In October Apple unveiled its long-awaited MacBook Pro with a fancy new Touch Bar, but we won't be waiting as long for the next update. Intel Kaby Lake MacBooks are expected this year. We outline the 2016 MacBook Pro UK release date, price and specification, plus new MacBook Pro 2017 rumours. See also: Best laptops 2017.
New MacBook Pro 2017 rumours
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is predicting updated MacBooks with Intel Kaby Lake processor later this year. Kuo says new 12in MacBooks will enter mass production in Q2 (March), potentially with a new 16GB RAM model.
Meanwhile new 13- and 15in MacBook Pros will begin mass production in Q3 (July). In Q4 (September) we could see a high-end 15in MacBook Pro with 32GB of RAM as "the most significantly redesigned product this year".
The notion of new MacBook Pros in 2017 is backed up by a new Bloomberg report. It says a new model is planned for later this year but it might herald a shift away from Intel processors. According to people familiar with the matter the chip, codenamed T310 and built ARM technology, will handle low-power functionality and work along the main Intel processor.
This move could mean better battery life as moving the 'Power Nap' feature to the new chip will use even less power. Apple's ARM-based T1 chip is already in the latest MacBook Pro - see below.
Watch this space for more updates.
MacBook Pro 2016
In October 2016 on the week of the Apple laptop's 25th anniversary, Apple announced the best MacBook Pro yet. There are 13- and 15in models with new all-aluminium designs that are significantly thinner and lighter than their predecessors, just 14.9mm thin and 3lb for the 13in model and 15.5mm and 4lb for the 15in model.
The new MacBook Pros, available in Silver and Space Grey, have a two times larger Force Touch trackpad and a new context-sensitive Retina display Touch Bar that replaces the row of Function keys. Touch ID is also built-in with Secure Enclave and protected with Sapphire glass.
The new Touch Bar consumed most of Apple's demonstration, and it does look cool. What functions it offers entirely depend on the app you're in. For example, you might get emoji in the Messages app, favourite sites in Safari, and options to reply or delete in Mail. In Photos are useful editing controls, and we particularly like the look of the quick type function in relevant apps, which may speed up typing.
The keyboard itself has also been improved, with new second-generation Butterfly-style switch mechanisms that are more responsive and offer better travel.
The new MacBook Pro is a sixth-generation Skylake machine with a 2133MHz Intel Core i7 inside (you can opt for a Core i5 in the 13in model). There's up to 2TB of storage via a superfast SSD, and in the 15in model AMD Radeon Pro graphics with up to 4GB VRAM (the 13in model has Intel Iris graphics).
Apple says the 15in model is 130 percent faster than its predecessor on graphics, 60 percent faster for gaming, and 57 percent faster for video editing. The 13in model, meanwhile, is 103 percent faster than its predecessor for gaming, and 76 percent faster for both video editing and 3D graphics.
The display is better than ever, now 67 percent brighter with 67 percent higher contrast and 25 percent more colours.
Each MacBook Pro is fitted with four Thunderbolt 3 ports that can go up to 40GB/s. Each of these ports can be used for power or as Thunderbolt, USB-C, DisplayPort, HDMI or VGA connections.
2016 MacBook Pro UK price and models
The new MacBook Pro comes in three models, all available direct from Apple.
1. 13in MacBook Pro without Touch Bar and Touch ID, 2GHz Intel Core i5 dual-core processor, Intel Iris Graphics 540, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 2x Thunderbolt 3. Available today for £1,499 ($1,499).
2. 13in MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID, 2.9GHz Intel Core i5 dual-core processor, Intel Iris Graphics 550, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 4x Thunderbolt 3. Shipping in three- to four weeks from £1,749 ($1,799).
3. 15in MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 quad-core processor, AMD Radeon Pro 450 Graphics, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 4x Thunderbolt 3. Shipping in three- to four weeks from £2,349 ($2,399).
Want to learn more about the new MacBook Pro? Check out our in-depth guide on our sister site Macworld.