Archive for September 30th, 2016

Long-awaited MacBook Pro could include keyboard touch screen for function keys

Sep 29, 2016, 7:20am PDT Updated Sep 29, 2016, 8:16am PDT

Apple is reportedly working on an updated version of the MacBook Pro that could launch as soon as next month.

The new version will have a second, touch-sensitive screen situated above the keyboard, according to MacRumors. The Cupertino-based company plans to have the laptop ready to ship “in the second half of October.”

The touch screen will replace the function keys on current MacBooks. Instead of keys marked F1-F12, there will be a screen that employs Organic Light-Emitting Diodes that will offer functions that apply directly to the user’s task or application. For example, the display would show media controls while iTunes is in use or editing commands while iMovie is open. Apple could add new buttons through software updates.

The upgraded laptop will feature a USB-C port for charging, rather than the MagSafe connection on current MacBooks, per the report. The trackpad will be slightly wider and Apple will also bring the Touch ID fingerprint technology from the iPhone to the Pro line. TouchID will allow users to unlock the device with their fingerprint and easily use Apple Pay for online purchases. The laptops will encrypt fingerprint data so it can’t be hacked.

The company is in development on macOS 10.12.1, which will support the hardware’s new features. Apple will release the updated MacBook in two sizes, a 13-inch and a pricier 15-inch model. Both are expected to be thinner than current-generation MacBook Pros.

The MacBook Pro upgrade comes as the Cupertino-based company is seeing a sharp decline in iPad sales. Apple’s tablet sales were down in the second quarter, shipping 10 million units this quarter compared to 11 million units at the same time last year. However, sales of Macs, including the Pro line, were up 6 percent to $25.5 billion in the last fiscal year.

During the last quarter, Apple said net income was $7.8 billion in the quarter that ended June 25, down from $10.68 billion one year ago. Revenue also declined 14 percent to $42.36 billion compared with $49.6 billion last year.

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