Apple's next MacBook Pros will be thinner than ever, new report hints

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Apple's MacBook Pros are getting a radical redesign this year, multiple reports have revealed. Changes include the replacement of the top keyboard row with a secondary OLED screen that could provide context-aware shortcuts, as well an overall design overhaul. The new MacBook Pro laptops will be lighter and thinner than ever, past reports said, featuring a design similar to the 12-inch Retina MacBook. A new rumor from Asia indicates that at least one supplier is already shipping a critical component to Apple that's needed for making a thinner laptop: the hinge.

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As trivial as it may sound, the hinge of a laptop is a crucial element. Its purpose is to connect the display to the motherboard, but also to hold the screen in place at various angles, and balance the whole device. Microsoft came up with a unique hinge for its eye-catching Surface Book design.

A thinner MacBook Pro will need a different type of hinges, and Digitimes notes that hinge maker Jarllytec saw revenues surge last month, thanks to strong hinge sales. The company posted record revenue for the month of May, marking a 107% year-over-year increase.

Jarllytec made metal injection molding (MIM) hinges for 13-inch MacBooks, according to China's Commercial Times. The company is expected to provide similar hinges for new 15-inch MacBooks in the third quarter of the year.

Metal injection molding is a technique used to create "small, intricate metal parts," MacRumors reports, or the kind of parts a redesigned notebook -- that's supposed to be slimmer than ever -- would require.

There's some confusion as to what new MacBook laptops are in the pipeline. Digitimes identifies the devices as MacBooks, suggesting they will be part of the ultra-thin MacBook line. Different reports did say that a 13-inch Retina MacBook is in the works, meant to displace the aging MacBook Air in Apple's lineup.

However, other reports said that Apple is indeed working on redesigned 13-inch and 15-inch laptops that will be included in the Pro line.