Back in February 2019 well respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted there were to be a raft of Pro related Apple products due to be released during 2019. He advised us to watch out for the new Mac Pro, with companion 31.6” 6K screen and an ‘all-new’ 16-inch MacBook Pro. The first two have been announced and it looks like the all new 16” MacBook Pro will be announced in September or October 2019. In this article we will outline what we know so far about this latest MacBook Pro.
Ming-Chi Kuo is an analyst at TF International Securities and gathers intelligence from his contacts in Apple's Asian supply chain, translating the information he gleans into research notes for clients. These are considered by many to be a solid look at Apple's future plans and while they accept that he is not always correct, his predictions on future Apple products are accurate enough to make him one of the most reliable sources for Apple rumours.
Not content with the 6-core MacBook Pro released in 2018 with the option of i9 processors and 32G of RAM, with the ensuing overheating scare that Apple were able to resolve with a firmware update, back in February 2019, before Apple announced the 8-core 15” MacBook Pro machines, Ming-Chi Kuo has produced a report saying that Apple are planning a 16" MacBook Pro. Unfortunately, we understand that his report or ‘research note’, as he often describes them, provides little more info beyond that it is an "all-new" design, which is being considered as Apple planning to overhaul their current MacBook Pro design.
Scroll forward to June 2019 and another ‘source’ this time Jeff Lin, Associate Director, Consumer Electronics at IHS Markit said in an email referring to the 16” MacBook Pro said…
"We foresee that Apple will release a new product [at the] Sep’19 Apple event if there’s no unexpected development issue,"
In their "IHS Markit Q1’19 Mobile PC Market Tracker." Jeff describes the future MacBook Pro as having a "new display size (16 inch), new Mac OS (Catalina) & CPU".
If the IHS Markit data is accurate, Apple will opt for a higher resolution screen going from the current 2,880 x 1,800 up to a 3,072 x 1,920 resolution LCD, not an OLED display, as had been previously rumoured, which is interesting as both Hewlett-Packard and Dell are reported to be moving to OLED displays on some of their 15.6-inch laptops. Another piece of evidence is a Taiwanese company, believed to be the only supplier for the 16” MBP backlight module, has just reported that their revenue to June was up by 14.7%, which is being taken as a sign that they are busy making parts for the latest MacBook Pro, with the same report quoted as saying that “the new 16-inch MacBook Pro will be mass-produced in the fourth quarter”.
More evidence comes in the form of Apple registering seven unreleased Mac models in the Eurasian Economic Commission database in June, including A2141, A2147, A2158, A2159, A2179, A2182, and A2251, according to listings uncovered by MacRumors. Currently 3 of these new model numbers are yet to be taken up.
Another piece of the jigsaw is a report from the Economic Daily News report quoting Taiwanese supply chains, that Apple will launch the 16” MacBook Pro in October as well as appearing to confirm the 3,072 x 1,920 screen resolution and the high price, and that it is to be assembled by Quanta and Foxconn, although it’s not clear whether some of this report is another source or a repeat of previous predictions by Ming-Chi Kuo and others.
OLED Displays Coming Soon
There are also suggestions that Apple will be changing over to OLED screens soon, although it doesn’t look as though this will be in time for the October launch of the 16”MBP as it has also been suggested that Apple is in talks with Samsung to procure its OLED screens for future MacBook Pros and iPads, to counteract the shortfall of take up for iPhone and iPad screens due to less than predicted sales of Apple devices.
With Apple dropping the last MBP without a touch bar, we can be pretty confident than the ‘all-new’ MBP will have a touch bar and it is also generally accepted than they will manage to get the 16” screen in the same form factor by reducing the size of the bezel, rather than increasing the size of the laptop.
It is also being suggested that this new MacBook Pro, which would have the largest screen for an Apple laptop since they retired the 17” MBP in 2012, would have the 9th generation H series mobile Intel processors, such as the Core i9-9980HK 8-core processor, which is already in the 2019 refresh of the 15-inch MacBook Pro.
UPDATE: The use of 9th gen Coffee Lake H mobile series processors, which are Intel's fastest 45-watt mobile processors to date boasting as many as 8 cores, has been conformed by Jeff Lin at IHS Markit stating that the “16-inch MBP will use the Intel Coffee Lake-H Refresh”.
Another question is what graphics card the new 16” model would get. It could be the same graphics card as in the May 2019 8-core 15.4-inch MacBook Pro configurable up to Radeon Pro Vega 20 graphics with 4GB of HBM2 memory, or there are suggestions that it could be a future AMD Radeon RDNA (formerly codenamed "Navi") but currently there is little detail on this card as AMD hasn't specified what it will look like yet.
What Will It Look Like?
As with most Apple announcements what a new product will look like is usually the best kept part of the secret. However EverythingApplePro have produced a video showing their concept for what the 16”MBP might look like.
As you can see in the video, the EverythingApplePro concept of how the 16” MBP might look, it has a near bezel-less LCD display. Not unsurprisingly on both sides of the keyboard you can see speaker grills, but look closely and you will see that the speaker grills are also ventilation and use the same design as Apple have used on the new Mac Pro.
The designer of this concept view of the yet to be announced MacBook Pro has included three Thunderbolt 3 ports on the right-hand side together with a Face ID system hidden beneath the display, so that it maintains the edge-to-edge design.
UPDATE: This concept has been confirmed by reports from the Apple supply chain reported by Digitimes claiming that Apple is achieving a bigger screen with its 16-inch MacBook Pro by utilizing narrower bezels, allowing it to use the same case as the current 15-inch model.
UPDATE: 15” MacBook Pro To Be Discontinued And Replaced by 16 Inch models
In his most recent note Jeff Lin, Associate Director, Consumer Electronics at IHS Markit has said that the 15.4 inch MacBook Pro will end production in November 2019, adding “We think 15.4 [inch] MacBook volumes will shift to 16 [inch]". however, since this first email Jeff has revised this to say…
“It is confirmed from an OEM & panel supplier that 15.4-inch MacBook Pro production will end in November. I am pretty sure that MacBook 15.4” will be EOL [End-of-Life]."
When Will It Be Announced?
There are two schools of thought with regard to when Apple will announce the new 16” MBP. If IHS Markit is correct then Apple would announce it in September, but the September event is typically reserved for iPhone announcements and so a Mac announcement would go against the norm and could distract from the new iPhone 11 announcements. However, there are suggestions that Apple might value a distraction from what some are calling an “anaemic” iPhone 11 launch.
The other option is that Apple would wait until the October event to announce the 16” MacBook Pro. Historically Apple has used the October date to launch new Mac machines. The Economic Daily News report would suggest that October is the more likely option.
UPDATE: Jeff Lin, Associate Director, Consumer Electronics at IHS Markit has announced that the 16” MacBook Pro will go into production next month with an initial production run of 39,000 units per month.
As to price the consensus seems to be around the mid $3,000 mark which has been confirmed again by the latest report from the Economic Daily News report.
What Do You Think?
Is the extra resolution and small amount of screen real estate worth having? It seems from the information we have so far that the size may be the only ‘new’ thing we get, with the processors and graphics card likely to be the same as the May 2019 MacBook Pro, unless Apple has kept some more significant new features under wraps.