A noted Apple analyst in a research note released on Tuesday presented a more definitive timeline of the company's MacBook plans, saying a new laptop model featuring a traditional scissor switch keyboard will debut in the middle of 2020.
Without citing sources, Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities says Apple manufacturing partner Wistron has been tapped as the primary supplier of parts for MacBook's scissor switch keyboards in 2020.
An unidentified MacBook with scissor mechanism technology is set to arrive late in the second quarter or early in the third quarter of 2020. The report fails to specify MacBook variant or screen size, but Kuo is likely referencing updated 2020 MacBook Air or 2020 MacBook Pro models. Alternatively, Apple could be plotting a return of the affordable 12-inch MacBook which was axed from its laptop range this summer.
Apple last updated its MacBook offerings in July with a cheaper Retina display-toting MacBook Air and speed-bumped 13-inch MacBook Pro. The July refresh also nixed function key MacBook Pros in favor of Touch Bar-equipped versions with Touch ID.
Kuo first relayed predictions of Apple's expected move away from the four-year-old butterfly switch to more robust scissor switch keyboards in late July, saying a new 16-inch MacBook Pro would be the first to benefit from the transition. That report noted all MacBook Pros — 13-, 15- and 16-inch models — and the 13-inch MacBook Air would eventually adopt scissor switch keys in 2020, a design to be carried forward into 2021.
Subsequent rumors pegged an October release for the 16-inch device, with some analysts guessing Apple will ultimately phase out the current 15-inch variant in favor of a larger-screened option. A report in October claimed mass production of the 16-inch laptop had commenced at manufacturing partner Quanta.
Kuo's note does not appear to suggest a delay in Apple's launch plans for the hotly anticipated top-tier MacBook Pro, as the analyst previously reported manufacturer Sunrex — not Wistron — would supply scissor switch mechanisms for the rumored machine. Still, with the end of month just a day away, the chances of an October launch are becoming increasingly slim.