MacBook Pro 16-inch release date, news and rumors

The MacBook Pro 16-inch, Apple’s rumored upcoming addition to its MacBook Pro line in 2019, looks like it could be well on its way. There have already been two minor MacBook Pro 2019 updates with the MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2019) and MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2019), which both offered slightly updated hardware and features. However, these two refreshed models lacked innovation – particularly when it came to their designs, which were the same as the previous year's models.

The good news is, there's been rumors going around that yet another MacBook Pro 2019 refresh is on its way, this time with much more radical changes to the design, with suggestions that we might see a MacBook Pro 16-inch.

The thought that Apple would release a MacBook Pro with its biggest ever screen is certainly thrilling, and other rumors have hinted at Apple finally replacing the keyboard in the MacBook Pro 16-inch, which is good news for anyone who's been put off by reports of how some existing MacBook Pros have suffered from faulty keyboards.

Initially, we were assuming the MacBook Pro 16-inch would be at the iPhone 11 event that was held on September 10. However, that event came and went with no mention of Macs or even macOS. And, the latest rumor seem to suggest that the MacBook Pro 16-inch might be delayed until 2020 due to keyboard issues. So, we have to keep waiting to see if the MacBook Pro 16-inch actually does exist.

In all fairness, the other MacBook Pro 2019 upgrades did benefit from a substantial internal revamp, now rocking 9th-generation Intel processors (CPUs) and some of the fastest SSDs we’ve ever seen. In addition, Apple has fixed the issues with the Butterfly keyboard – or some of them at least. Even better, now there are 15-inch MacBook Pro configurations that boast the latest 8-core Intel Core i9.

What do these newest improvements mean for the oft-rumored MacBook Pro 16-inch? Recent reports have reinforced the prospect of a true redesign gracing us with its presence this year, possibly alongside the new Mac Pro 2019. However, Apple might opt to unveil a completely new model in 2020 or 2021.

Nonetheless, the MacBook Pro 16-inch could still happen, particularly since famed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has produced a few leaks that suggest Apple is going to release a MacBook Pro 16-inch with an “all-new” design. With it, we’re hopeful that Apple will give that still-flawed keyboard a redesign, and recent reports are looking good in that regard.

If a MacBook Pro 16-inch is indeed in the works, here are the things we’re hoping to see.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The first-ever MacBook Pro 16-inch
  • When is it out? Hopefully late 2019, but possibly 2020
  • How much will it cost? Reports say around $3,000 (about £2,450, AU$4,350)

16-inch MacBook Pro 2019

The 16-inch MacBook Pro 2019 only has an indistinct “2019” rumored release date at this time. (Image Credit: Apple)

MacBook Pro 2019 release date

While a 16-inch follow-up and redesign to the MacBook Pro 2019 is still something many Apple fans are anticipating, there’s only an indistinct "2019" rumored release date at this time. That’s hardly surprising since the last major update came out in July 2018, and Apple just dropped its 9th-gen Intel Core CPU configurations and a 13-inch MacBook Pro July 2019 refresh.

Yet, it would be curious to see macOS Catalina in an overhauled or MacBook Pro 16-inch. We may have to wait a few more months for a clearer date, or even verification that it will happen, but rumors and reports are piling up.

If we’re using Apple’s previous release dates as a guide – with the MacBook Pro 2017 launching in June 2017 and the MacBook Pro 2018 model debuting under the radar in July 2018 – a summer release for the MacBook Pro 16-inch makes sense. However, summer came and went without any signs of the laptop.

We must keep in mind that the 10nm Ice Lake chips are now available and Apple's macOS Catalina is just had a fall release. With these two factors in mind, we could see Apple releasing the MacBook Pro somewhere around the same time to take advantage of the new tech and operating system update immediately. 

The possibility of a redesigned MacBook Pro 16-inch is high, as we've kept a close eye on Apple's forgone iPhone event in September – and now, we could be looking at an October or even November launch of this MacBook Pro 16-inch. Though with recent rumors suggesting keyboard issues, we might not be able to see the MacBook Pro 16-inch until 2020.

MacBook Pro 2019 16-inch

Reported refinements to the MacBook Pro 2019 16-inch include a keyboard with a new scissor switch design. (Image Credit: TechRadar)

MacBook Pro 2019 price

Just the fact that Apple has refreshed its non-Touch Bar MacBook Pros this July 2019 with a superior processor, a better keyboard, and the Touch Bar and Touch ID features says a lot about the direction in which they’re heading.

The worst part of the 2019 models is the fact that you have to spend thousands of dollars to get the highest amount of RAM (the 32GB RAM option is only available in the 15-inch models) and the largest SSD combo. Or else, you’re stuck with smallest amount of RAM and a Touch Bar that isn’t even universally compatible.

You can also forget about upgrading your 13-inch. Most of its parts are soldered, so you’ll be required to bring in a professional and break your warranty. You also may have to purchase a third-party docking station since the only ports equipped on the device are the USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports and a headphone jack.

Of course, it’s hard to predict these things, but you’ll most likely see basically the same price tags. Currently, the base model of a 13-inch MacBook Pro gets you an 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, 128GB SSD storage and the integrated Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645. The good news is that this entry level 13-inch model keeps the same price tag at $1,299 (£1,299, AU$1,999), even with its recent upgrades.

As far as the 15-inch’s 9th gen Intel Core i9 configurations go, which presently start at $2,399 (£2,399, A$3,499), we’d hope to keep its price while still getting a design refresh.

A Chinese technology site recently reported the MacBook Pro 16-inch to start around $3,000 (about £2,450, AU$4,350). Later, analyst Ming Chi-Kuo reported refinements to the keyboard with a new scissor switch design. It might seem outlandish to you, but "$2,999" sounds like a decent price for Apple to use.

MacBook Pro 2019

We’d love to see more variety in ports. (Image Credit: Apple)

What we want to see from MacBook Pro 2019

Apple hasn’t been receiving a lot of love lately, what with the great keyboard debacle of 2016 through 2019, the problematic Touch Bar and the soldered RAM, to name a few. Still, we’re holding out hope that Apple takes a new lease on life in 2019, and actually offer its loyal fans some of the things they need and not upsell them on things they don’t need. So far, it does look promising.

More port variety, please
If Apple’s going to insist on only providing Thunderbolt 3, we hope they’d at least include a docking station or an adapter for USB, Mini DisplayPort and HDMI without an additional charge. You know, instead of making us shell out more money for a third-party one.

If we're being honest, limiting us to Thunderbolt 3 is inconvenient. MacBook Pro is for professionals who are wanting a seamless workflow. While Thunderbolt 3 is efficient, powerful and versatile, offering a port for charging as well as super-fast output and data transfers, many of us are still using devices and accessories that don’t support it. If we’re expected to connect this cable to that adapter to plug into that other port, we’re not going to be happy about it.

Plus, is it possible to reinstate MagSafe charging? Some of us tend to trip over those cables, and it was nice to know that we wouldn’t damage those older models by doing so.

Seeing as how Apple launched the latest MacBook Air with just two Thunderbolt 3 ports and no MagSafe charger, chances are low that Apple is going to diversify the ports on the MacBook Pro 16-inch. So, what we’re really gunning for now is a docking station or an adapter out of the box.

Improved Touch Bar
When it comes to the new Touch Bar, it seems that Apple is standing its ground. In fact, every single current MacBook Pro model and configuration now comes with it. Despite grievances from many users and the fact that many others would be happier without it, Apple has completely phased out the non-Touch Bar MacBook Pros.

That’s all fine and dandy, and, we admit, the technology does look promising. However, if Apple is going to ask to pay a few hundred bucks more for a new feature, we’d like to maximize its use. So far, Touch Bar compatibility is limited to just a few programs and apps, and we demand to see more added to this list if it’s here to stay. Plus, it would be nice to get it properly working sans the freezes and fat finger issues.

MacBook Pro 16-inch 2019

We’re hoping that Apple has plans to include these Intel’s next-gen CPUs in the 16-inch MacBook Pro 2019. (Image Credit: TechRadar)

Offer an alternative
Again, the Touch Bar shows promise, but it isn’t exactly something that most users need. Not all of us are photographers or filmmakers or artists. Some just use their MacBook Pros for productivity because of its streamlined interface and user-friendliness, and those folks – the mainstream consumers that Apple is now starting to include in their target market – don’t have a need for a Touch Bar at all. In fact, it may only get in the way and cost them extra for something they’ll hardly use.

We’d like to see an option for such users. It would be great to see Apple to resuscitate the Touch Bar-free models, and price them more affordably than their Touch Bar counterparts.

Better keyboard, display and sound
Sure, Apple has refined the keyboard so that it’s quieter. But, it is still stiffer than what we’re used to, has less travel than most keyboards and is still annoyingly loud. As far as ergonomics, the new keyboard isn’t the best. It’s not that we hate it, but it’s certainly harder to love. Of course, we could always get used to its quirks, but we’d rather see a better one, particularly since we’re already paying a lot. Better yet, Apple could bring back the old design most of us are partial to, which now seems likely.

Rounding the design out, MacBook Pro designers should take cues from the iPhone X and phase out the bezeled design. That’s a lot of valuable real estate wasted, and rolling out a bezel-free screen will give users a bigger display without having to sacrifice size — not to mention, giving the MacBook Pro 16-inch a fresher, more modern look. Also, a laptop designed to edit 4K media should have a 4K screen option, though we're hearing that 3K is going to be this laptop's game.

Lastly, we’d like to see Apple reconsider those speakers. We get that Apple is going for a thinner design, but the speakers in the older MacBook Pros are considerably better. With all that technology they come up with, it wouldn’t be that hard to get a premium set of speakers that are louder and have better bass.

New Intel processor
The MacBook Pro 2018 just got updated with Kaby Lake Refresh and Coffee Lake on the 13-inch, and with the 9th-generation chips on the 15-inch. Unfortunately, Intel has already pushed out Whiskey Lake and Amber Lake processors – putting some of the MacBook Pro configurations behind the curve, if only just slightly. Whiskey Lake, after all, only provides a minimal boost to performance that most users won’t notice.

At CES 2019, however, Intel announced Ice Lake, its first round of 10nm Sunny Cove processors for laptops. These chips are now available, and we’re hoping that Apple already has plans to include these next-gen CPUs in the MacBook Pro 16-inch. 

If that happens, we’d like to see Apple offering both 9th-gen and 10th-gen configurations, as well as awarding one of its 13-inch model a 9th-gen Coffee Lake Refresh configuration.