A thinner, lighter MacBook Pro must be par for the course when Apple's designers sit down and pull the sketch pads out for the line's near-annual refresh. But the next revision of Apple's laptops may see the most significant addition since the inclusion of a Force Touch trackpad – could a touch-sensitive OLED bar be about to replace the row of function keys at the top of the MacBook keyboard?
That's what 9to5Mac sources, and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, each seem to be predicting. It wouldn't be the first time we've seen something similar – Razer's Switchblade attempted something similar, as did Lenovo with its short-lived adaptive keyboard panel in its ThinkPad series. The potential for a row of keys that adapts to your given task is still an idea full of possibility, and where Windows-based machines have failed in similar attempts, Apple as both hardware and software platform holders could integrate some useful functionality.
Elsewhere, the rumour mill suggests a Touch ID fingerprint scanner will finally make its way to Mac, with the laptops supporting USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity. And they'll of course be getting thinner and lighter, thanks to a new metal-injection moulded hinge that apes ideas seen in Microsoft's Surface Book. In addition, a new 13-inch MacBook model will join the current 12-inch Retina MacBook, alongside a 15-inch machine by the end of the year.
Interesting ideas then, but nothing new, and surely nothing that Apple couldn't have achieved years ago. If true, it does beg the question of why now? Beyond, at least, needing a new feature to slap on a new poster. [9to5Mac]