MacBook Pro 2016 release date, news and rumors

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Apple’s MacBook Pro range hasn’t been updated for some time: the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina was refreshed in March 2015 and the 15-inch in May. New MacBook Pros are clearly imminent, especially considering Apple’s market share in the computing space fell 4.9% in Q2 2016 compared to the year prior.

The biggest change is likely to be in the Pros’ processors, and while there are rumours of detachable touchscreens we’d take them with a hefty pinch of salt.

Appearing more and more likely, though, is that a small, OLED display will take the place of the MacBook Pro‘s function keys in its 2016 revision. And, like theiPhone 7 before it, some are even suggesting the death of the 3.5mm headphone jack.

MacBook Pro 2016 release date

We expected to see the new MacBook Pro 2016 at Apple’s annual developer event, WWDC, this June. However, as reports had previously suggested, this year’s conference focused primarily on introducing new software updates rather than hardware. So even if there is a new MacBook Pro in the works, it took a backseat in June to iOS and macOS amendments.

Reports up to this point suggest the new hardware will feature hinges produced using a mechanism called ‘metal injection molding’. Said to be inspired by Microsoft’s Surface Pro line of devices, the hinges are apparently being manufactured by Ampenol, who makes hinges for Microsoft’s convertible tablet.

These hinges have purportedly begun shipment for the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Meanwhile, the 15-inch model’s hinges are set to arrive in the third quarter of the year, making the Q4 2016 release window argument even more convincing. Reports suggest that the new slim MacBooks will boast a quadruplet of USB-C ports, two on each side, perhaps complemented by additional color variations akin to the 12-inch MacBook.

MacBook Pro 2016 price

The current MacBook Pro range starts at £899 ($1,099) for the 13-inch non-Retina model, rising to £999 ($1,119) for the entry-level 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro and topping out at £1,999 ($2,099) for the 2.5GHz 15-inch Retina.

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The 13-inch non-Retina MacBook Pro, tucked away apologetically at the foot of Apple’s product page, surely can’t be long for this world; come the updates we’d expect it to vanish in favour of a Retina 13-inch model instead.

Apple tends to keep its pricing similar between generations, so an £899 entry-level Pro with Retina display is likely to be the baby of the range.

MacBook Pro 2016: what’s so special about Skylake?

The MacBook Pro is trailing PC rivals in the processor stakes: Dell and HP are moving on to the seventh-generation Intel Kaby Lake processors this fall, while Apple is still clinging to the fifth-generation Broadwell chips.

This year’s MacBook Pro, however, is believed to meet in the middle, purportedly sporting sixth-generation Skylake chips. The move to Skylake is likely to warrant massive speed improvements across the board in addition to more impressive battery lives.

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Skylake has some tricks up its silicon sleeve that Broadwell lacks, including support for WiGig and WiDi short-range, high speed data transfer as well as wireless charging. We may not see that flip of the switch in this year’s notebooks, but it’s possible nonetheless for Apple to tap into this functionality later on.

However, one thing Skylake can’t do is output 5K resolutions over a single cable stream. That’s why, in June, sources told Buzzfeed reporter John Paczkowski that Apple is working on a 5K external display complete with its own integrated graphics chip to handle the stream.This would theoretically replace the now-defunct Thunderbolt Display of yesteryear. The graphics, according toBloomberg reporter Mark Gurman should be based on AMD’s new Polaris architecture.

MacBook Pro 2016: fitter, happier, more productive

Faster is a given, better battery is almost certain. What about design changes? The current MacBook Pro is fairly porky compared to Apple’s other notebooks, especially the minimalist USB-C MacBook.

That’s partly because it’s an older design and partly because the current MacBook Pro boasts lots of ports: twin Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3, an HDMI socket and an SDXC card slot.

Apple isn’t sentimental about removing supposedly must-have features it deems redundant – the MacBook Pro lost its SuperDrive years ago – so could those ports be for the bullet too in favour of one or two USB-C ports? Reports seem to point to that. Not only is the MacBook Pro 2016 expected to feature USB Type-C ports, but on top of that, they’ll be USB 3.1 Gen 2, making them even faster than the first-gen port of the 12-inch MacBook.

It’s certainly possible, and if AppleInsider’s remarks on recent DigiTimes rumors are to be believed, it doesn’t appear all that unlikely either. Moreover, with Intel’s integration of Thunderbolt 3 in USB-C connections, USB, Thunderbolt, DisplayPort, PCI Express and power can be delivered over a single cable.

If the 2016 MacBook Pro doesn’t have at least one USB-C port we’ll eat an iPad – although it’ll be interesting to see how much Apple prizes thinness over existing connectivity.

USB-C has the bandwidth for daisy-chaining even the most demanding devices, and of course Apple is always happy to sell reassuringly expensive adapters when it bins a previously popular port.

MacBook Pro 2016: Touch ID and next-gen SSDs?

The Pros are all about performance, so will they get next-generation SSDs? It’s a nice thought, but while Intel’s blazingly quick Optane SSDs are destined for Macs, they aren’t likely to appear in any this side of 2017.

Another persistent rumour is TouchID fingerprint recognition, but that particular pundit also predicted TouchID in the recent Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad updates, which of course didn’t happen. A recent leak suggests, however, that a fall MacBook rollout will incorporate a power button featuring TouchID tech.

A stylus without a touchscreen

In a July patent approval, Apple suggested it was interested in extending Apple Pencil support beyond the limits of the iPad Pro’s touchscreen display and onto its Magic Trackpad. The speculation doesn’t stop there, of course, as this idea could easily translate to the onboard MacBook trackpads as well.

Don’t be surprised if, come Autumn, we see a revamped Apple Pencil revealed alongside a new set of MacBook Pros.

MacBook Pro 2016: Detachable keyboard and screen?

One of the most interesting MacBook Pro rumors is that it’s getting a touchscreen, and perhaps a detachable keyboard, too. We think that’s spectacularly unlikely, for several reasons.

Those reasons are: iPad Pro, iPad Pro, iPad Pro, iPad Pro and iPad Pro. Apple already has a device with a detachable touchscreen, and it isn’t a MacBook. There’s another reason for our cynicism, and that’s macOS. The macOS Sierrainterface isn’t optimized for touch since the company likes to keep its operating systems fine-tuned for their respective audiences.

More likely to come true is the theory that Apple will implement, in some capacity, a touchscreen keyboard in its next MacBook Pro.

While a patent filed by Apple suggests an iPad-like interface in favor of a the physical keyboards we’ve all grown accustomed to, photographs recently acquired by Cult of Mac show something a little different; that is, a more conventional Magic Keyboard-esque qwerty layout featuring a touchscreen OLED display to replace the function keys.

And, although this rumour seems awfully farfetched for an annual MacBook Pro revision, there is evidently some truth behind it, according to French website MacGeneration via 9to5Mac who discovered code indirectly alluding to the OLED bar’s virtualised buttons.

A touchscreen, even a tiny one ousting a single row of keys, could make for an enticing compromise for those in pursuit of the classic MacBook Pro experience in addition to fans of the ever-flourishing 2-in-1. Nonetheless, mobile data plansmay be on the agenda for next-gen MacBooks, a move better explained by a removable keyboard.

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macOS Sierra FAQ: What you need to know about the new Mac operating system

This fall, Apple will release macOS Sierra, a major update to the Mac operating system. This FAQ will answer some of the general questions you may have to help you learn what it’s all about and whether you should install it on your Mac. We’ll update this FAQ with more questions, answers, and details as the release date approaches.

macOS? What happened to OS X?

Apple decide to change the name in order to fit with the names of iOS, watchOS, and tvOS. So no more Roman numerals (or that annoying person who insists on calling it “OS ex”).

Some trivia, if you’re interested: macOS isn’t entirely a new name. Before version 10, Apple used to call its Mac operating system Mac OS, with the last version being Mac OS 9. Apple change the name to OS X when version 10 was released in 2001.

Does Apple still name its Mac operating systems after California locations?

Yup. This one is macOS Sierra.

More trivia: Sierra refers to a mountain range in central and eastern California. It’s also called Sierra Nevada, and a small part of the range lies in the state of Nevada. (Sierra is Spanish for mountain range and Nevada is Spanish for snowfall.) Lake Tahoe, a popular snow-sport location in the winter and a frequently-visited lake in the summer, is located in the Sierra. Yosemite National Park (which is home to El Capitan) is also there. Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous United States, is in the Sierra.

What version of the Mac operating system is this?

10.12.

iCloud Drive will now let you access documents on saved to the Desktop on any Mac.
iCloud Drive will now let you access documents on saved to the Desktop on any Mac.

When will it be available?

macOS Sierra will be available on September 20.

How much will it cost?

Apple makes its operating systems available for free, and macOS Sierra will be no different.

Will it run on my computer?

Here’s the list of Macs that will run macOS Sierra.

  • MacBook (Late 2009 and later)
  • MacBook Air (2010 and later)
  • MacBook Pro (2010 and later)
  • Mac mini (2010 and later)
  • iMac (Late 2009 and later)
  • Mac Pro (2010 and later)

Should you upgrade to macOS Sierra?

Once you’ve determined that you have compatible hardware, deciding to upgrade is a personal choice. If you absolutely depend on a specific app and would be crippled without it, you should wait to make sure from that app developer that their software will work with macOS Sierra.

If you do decide to upgrade on macOS Sierra’s ship date, make sure you back up your data first. If you end up having a serious problem, you can revert back using your backup.

I heard that Siri is in macOS Sierra. True?

It’s true. There will be a Siri icon in the dock. Clicking on it activates Siri. You can use it as you would with your iPhone, like say, if you need directions, are trying to find a nearby restaurant, or want information on a topic.

You can also use it to find files on your Mac. For example, you can tell Siri to find all the files with with word “report” in it, and Siri will list those files.

Siri also lets you work with other Apple apps. You can take Siri results for, say, an image, and then drag and drop the image into a Keynote presentation. You can have Siri find a location in Maps, and then drag the location into an email.

Apple has not announced a third-party API for macOS Siri, so Siri may not work with third-party Mac apps.

I also heard that Apple Pay is coming to the Mac. Yes?

Yes. When you’re shopping online and you see an Apple Pay button, you can click on it to use Apple Pay to pay for it. You still need your iPhone, however. Apple Pay on the Mac uses the iPhone’s Touch ID to verify your purchase; you can also press your Apple Watch side button twice.

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Speaking of the Apple Watch, why can’t I use it to unlock my Mac?

Well, with macOS Sierra, you can. When your Mac has been inactive or you’re powering it up and you get to the login screen, a feature called Auto Unlock will sense your Apple Watch and instantly log you in. No more typing your password.

What are the other new features?

Here’s a list of the major new features showcased at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. They include iCloud Drive Desktop access, Optimized Storage, Picture in Picture, Tabs, and Universal Clipboard.

Some of the other neat features:

  • Apple File System, a new file system not only for macOS but also for iOS, tvOS, and watchOS.
  • enhanced Messages
  • support for third-party app integration with the Contacts app
  • Apple Music improvements

Photos for Mac gets new features, too. A new Memories tab automatically creates slideshows based on events, places, or people. There’s also support for extension for Photos that will allow for editing of Live Photos. When you make an edit, it will apply to the whole Live Photo, not just the one sequence you edited.

Safari will have a major change in the way it handles content that uses plug-ins like Flash, Sliverlight, and QuickTime. You’ll see an alert that tells you the plug-in is not installed, and you’ll need to click on a “Click to use” button to see the content. Apple is doing this to force websites to load—if it’s available—HTML5-compliant media implementations.

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Dropbox Responds to Mac ‘Security Risk’ Accusations [Updated]

 

Dropbox has said it needs to do a “better job” of communicating its OS X integration, after claims emerged online that its Mac app was phishing for user passwords and even “hacks” the operating system on installation.

Developers of the cloud storage service were forced to reply to accusations which appeared on Hacker News that the client app was a security risk and “couldn’t be trusted”, because of the way it takes control of system features without asking for permission to do so.

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Dropbox gains access to Accessibility features without requesting access.

Concerns were raised after it was demonstrated that Dropbox appears in the Security & Privacy tab for Accessibility, despite the fact that users are never prompted to grant access to the features.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Dropbox never does any evil on your computer. It remains the fact that the Dropbox process has that ability. And that means, if Dropbox itself has a bug in it, it’s possible an attacker could take control of your computer by hijacking flaws in Dropbox’s code. Of course, that’s entirely theoretical, but all security risks are until someone exploits them. The essence of good computer security and indeed the very reason why OSX has these kinds of safeguards in place to begin with is that apps should not have permissions greater than those that they need to do their job.

Responding to the accusations, Dropbox said it only asks for the permissions it needs and uses the Accessibility features for certain app integrations like Office, although the permissions aren’t as “granular” as the company would like.

Dropbox, like other apps, requires additional permissions to enable certain features and integrations. The operating system on a user’s device may ask them to input their password to confirm. Dropbox never sees or receives these passwords. Reports of Dropbox spoofing interfaces, or capturing system passwords are absolutely false. We realize that we can do a better job communicating how these permissions are used, and we’re working on improving this.

Dropbox said it was working with Apple to reduce its dependence on elevated access inmacOS Sierra, and will respect when people disable Dropbox’s Accessibility permissions. In the meantime, Hacker News wants the firm to more explicitly outline why it needs the permissions it does.

The latest news comes at a sensitive time for the cloud storage outfit. Two weeks ago, it was revealed that over 68 million Dropbox accounts were implicated in a hack that took place in 2012.

Due to a password hack connected to other websites, hackers were able to sign in to “a small number” of Dropbox accounts, said the company, including an employee’s who had access to a document listing an array of user email addresses. But when Dropbox announced a preventative password reset measure, it made no mention of the extent of the users touched by the four-year-old hack.

Earlier this year, Dropbox was also forced to defend a feature called Project Infinite, which allows users to access all of the content in their account as if it is stored on their own machine, regardless of how small their hard disk is. The feature requires kernel-level access to computers in order to function, which critics suggested could leave it open to serious vulnerabilities.

Update: Dropbox has contacted MacRumors to reiterate that it “categorically denies” its Mac client phishes for user passwords or “hacks” the operating system on installation, but agreed that “we need to do more to be more transparent and make it clearer why we need access permission to a Mac OS”. The company also added that the account information stolen in 2012 was hashed and salted, meaning it is unlikely hackers were able to obtain many of the users’ actual passwords.

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Apple introduces iPhone 7 & iPhone 7 Plus, the best, most advanced iPhone ever

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iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus feature breakthrough new camera systems, the best battery life ever on an iPhone, and water and dust resistance.

San Francisco — Apple today introduced iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, the best, most advanced iPhone ever, packed with unique innovations that improve all the ways iPhone is used every day. The new iPhone features new advanced camera systems that take pictures like never before, more power and performance with the best battery life ever in an iPhone, immersive stereo speakers, wide color system from camera to display, two new beautiful finishes, and is the first water and dust resistant iPhone. iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be available in more than 25 countries beginning Friday, September 16.

“iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus dramatically improve every aspect of the iPhone experience, reaching a new level of innovation and precision to make this the best iPhone we have ever made,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The completely redesigned cameras shoot incredible photos and videos day or night, the A10 Fusion chip is the most powerful chip on any smartphone while delivering the best battery life ever in an iPhone, and an entirely new stereo speaker system provides twice the sound, all within the first water and dust resistant iPhone.”

New Advanced Camera Systems

iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus take the world’s most popular camera and make it even better with entirely new camera systems. The 12-megapixel camera includes optical image stabilization on both iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and a larger ƒ/1.8 aperture and 6-element lens enable brighter, more detailed photos and videos, and a wide color capture allows for more vibrant colors with more detail. iPhone 7 Plus features the same 12-megapixel wide angle camera as iPhone 7 and adds a 12-megapixel telephoto camera that together offer optical zoom at two times and up to 10 times digital zoom for photos.

Coming later this year, the dual 12-megapixel cameras also enable a new depth-of-field effect, using both cameras on iPhone 7 Plus to capture images, while sophisticated technology including Machine Learning separates the background from the foreground to achieve amazing portraits once possible only with DSLR cameras.

Additional Camera Advancements Include:

  • New Apple-designed Image Signal Processor, which processes over 100 billion operations on a single photo in as little as 25 milliseconds, resulting in incredible photos and videos;
  • New 7-megapixel FaceTime HD camera with wide color capture, advanced pixel technology and auto image stabilization for even better selfies; and
  • New Quad-LED True Tone flash that is 50 percent brighter than iPhone 6s including an innovative sensor that detects the flickering in lights and compensates for it in videos and photos.

More Performance & Battery Life

The new custom-designed Apple A10 Fusion chip features a new architecture that powers these innovations, making it the most powerful chip ever in a smartphone, while also getting more time between charges with the longest battery life ever in an iPhone. The A10 Fusion’s CPU now has four cores, seamlessly integrating two high-performance cores that run up to two times faster than iPhone 6, and two high-efficiency cores that are capable of running at just one-fifth the power of the high-performance cores. Graphics performance is also more powerful, running up to three times faster than iPhone 6 at as little as half the power, enabling a new level of gaming and professional apps.

Both phones include support for up to 25 LTE bands, for the best worldwide roaming in the industry, and LTE Advanced for three times faster data rates than iPhone 6 at up to 450 Mbps.1 For customers in Japan, iPhone will now support the leading FeliCa contactless technology, bringing the ability to use credit and prepaid cards, including on iD and QuicPay domestic networks, and Suica, Japan’s dominant transit card issued by JR East, the world’s largest transit operator.

An Amazing Audio Experience

New stereo speakers offer amazing and immersive sound that is two times louder than iPhone 6s, offering increased dynamic range of sound and a higher quality speakerphone. The new iPhone comes with EarPods with Lightning connector to deliver incredible sound, as well as a 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter that allows customers to use old headphones and accessories.

New AirPods, Apple’s innovative new wireless headphones, weave simplicity and technology together to reinvent the wireless experience making headphones easy to use. Featuring the new Apple W1 chip, AirPods have extremely efficient wireless communication for a better connection, improved sound and industry-leading battery life. AirPods harness the power of Siri, allowing you to access your favorite personal assistant with just a double tap.

Design That Makes a Splash

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus come in a gorgeous design in silver, gold and rose gold finishes and introduce two all-new black finishes, a beautiful black finish that has an anodized matte appearance, and an innovative jet black finish that has a deep, high-gloss look. The new jet black finish is accomplished through an innovative nine-step process of anodization and polish for a uniform, glossy finish. An entirely reengineered enclosure results in a water resistant iPhone offering protection like never before against spills, splashes and dust.

The new iPhone features the brightest, most colorful Retina HD display ever in an iPhone, now with a wide color gamut for cinema-standard colors, greater color saturation and the best color management in the smartphone industry. An all-new, advanced, solid-state Home button on iPhone 7 is designed to be durable and responsive, and working in tandem with the new Taptic Engine, provides more precise and customizable tactile feedback.

Featuring iOS 10, the Biggest iOS Release Ever

iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus come with iOS 10, the biggest release ever of the world’s most advanced mobile operating system. iOS 10 introduces a huge update to Messages that delivers more expressive and animated ways to message friends and family, the ability for Siri to do more by working with apps, new ways to interact with apps and even more places to use 3D Touch, beautifully redesigned Maps, Photos, Apple Music and News apps, and the Home app, delivering a simple and secure way to manage home automation products in one place. iOS 10 also opens up incredible opportunities for developers with Siri, Maps, Phone and Messages APIs, allowing customers to do more than ever with the apps they love to use.

Pricing & Availability

  • iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be available in silver, gold, rose gold and the new black finish in 32GB, 128GB and 256GB models starting at $649 (US), and the new jet black finish will be offered exclusively on the 128GB and 256GB models from apple.com, Apple Stores, Apple Authorized Resellers and select carriers.
  • Through Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program, customers in the US, and for the first time in the UK and China, can get an unlocked iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, with the protection of AppleCare+, choose their carrier and have the opportunity to upgrade to a new iPhone every year. The iPhone Upgrade Program is available at apple.com and Apple Stores in the US with monthly payments starting at $32.3
  • Customers will be able to order iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus beginning Friday, September 9, with availability beginning Friday, September 16, inAustralia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UAE, the UK, US Virgin Islands and the US.
  • iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be available in Andorra, Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Greenland, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Isle of Man, Jersey, Kosovo, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Monaco, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia and Slovenia beginning Friday, September 23. iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will also be available to customers in India beginning Friday, October 7.
  • The new Apple-designed wireless AirPods including charging case will be available for $159 (US) from apple.com and Apple Stores beginning in late October. All iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models will include EarPods with Lightning Connector and a Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter, also sold separately at apple.com and Apple Stores, for $29 (US) and $9 (US), respectively.
  • Apple-designed accessories including leather and silicone cases in a range of colors will be available starting at $35 (US) and iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case will be offered in black and white for $99 (US) from apple.com and Apple Stores. Lightning Docks in several color-matching metallic finishes will also be available for $49 (US).
  • Every customer who buys iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus from Apple will be offered free Personal Setup, in-store or online4, to help them customize their iPhone by setting up email, showing them new apps from the App Store and more.
  • Anyone who wants to learn more about iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus or iOS 10 can register for the free workshops offered at every Apple Store.

Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Apple’s four software platforms — iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple’s 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.