Apple set to announce new MacBooks on Thursday

Mark your calendars: Apple has officially set an event for Thursday in which it’s expected to roll out a redesign of the MacBook.

The October 27 event teaser tagline is "hello again," likely a reference to the Mac, which has been introduced with the “hello” tagline in the past.

The event’s main attraction should be new MacBooks, according to Rhoda Alexander, Director Tablet and Notebook PCs at IHS Markit Technology.

“I think we'll see a new version of the [MacBook] Air and the two [MacBook] Pro models,” Alexander told in a phone interview. The 13.3-inch and 15.4-inch MacBook Pros will likely get a new design, Alexander said, while the 13-inch MacBook Air is expected to see more modest improvements.

Reports over the weekend, based on comments from an analyst in Asia, said that in addition to the MacBook Pros, there will be a "13-inch MacBook." Based on those reports, it's not clear if it would be the MacBook Air or a new thin-and-light MacBook.

Among other things, Alexander expects newfangled keyboards containing “OLED function bars…but just on the [MacBook] Pros." Instead of the standard function keys at the top of all keyboards today, the new Pros are expected to have an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display-based set of virtual function keys that change dynamically according to the task the user is doing.

Previous Bloomberg reports have said to expect a MacBook Pro with a thinner, lighter chassis and a flatter keyboard, similar to the “butterfly” keys on the ultra-thin 12-inch MacBook. The Pros are also expected to have new USB Type-C ports – the same tiny USB port that is featured on the 12-inch MacBook and on phones like the new Google Pixel.


Japanese-language Apple enthusiast site Macotakara – a reliable source of Apple rumors – said last week that the 11-inch version of the MacBook Air will be discontinued, possibly because that market need is already met by the super-svelte 12-inch MacBook.

The Japanese site added that the traditional MagSafe connector may get eliminated on the MacBook Pro. That would follow the 12-inch MacBook, which has replaced MagSafe with a USB-C connector for charging.

What does Apple need to do?

“What they need to do is have an updated design and incorporate features that continue to justify the premium customers continue to pay for these products,” Alexander said.

Apple has been criticized for waiting too long to do a physical overhaul of the MacBook Pros.  For example, the 15.4-inch MacBook Pro Retina’s design hasn’t changed significantly since 2012.

“They should have done it a long time ago,” Ryan Smith, editor in chief of tech site Anandtech, told in a recent email. “Most models are full price yet years out of date, and that makes buying old models bad investments for consumers,” he added.

Daniel Matte, an analyst with Canalys, a market research firm, hopes to see a bevy of announcements. “I would hope to see them announce a new MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, iMacs, and Thunderbolt Display with updated components,” Matte told

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.