Rumor: Ultrathin MacBook update coming in second half of 2016, will feature redesigned hinge

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
Apple is allegedly planning to update its ultraportable MacBook with Retina display in the second half of 2016, featuring a new screen hing design made from metal injection molding, according to a new supply chain report.




Hit-or-miss publication DigiTimes provided an update on Apple's 12-inch MacBook on Friday, claiming that the company is preparing to launch new models in the back half of this year. It said that suppliers are currently competing in hopes of earning orders from Apple when production begins.

If true, the rumor would suggest that Apple may not be planning to update its thinnest and lightest MacBook in the immediate future. The ultrathin 12-inch MacBook launched one year ago, in April of 2015.

It should be noted that DigiTimes has an unreliable track record in predicting Apple's future product plans. Though the publication does occasionally provide accurate information from Apple's supply chain, it frequently gets both timing and features wrong on upcoming products.

Still, the 12-inch MacBook is due for an update, and so the timing of the report makes sense. The report made no mention of design changes other than the MIM hinges, nor did it mention screen size.

Some earlier reports had suggested that Apple plans to introduce new MacBook models at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference, expected to take place in June. It's been suggested that Apple could expand its ultraportable MacBook lineup with a larger model in the 14-to-15-inch range.




Also due for a refresh is Apple's MacBook Pro lineup. And while it's expected that the legacy MacBook Air is being phased out in favor of the MacBook with Retina display, it's possible that Apple could also update the Air with faster processors as an entry-level Mac option.

AppleInsider first reported a few weeks ago that some current MacBook models are seeing low stock at authorized Apple resellers. Inventory is typically reduced ahead of new product launches, potentially signaling that Apple is clearing out the channel in anticipation of a hardware refresh.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities expects big things for Apple's MacBook lineup this year. However, he has predicted a hardware refresh in June, which would technically be the first half of 2016. It's possible that new MacBook Pros or Airs could arrive first, with a revamped ultrathin MacBook coming later in the year.

Little else is known about Apple's anticipated anticipated upgrades, though it's likely that Apple is waiting on availability of the appropriate "Skylake" processors from Intel for its next-generation notebooks.

The Skylake platform is Intel's follow-up to Broadwell, and will offer the usual performance improvements -- boosting CPU speeds by 10 to 20 percent, and integrated graphics chips by 16 to 41 percent -- but also continue a trend towards efficient power use, thanks to smaller 14-nanometer architecture. In laptops, switching to Skylake could add as much as 30 percent more battery life.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    irelandireland Posts: 17,568member
    Please be rMBA. Please be rMBA.

    I still say MacBook 12", rMBA 14" and rMBP 16" (dedicated graphics). Reduce a few bezels and this works well. Each has additional ports, power, weight and display size. And customers can make a far easier decision as to what they want.
    edited April 2016 wonkothesane
  • Reply 2 of 40
    Intel continues to have problems with their mobile Skylake chips; they've now announced that they can't handle even a modest overclock, and that if the OS doesn't leverage the advanced sleep states it can, and likely will, lead to processor damage (electron migration issues). So it's no surprise Apple isn't rushing Skylake equipped MacBooks out the door.
    rhinotuffcnocbuibrian greenrezwitsRayz2016
  • Reply 3 of 40
    appexappex Posts: 687member
    Bring standards like Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1 Type-C Generation 2 ports to all Apple devices.
  • Reply 4 of 40
    ireland said:
    Please be rMBA. Please be rMBA.

    I still say MacBook 12", rMBA 14" and rMBP 16" (dedicated graphics). Reduce a few bezels and this works well. Each has additional ports, power, weight and display size. And customers can make a far easier decision as to what they want.
    yes - clean, easy, with options on rMBP to really max out ram, and flash.
  • Reply 5 of 40
    "...will feature redesigned hinge." Wonder if that got the FBI thinking excitedly about a hinged... back door!
  • Reply 6 of 40
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    That hinge better not be liquid metal or the article announcing it will run to 500 posts.
    ireland
  • Reply 7 of 40
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,752member
    ireland said:
    Please be rMBA. Please be rMBA.

    I still say MacBook 12", rMBA 14" and rMBP 16" (dedicated graphics). Reduce a few bezels and this works well. Each has additional ports, power, weight and display size. And customers can make a far easier decision as to what they want.
    Intel is in sad shape with Skylake and its 14 nm tech.
  • Reply 8 of 40
    Kinda strange the mobile version of Skylake is still hung up.   A few of the desktop chips have been out for close to a year.
  • Reply 9 of 40
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,634member
    cnocbui said:
    That hinge better not be liquid metal or the article announcing it will run to 500 posts.
    Metal injection molding.

    You inject plastic with high amounts of metal particles mixed in, into a mold.

    The finished part is sintered at high temperature to flow the metal particles together, forming a near net or net shape, possibly with some porosity.
  • Reply 10 of 40
    irelandireland Posts: 17,568member
    tmay said:

    Metal injection molding.

    You inject plastic with high amounts of metal particles mixed in, into a mold.

    The finished part is sintered at high temperature to flow the metal particles together, forming a near net or net shape, possibly with some porosity.
    Is that right? Very cool.
  • Reply 11 of 40
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,634member
    ireland said:
    tmay said:

    Metal injection molding.

    You inject plastic with high amounts of metal particles mixed in, into a mold.

    The finished part is sintered at high temperature to flow the metal particles together, forming a near net or net shape, possibly with some porosity.
    Is that right? Very cool.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal_injection_molding
  • Reply 12 of 40
    josujosu Posts: 217member
    I don't see the need to make thinner what is really thin, is out there a thinning race or something?

    On the other hand, it could be helpful for the MacBook Pro, if only because, even if I can't call them heavy, to have that power in a lighter and much thinner body could drive sales. I could think about buying one next year to replace my old early 2008 MacBook Pro. Something that keeping the current form factor I would not consider, if only because I want to differentiate my laptops looking at them and not having to turn them on and opening the About this mac menu...
    edited April 2016
  • Reply 13 of 40
    josu said:
    I don't see the need to make thinner what is really thin, is out there a thinning race or something?

    On the other hand, it could be helpful for the MacBook Pro, if only because, even if I can't call them heavy, to have that power in a lighter and much thinner body could drive sales. I could think about buying one next year to replace my old early 2008 MacBook Pro. Something that keeping the current form factor I would not consider, if only because I want to differentiate my laptops looking at them and not having to turn them on and opening the About this mac menu...
    A sticker or Sharpie could be your friend.
  • Reply 14 of 40
    Intel continues to have problems with their mobile Skylake chips; they've now announced that they can't handle even a modest overclock, and that if the OS doesn't leverage the advanced sleep states it can, and likely will, lead to processor damage (electron migration issues). So it's no surprise Apple isn't rushing Skylake equipped MacBooks out the door.
    What recent mobile Intel part has ever supported overclocking? The multipliers have been locked on all Intel mobile processors since the P4 line was retired, and it's not like you can water-cool a laptop anyway Falcon so I'm not sure what you're focusing on here with your criticism. Other OEM's have had no issues in regards to the processor on their Skylake-updated Thin and Lights so I'm not seeing what issues you expect Apple is having/would have with theirs. 
    singularity
  • Reply 15 of 40
    Intel continues to have problems with their mobile Skylake chips; they've now announced that they can't handle even a modest overclock, and that if the OS doesn't leverage the advanced sleep states it can, and likely will, lead to processor damage (electron migration issues). So it's no surprise Apple isn't rushing Skylake equipped MacBooks out the door.
    What recent mobile Intel part has ever supported overclocking? The multipliers have been locked on all Intel mobile processors since the P4 line was retired, and it's not like you can water-cool a laptop anyway Falcon so I'm not sure what you're focusing on here with your criticism. Other OEM's have had no issues in regards to the processor on their Skylake-updated Thin and Lights so I'm not seeing what issues you expect Apple is having/would have with theirs. 
    Then you must not own a Surface or Surface Pro. Even Paul Thurrott, the ultimate Microsoft apologist calls it Surface gate. You can read it here:

    https://www.thurrott.com/mobile/microsoft-surface/64095/welcome-to-surfacegate

    Intel's portable CPUs do have serious issues.  And Samsung was given grief over issues of power consumption with the A9. 

    As for me, I am not interested in any machine with an x86 CPU these days. 
  • Reply 16 of 40
    What recent mobile Intel part has ever supported overclocking? The multipliers have been locked on all Intel mobile processors since the P4 line was retired, and it's not like you can water-cool a laptop anyway Falcon so I'm not sure what you're focusing on here with your criticism. Other OEM's have had no issues in regards to the processor on their Skylake-updated Thin and Lights so I'm not seeing what issues you expect Apple is having/would have with theirs. 
    Then you must not own a Surface or Surface Pro. Even Paul Thurrott, the ultimate Microsoft apologist calls it Surface gate. You can read it here:

    https://www.thurrott.com/mobile/microsoft-surface/64095/welcome-to-surfacegate

    Intel's portable CPUs do have serious issues.  And Samsung was given grief over issues of power consumption with the A9. 

    As for me, I am not interested in any machine with an x86 CPU these days. 
    Quote in that article where it says it's all Intel's fault. What I got out of it was it was all Microsoft's fault.
    Reasonable907singularity
  • Reply 17 of 40
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    tmay said:
    cnocbui said:
    That hinge better not be liquid metal or the article announcing it will run to 500 posts.
    Metal injection molding.

    You inject plastic with high amounts of metal particles mixed in, into a mold.

    The finished part is sintered at high temperature to flow the metal particles together, forming a near net or net shape, possibly with some porosity.
    That may well be the process alluded to, but you also injection mold liquid metal - that's how it works: http://liquidmetal.com/our-process/liquidmetal-injection-molding/

  • Reply 18 of 40
    What recent mobile Intel part has ever supported overclocking? The multipliers have been locked on all Intel mobile processors since the P4 line was retired, and it's not like you can water-cool a laptop anyway Falcon so I'm not sure what you're focusing on here with your criticism. Other OEM's have had no issues in regards to the processor on their Skylake-updated Thin and Lights so I'm not seeing what issues you expect Apple is having/would have with theirs. 
    Then you must not own a Surface or Surface Pro. Even Paul Thurrott, the ultimate Microsoft apologist calls it Surface gate. You can read it here:

    https://www.thurrott.com/mobile/microsoft-surface/64095/welcome-to-surfacegate

    Intel's portable CPUs do have serious issues.  And Samsung was given grief over issues of power consumption with the A9. 

    As for me, I am not interested in any machine with an x86 CPU these days. 
    So you're admittedly biased against the x86 architecture, so much so that you failed to notice the issues you mentioned as part of "Surfacegate" were actually software, not hardware, and were corrected a month after the article you linked to was published. 
    From Wikipedia: 
    The device had an issue where it failed to sleep properly, draining the battery very quickly.[15] Microsoft developed a fix that was available on February 17, 2016.[16]

    https://blogs.windows.com/devices/2016/02/17/an-update-on-surface-pro-4-and-surface-book/

    Indeed, all the issues Paul brings up in that article were software or driver based, and have since been corrected. The weak point was (and I'm surprised you skipped right over this fact) Microsoft software, not Intel hardware. The chances of Apple having the same issues with OSX, a vastly different Operating System than Windows 10, are remote and even laughable. 

  • Reply 19 of 40
    It should be noted that DigiTimes has an unreliable track record in predicting Apple's future product plans. Though the publication does occasionally provide accurate information from Apple's supply chain, it frequently gets both timing and features wrong on upcoming products.

    Well, so does AppleInsider and every other rumour site, especially on the golden age of Apple rumours and secrecy (that would be loosely around 2002 - 2010).

    And while it's common to jump on the DigiTimes hate bandwagon, they have been quite often right, and even some of their "failed" rumours materialized later down the line (so could just be an error on the release date, not on the actual production of test units or manufacturing runs).

    edited April 2016 Reasonable907
  • Reply 20 of 40
    Are we reaching a sort of threshold where we're going to once again stall out on speed and processing power? I'm still remembering the days with PowerPC hit that wall. What options do we have at this point? Simply add more cores to share in the workload making processes faster? Just wondering out load what we're going to see happen if these issues can't be overcome. What do you think would change in CPU design?
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