Kuo: MacBooks With Apple-Designed Processors Coming Late 2020 or Early 2021, All-New Design to Follow in Mid 2021

In addition to forecasting the launch of new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models with scissor keyboards in the second quarter of 2020, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Apple has bigger ambitions for its notebook lineup.

In a research note today, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said Apple plans to launch MacBook models with its own custom processors in the fourth quarter of 2020 or the first quarter of 2021. Kuo did not indicate whether these will be MacBook Pro or MacBook Air models, or both, nor did he share any further details.


Rumors have suggested that Apple is working on custom Arm-based processors that would allow it to transition away from its current MacBook processor supplier Intel, which has occasionally experienced delays with its chips.

Kuo also believes that Apple will introduce MacBook models with an all-new design in the second or third quarter of 2021, but again, he did not indicate whether these will be Pro or Air models. The last significant redesign of the MacBook Pro occurred in October 2016, while the MacBook Air received a major redesign in October 2018.
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Kuo: New MacBook Pro and MacBook Air Models With Scissor Keyboards to Launch in Second Quarter

Apple plans to release new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models with scissor keyboards in the second quarter of 2020, according to a new research note today from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, obtained by MacRumors.

Kuo did not comment on the size of the new MacBook Pro, but he is presumably referring to the 14-inch model that he has previously mentioned given that the 16-inch MacBook Pro was only released four months ago. The new 14-inch model would likely replace the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which would be discontinued.


Kuo expects the new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models to have various cost optimizations, but he said users will not notice any difference.

The current 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air are still equipped with butterfly keyboards that can suffer from issues such as sticky or unresponsive keys after prolonged use, which prompted Apple to initiate a free repair program worldwide in 2018. Apple finally solved this problem by reverting back to a scissor mechanism with the new Magic Keyboard on the 16-inch MacBook Pro, which has proven far more reliable.

Kuo himself offered praise for the 16-inch MacBook Pro, noting that customer response to the notebook has been better than expected.

As for the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Kuo believes that operations at MacBook-related suppliers will improve significantly starting in late March, paving the way for mass production of the new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models.

If this information proves to be accurate, then Apple's entire notebook lineup should feature scissor keyboards by the end of 2020.
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DigiTimes: Apple to Launch 12.9-Inch iPad Pro and MacBooks With Mini-LED Displays by End of 2020

Apple plans to launch a 12.9-inch iPad Pro and multiple notebook models with Mini-LED backlit displays by the end of 2020, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese publication DigiTimes.


This lines up with information shared earlier this week by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who said Apple is developing six products with Mini-LED displays for release by the end of 2021, including new 12.9-inch iPad Pro, 10.2-inch iPad, 7.9-inch iPad mini, 27-inch iMac Pro, 14-inch MacBook Pro, and 16-inch MacBook Pro models.

Kuo expects the new iMac Pro in particular to launch during the fourth quarter of 2020. Apple has not refreshed the iMac Pro since it was originally released in December 2017, so it is well overdue for an update.

DigiTimes claims that Apple will also adopt Mini-LED backlighting for "a few models of LCD monitors," but it is unclear if that refers to the iMac/iMac Pro or standalone displays. Apple's high-end Pro Display XDR uses 576 LEDs, but it is not a Mini-LED display. By comparison, the first iPad and MacBook models with Mini-LED backlighting are expected to have over 10,000 LEDs.

Kuo has previously said that Mini-LED backlit displays will allow for thinner and lighter product designs, while offering many of the same benefits of OLED displays used on the latest iPhones, including good wide color gamut performance, high contrast and dynamic range, and local dimming for truer blacks.

Kuo has also said that Taiwan's largest LED manufacturer Epistar will be one of Apple's suppliers for those iPad and MacBook models.

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Apple Working on Six Mini-LED Products Including New 14.1-Inch MacBook Pro and Refreshed iMac Pro

Apple has six mini-LED products in the works that are set to debut in 2020 and 2021, and production is not expected to be delayed by the coronavirus, according to a new note to investors sent out this morning by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.


Apple is developing a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, a 27-inch iMac Pro, a 14.1-inch MacBook Pro, a 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌, a 10.2.-inch iPad, and a 7.9-inch ‌iPad‌ mini. Kuo does not provide specific launch dates for the items with the exception of the ‌iMac Pro‌, which he says will launch in the fourth quarter of 2020, and the 7.9-inch ‌iPad‌ mini, which he says will launch in 2020.
The product research and development for mini LED remain unaffected by the COVID-19. The visibility for commercialization has even exceeded the expectations in our previous report.

The trend for Apple’s development and promotion of mini LED are more identifiable in five years. We predict that Apple is currently developing six mini-LED-support products (vs. the previous report of only two products), including a 12.9-inch ‌iPad Pro‌, a 27-inch ‌iMac Pro‌ in 4Q20, a 14.1-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ (upgraded from 13.3-inch), a 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌, a 10.2-inch ‌iPad‌, and a 7.9-inch ‌iPad‌ mini in 2020.
Of particular interest in Kuo's note is the mention of the 14.1-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌, as this is the first indication that we've had that Apple is planning a new size for its smaller ‌MacBook Pro‌ offering. The 14.1-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ will be sold alongside a refreshed 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌. The mention of an ‌iMac Pro‌ is also notable as Apple has not refreshed its ‌iMac Pro‌ since it launched in 2017.

According to Kuo, Apple's mini-LED products are expected to come out in 2020 and 2021, but in previous notes, Kuo has said we can expect to see the 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ with a mini-LED display in the fourth quarter of 2020, so that could also be when the 14.1-inch version will launch.

Kuo has also said that the mini-LED version of 12.9-inch ‌iPad Pro‌, which is expected to be a high-end option, will launch in the fall of 2020. Current rumors indicate that this fall 12.9-inch model will come after a spring refresh of other ‌iPad Pro‌ models.


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Apple Begins Selling Certified Refurbished 16-Inch MacBook Pro Models in the UK

Apple has started selling certified refurbished 16-inch MacBook Pro models through its online store in the United Kingdom for the first time since the notebook was released in November 2019. All of the refurbished configurations are discounted by 15 percent compared to the equivalent brand new models.


As of writing, a Silver 16-inch MacBook Pro 2.6GHz 6-core Intel Core i7 is listed for £2,039, down from £2,399, offering a £360 saving on the original price. The same savings are being offered on a Space Grey 16-inch MacBook Pro with matching specs.

Refurbished 16-inch MacBook Pro models have also been spotted in Apple's online refurb stores in Germany and Japan. Apple has been offering refurb 16-inch models in the United States for a couple of weeks now.

Apple says refurbished 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ models are thoroughly inspected, tested, cleaned, and repackaged with a 96W USB-C power adapter and USB-C cable in the box. In our view, a refurbished ‌MacBook Pro‌ is virtually indistinguishable from a brand new model, so this represents a good opportunity for savings.

Keep in mind that third-party resellers frequently offer better deals than Apple's refurbished prices, so be sure to shop around.

A refurbished ‌MacBook Pro‌ comes with Apple's standard one-year warranty effective on the date the notebook is delivered. The warranty can be extended to three years from the refurbished purchase date with AppleCare+ for Mac, which costs £399 for the 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ in the U.K.

(Thanks, Tommy!)

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Upcoming 13-Inch MacBook Pro Models to Use Intel’s 10th-Generation Ice Lake Chips

Apple is rumored to be working on a refreshed version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro following the launch of the new 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ in October, and the new 13-inch machines could adopt Intel's 10th-generation Ice Lake chips.


Over the weekend, a Twitter leaker shared a 3D Mark Time Spy benchmark of a machine said to be an upcoming 13-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ equipped with Intel's 10th-generation i7-1068NG7 Ice Lake 2.3GHz chip with 4.1GHz turbo boost capabilities (via Wccftech).


The benchmarks compare the new 10th-generation chip to the 8th-generation 2.4GHz Core i5 chip in the high-end 13-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ from 2019 and suggest the new 13-inch machine Pro will be approximately 12 percent faster than the current 13-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ when it comes to CPU speeds, and close to 30 percent faster when it comes to GPU performance.


If Apple does release a 13-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ with the aforementioned Ice Lake chip, it will be the first Apple notebook equipped with a 10th-generation chip. Though not included in the leak, a 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ refresh in 2020 could also feature 10th-generation chips, though 16-inch machines are expected to use Comet Lake chips built on the 14++nm architecture as there are no 10-nanometer Ice Lake chips appropriate for them.

Rumors suggest Apple will release an updated 13-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ in the first half of 2020, perhaps at its March event, though WWDC is also a possibility. Along with 10th-generation Intel chips, the new machines are expected to feature the improved scissor keyboard that was first introduced in the 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌, along with the option to upgrade to 32GB RAM.

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Apple Begins Selling Certified Refurbished 16-Inch MacBook Pro Models

Apple has begun selling certified refurbished 16-inch MacBook Pro models through its online store in the United States for the first time since the notebook was released in November 2019. All of the refurbished configurations are discounted by 15 percent compared to the equivalent brand new models.


Apple says refurbished 16-inch MacBook Pro models are thoroughly inspected, tested, cleaned, and repackaged with a 96W USB-C power adapter and USB-C cable in the box. In our view, a refurbished MacBook Pro is virtually indistinguishable from a brand new model, so this represents a good opportunity for savings.

Keep in mind that third-party resellers frequently offer better deals than Apple's refurbished prices, so be sure to monitor our deals roundup.

A refurbished MacBook Pro comes with Apple's standard one-year warranty effective on the date the notebook is delivered. The warranty can be extended to three years from the refurbished purchase date with AppleCare+ for Mac, which costs $379 for the 16-inch MacBook Pro in the United States.

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Movie Director Taika Waititi Tells Apple to ‘Fix Those Keyboards’ at Oscars

Apple's butterfly keyboards came in for criticism at last night's Academy Awards. Talking to press backstage after winning an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, Jojo Rabbit director Taika Waititi took the opportunity to voice his frustration with the controversial MacBook keyboards (via The Verge).

Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
"Apple needs to fix those keyboards," he said. "They are impossible to write on — they've gotten worse. It makes me want to go back to PCs. Because PC keyboards, the bounce-back for your fingers is way better. Hands up who still uses a PC? You know what I'm talking about. It's a way better keyboard. Those Apple keyboards are horrendous."

"I've got some shoulder problems," Waititi continued. "I've got OOS [Occupational Overuse Syndrome, a term used in New Zealand for RSI] — I don't know what you call it over here, this sort of thing here (gestures to arm), that tendon which goes down your forearm down into the thumb? You know what I'm talking about, if you guys are ever writing. And what happens is you open the laptop and you're like this (makes uncomfortable hunched-over-laptop pose) — we've just got to fix those keyboards. The WGA needs to step in and actually do something."
It's unclear if Waititi has any experience with the new 16-inch MacBook Pro, which features a redesigned scissor switch keyboard, largely based on the standalone Magic Keyboard for the iMac. Given the tried-and-tested design, the keyboard should prove far more reliable than the troublesome butterfly keyboards used across the MacBook lineup in recent years.

Apple is expected to launch a 13-inch MacBook Pro with a scissor keyboard in the first half of 2020, following in the footsteps of the 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ last October. There is some hope that the 13-inch model will become a 14-inch model, but that remains uncertain.


Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted that Apple will transition its entire notebook lineup to scissor switch keyboards in 2020, including all ‌MacBook Pro‌ and MacBook Air models.

It wouldn't be surprising if Apple completely does away with its butterfly keyboards, which have suffered from issues with sticky, repeating, or nonfunctional keys since their inception in 2016. Apple continues to offer free repairs to affected customers as part of its worldwide service program.

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Many Built-to-Order iMac, iMac Pro, and MacBook Pro Models Currently Facing Extended Delivery Estimates

Built-to-order iMac, iMac Pro, and MacBook Pro models, excluding the low-end 13-inch MacBook Pro, are currently facing an extended delivery estimate of March 10 on Apple's online store in the United States.


While custom configurations usually take more time to ship than standard configurations, current delivery estimates are even lengthier than usual. The reason for the delay is unknown, but on a speculative basis, it could be related to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in China that has forced many of Apple's suppliers to temporarily close their factories and suspend production.

While some readers who tipped us to this news raised the possibility of an Apple event on March 10, the delivery estimate has changed on a daily basis, so any correlation would be purely coincidental. Nevertheless, Apple is expected to release a new 13-inch MacBook Pro with a scissor switch Magic Keyboard in the first half of 2020, and it is certainly possible that the notebook could be released in March.

In fact, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects Apple to release many new products in the first half of 2020, including refreshed MacBook Pro and/or MacBook Air models, refreshed iPad Pro models with a triple-lens rear camera system, Tile-like item tracking tags with Ultra Wideband support, high-end wireless headphones, a small wireless charging mat, and a new lower-cost 4.7-inch iPhone.

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Calls for Apple to Bring iPhone-Style Low Power Mode to MacBooks

Following rumors of a performance-boosting "Pro Mode" coming in the next update to macOS Catalina, developer Marco Arment has argued that Apple should bring an iPhone-style Low Power Mode to MacBooks as well.


Since iOS 9, Apple has included a Low Power Mode on iPhones that reduces the amount of power that the device uses when the battery gets low, and Arment this week shared his experience with his own self-styled equivalent for macOS.

His method involves the use of a third-party app called Turbo Boost Switcher Pro that enables users to disable Intel Turbo Boost on a Mac's processor. According to Arment, disabling Turbo Boost has increased his 16-inch MacBook Pro's battery life by an estimated 30-50 percent and made it "a much better laptop" the vast majority of the time he uses it.

With Turbo Boost disabled, peak CPU power consumption drops by 62%, with a correspondingly huge reduction in temperature. This has two massive benefits:
  • The fans never audibly spin up. When Turbo Boost is enabled, the fans annoyingly spin up every time the system is under a heavy sustained load. Disable it, and it’s almost impossible to get them to be audible.

  • It runs significantly cooler. Turbo Boost lets laptops get too hot to comfortably hold in your lap, and so much heat radiates out that it can make hands sweaty. Disable it, and the laptop only gets moderately warm, not hot, and hands stay comfortably dry.
Arment claims that despite the reduction in processing power, his ‌MacBook Pro‌ is "still fast enough to do everything I need (including significant development with Xcode)." His only concern is that the app which allows him to enjoy these benefits is on borrowed time: Turbo Boost Switcher Pro relies on a legacy kernel extension that likely won't be supported in future versions of macOS.
"I suspect that this is the last year I'll get to run the latest OS and be able to turn off Turbo Boost at will, making all of my future laptop usage significantly worse," says Arment.


An iPhone's Low Power Mode reduces battery usage by disabling background app refreshing and automatic downloads, locking the screen after 30 seconds, and via other methods. Would you be happy to see an optional Low Power Mode in a future version of macOS, too? Let us know in the comments.

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