2020 MacBook Pro
Apple regularly makes changes to its lineup of Macs and MacBooks, upgrading important components at the same time as introducing refinements to designs. While it is unclear what will actually launch and when, rumors have already started to surface about what to expect from the 2020 MacBook Pro lineup.
● 5Ghz Intel Processor
● 14-inch model with reduced bezels
● 5G connectivity
● Mini LED display
The 2020 MacBook Pro models will be updated as such that they stay at the top of the list of potential purchases for those looking to acquire a notebook. These changes can range from specification bumps to refinements of the design, to even the introduction of new features and functionality.
Like other elements of the Apple ecosystem, it too is subject to rumors and speculation.
2020 MacBook Pro Rumored Features
Continuing the ongoing trend for other Macs, Apple is almost certainly going to be using Intel processors of some description to power its next generation of MacBook Pro models.
The teased processor will be a Core i7 H-series model, the same series used by Apple for the mobile Macs, but aside from a post-5GHz clock speed, no other details have been offered.
The current H-series consists of high clock-speed chips in the 2GHz range, boostable to the 4GHz range and even up to 5GHz. The quad-, hexa-, and octa-core chips are designed with a TDP of 45, which means they can run relatively cool with a moderate amount of cooling required.
Scissor Switches in 13-inch model (released)
In November, Apple introduced the 16-inch MacBook Pro, which includes a refreshed keyboard mechanism replacing the third-generation butterfly that received criticism relating to its reliability. Borrowing from the Magic Keyboard, the mechanism is a scissor-switch style instead of another butterfly type.
The new mechanism offers further travel of approximately 1 millimeter, against the old version's 0.6 to 0.7-millimeter travel, as well as a quieter typing experience. The key stability, as well as the construction being less likely to be hampered by debris, stands to make the keys more reliable than in previous incarnations, though time will tell.
The warm reception of the keys led to one rumor in November claiming it would be included in an updated 13-inch MacBook Pro, citing "industry sources."
A far earlier prediction arrived in October, where analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed the 16-inch MacBook Pro's keyboard upgrade would be followed by its adoption in other models, including the 13-inch MacBook Pro.
A patent revealed that Apple may be planning to include True Tone in its keyboard backlighting, thus adjusting the brightness and tones according to the room's light temperature.
While support in the iPad lineup is largely expected, due to their existing cellular connectivity options, it seems unlikely to be included in the updated MacBook Pro. As the high-band mmWave portion of 5G can be easily blocked by aluminum — or even plastic — it's improbable that a MacBook Pro would offer the high-speed element of 5G at all.
Apple has also been rumored to be including LTE on a Mac for close to a decade, and so far none of those rumors have come to fruition. It makes a sudden turnaround for 5G fairly doubtful.
Apple has invested in a variety of different technologies it could use in future products for some time, including elements like MicroLED and other display creation techniques.
In the case of a December prediction from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple could include Mini LED as a display technology for the notebook.
Sourced from LG Display, with components from GIS, Osram, TSMT, Sharp, Nichia, and Sanan, the shift in technology will allow Apple to shift away from relying on Samsung Display for its OLED usage. In December, reports proposed Zhen Ding Technology, Epistar, and Flexium Interconnect were onboard for a Mini LED iPad Pro, which if true would lend some feasibility to the new display using similar components and techniques.
Mini LED is, as the name suggests, the use of miniature LEDs to create the individual pixels of a display, similar to how large screens in a stadium are made, except in miniature. As they are self-illuminating, Mini LED stands to offer many of the contrast and quality benefits of OLED, but without the production issues or potential for burn-in.
Renowned analyst Ming Chi Kuo has released a report suggesting a new screen size is coming to the MacBook Pro. A 14.1-inch screen would make sense for the product, and fits in with the same size increase of the 16-inch MacBook Pro. Another rumor suggests the updated laptop could arrive in May.
A new report from Kuo suggest the Mini LED displays will not be ready to ship until 2021, which may push the updates back for the rumored 2020 MacBook Pro line.
2020 MacBook Pro Pricing
Expect a refreshed 16-inch MacBook Pro and a new 14-inch MacBook Pro to have similar if not exactly the same prices, despite changes in technology. It is unknown if the cost of new technologies like Micro LED will impact the profit margins enough for Apple to adjust the price.