothing to sneeze at, as it could equal out to an extra 2-3 hours of battery life. However, knowing Apple like we do, it’s most likely we will see Apple continue its obsession with thinner and lighter devices resulting MacBook Pros with a sleeker profile and the same battery life.
As we saw introduced on last year’s 12” MacBook, plan on seeing USB-C featured on every new MacBook this year. However, don’t be alarmed. I’m sure Apple wouldn’t dream of cutting the MacBook Pro lineup to one port. I would bet we see at least two USB-C ports on Pro models accompanied with a few other commonly used ports, like a headphone jack and possibly an SD Card slot.
As far as Thunderbolt ports, Intel has recently given USB-C ports the capability of incorporating Thunderbolt through their Skylake chips. So, I don’t envision there being any dedicated Thunderbolt ports in new Pro models. As far as the MacBook and possible MacBook Air updates, I bet Apple will continue the trend of eliminating as many ports as possible. Don’t be surprised to see only a USB-C port and headphone jack in the 2016 models.
Another new feature on my wish list is Touch ID. Although nothing has been confirmed, it sure would be nice to log into a MacBook with a fingerprint. This may be a longshot, and I imagine Apple will opt for a continuity approach allowing the use of Touch ID on the iPhone to unlock a MacBook before incorporating the hardware straight into their laptops.
So what’s on your wish list for the upcoming MacBooks? Let us know in the comments.
[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.]