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Hello again: What to expect from Apple's Mac event on Thursday

Caitlin McGarry | Oct. 27, 2016
Apple is gearing up to release a full slate of new MacBooks.

If you’ve been waiting patiently to pull the trigger on a new Mac purchase, get ready for Thursday. Apple’s legacy product lineup is feeling a little neglected as of late, with the company prioritizing the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch this year. The 12-inch MacBook saw a minor upgrade in April, but that laptop isn’t for everyone—it has just one port for both charging and connecting to peripheral devices. But on Oct. 27, Apple has invited the press (including Macworld) to Cupertino for an announcement. The only hint: “Hello again.”

Of course, anyone familiar with Apple remembers Steve Jobs introducing the first Macintosh in January 1984 by having the computer speak. Its first word: “Hello.” New Macs are obviously on the horizon. Here’s what (we think) we know about the overhauled lineup:

MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro is long overdue for an upgrade, having languished since 2012. This will be the star of Apple’s “Hello again” event. According to Bloomberg, the 13-inch and 15-inch models will be thinner and lighter, but the biggest change is an OLED touchscreen display on the keyboard where the function keys would be. The Magic Toolbar, as Apple has reportedly named it, would make the keyboard contextually relevant, with the ability to change keys depending on which app you’re using. Ideally this feature would be open to third-party developers.

macbook pro magic toolbar touch id
The Magic Toolbar has a Touch ID button for logging in and using Apple Pay.

KGI Securities, a reliable source of Apple analysis and predictions, backs up the Bloomberg report with expectations of a Retina 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro with OLED touchscreen bar. As leaked by Apple itself, the Pro will include Touch ID for Apple Pay, which makes sense given that macOS Sierra supports the use of Apple Pay on the web. It’s unclear what the next-gen Pro’s internals will look like, though KGI anticipates “many” major upgrades.

macbook pro magic toolbar

The Magic Toolbar replaces the top row of keys on a traditional Mac keyboard. Yes, including the Escape key, which will now need a software equivalent. 

Other Pro rumors indicate that Apple is ditching its USB-A ports for USB-C, like the 12-inch MacBook, which wouldn’t be a terrible move now that many adapters, docks, and peripheral devices are compatible with USB-C. But banishing the HDMI, Thunderbolt 2, USB, and HDMI slots in favor of four USB-C ports sure would be a shock to the system. The USB-C ports support both USB-C and Thunderbolt 3, but get ready to buy some dongles for any peripheral devices you own that aren’t USB-C or Thunderbolt 3.

 

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