MacBook Pro with OLED touchbar visualized in new concept renderings

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited June 2016
Building on a foundation of recent rumor and speculation, designer Martin Hajek mocked up computer graphics renders exploring the utility of incorporating an OLED touchbar into Apple's rumored next-generation MacBook Pro, a device anticipated for release later this year.


MacBook Pro render. | Source: Martin Hajek


Posted to Hajek's blog on Thursday, the concept rendering integrates a sleek, high-resolution OLED touchbar into a modified MacBook Pro chassis modeled after a supposedly leaked part shown off in photographs last month. The result is nothing short of stunning.

In May, well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo issued a note airing Apple's potential plans for its aging MacBook Pro lineup. Along with a thinner, lightweight design, Kuo said Apple will nix the top row of function keys in favor of a single OLED touch panel. As the company is unlikely to remove existing keyboard functionality, some speculate the display will double as a customizable touch input capable of reconfiguring itself on the fly.




Hajek offers a few examples of how Apple might handle contextual reconfiguration. A few concepts show a representation of MacBook's traditional top row keys with the usual secondary functions like volume control, screen brightness and OS X system shortcuts. Other renders imagine the OLED display mirroring Mac's menu bar icons with app-specific graphics, an interesting idea that plays well Apple's push toward fullscreen app views. Siri's telltale equalizer graphic can be seen in another concept.




Not present is a MacBook version of Touch ID. Kuo predicts the next-generation MacBook Pro will be the first non-iOS device to integrate Apple's fingerprint recognition system. As Touch ID is embedded into iPhone and iPad home buttons, some speculate MacBook Pro's power button, or its OLED facsimile, as a logical installation site.

Kuo's note estimated Apple to announce a revamped MacBook Pro in the fourth quarter, but more recent rumblings suggest a June unveiling ahead of wide availability in August.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    ejieji Posts: 38member
    I love the idea of this OLED supplanting the menubar (at least in part) to maximize screen real estate. I tried the show/hide option in System Prefs, but I missed having the time, battery life, Bluetooth, WiFi and other info readable at a glance.
  • Reply 2 of 30
    ...
    pulseimageslevimejsricspheric[Deleted User]1983
  • Reply 3 of 30
    levilevi Posts: 344member
    Granted I'm not an engineer, but assuming it's practical, if rather see Touch ID in the track pad. 
  • Reply 4 of 30
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    Siri's telltale equalizer graphic can be seen in another concept. 
    Perfect place to put the Siri waveform animation without using any "main" display pixels.
    And maybe, eventually, a part of the OLED bar could contain a TouchID sensor.
    1983mike eggleston
  • Reply 5 of 30
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,151member
    I wish these mock ups would take it one step further when thinking about the design.
    They end up making good ideas look pointless by just copying existing status quo.

    I mean:-
    -Handbrake Progress bar is a waste of touch screen. It's not like a can touch the bar and make it progress faster.
    -If UI can change why do I need 4 brightness controls. have just one then pop up options.
    - Same with volume, media player controls, mission control all could pop-up all the UI they need it.
    - touchID at one end handles power, siri/search.

    That would leave say 10 uninterrupted function keys for apps to use without needing an "fn" key.
    Indeed why have the "fn" key at all with this system or is that for TouchID
    1983
  • Reply 6 of 30
    bitmodbitmod Posts: 267member
    levi said:
    Granted I'm not an engineer, but assuming it's practical, if rather see Touch ID in the track pad. 
    No way, the track pad needs to be left alone as a control device...
    This OLED touchbar however... is the first real sign of innovation from Apple since the iPad!
    It's a similar concept to the Samsung Edge - except this one makes sense.
    The only thing i'm not looking forward to is a $399 keyboard i'll have to pay for... :#
  • Reply 7 of 30
    why-why- Posts: 305member
    oh I always assumed it'd be next to the trackpad. not sure why though....
  • Reply 8 of 30
    anomeanome Posts: 1,304member

    The Transmission progress bar seems a stupid use for it, especially as it can only show one torrent at a time. Not totally convinced on replacing/supplementing the Menu Bar, either. It's at the bottom of the screen, rather than the top. The dock might make more sense, but I'm still not convinced.

    I'm interested in what Apple are going to try with the OLED strip, if it's a real thing, but I don't think any of these renders adds value in a meaningful way.

    Also, I can't tell if that has the new injection-moulded hinge or not.

    mattinozspheric
  • Reply 9 of 30
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    This may be the first step toward a fully multitouch “keyboard”.



    I still prefer a 27”/42” touchscreen for a desktop, though.
    Rayz2016
  • Reply 10 of 30
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,151member
    sockrolid said:
    Siri's telltale equalizer graphic can be seen in another concept. 
    Perfect place to put the Siri waveform animation without using any "main" display pixels.
    And maybe, eventually, a part of the OLED bar could contain a TouchID sensor.
    I assumed invoking Siri would be the same as invoking spotlight search in terms of on screen UI, using this new bar means it's limited to certain hardware. 
    This may be the first step toward a fully multitouch “keyboard”.



    I still prefer a 27”/42” touchscreen for a desktop, though.
    27" iMac Pro, Apple Pencil support and Vesa Mount (so I can attach to an old drawing board stand) would be killer.
  • Reply 11 of 30
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,902member
    sockrolid said:
    Siri's telltale equalizer graphic can be seen in another concept. 
    Perfect place to put the Siri waveform animation without using any "main" display pixels.
    And maybe, eventually, a part of the OLED bar could contain a TouchID sensor.
    Now that you mention it Siri, interfaced via this bar, would be perfect. It would most certainly avoid congestion on the main screen and would not detract from other uses for the touch bar.
  • Reply 12 of 30
    mattinoz said:
    sockrolid said:
    Perfect place to put the Siri waveform animation without using any "main" display pixels.
    And maybe, eventually, a part of the OLED bar could contain a TouchID sensor.
    I assumed invoking Siri would be the same as invoking spotlight search in terms of on screen UI, using this new bar means it's limited to certain hardware. 
    27" iMac Pro, Apple Pencil support and Vesa Mount (so I can attach to an old drawing board stand) would be killer.
    27 inch iMac Pro.  Apple Pencil support.  Der-rool.  Der-rool.

    Will a doubled in size, iPad Pro+ arrive first though?  *Imagines a 17 incher iPad Pro+.  Or a 20+ inch model on a dock able stand?

    Maybe the iPad Pro has given us a glimpse into a future 'Mac?'

    Lemon Bon Bon.
  • Reply 13 of 30
    sphericspheric Posts: 1,799member
    anome said:

    The Transmission progress bar seems a stupid use for it, especially as it can only show one torrent at a time. Not totally convinced on replacing/supplementing the Menu Bar, either. It's at the bottom of the screen, rather than the top. The dock might make more sense, but I'm still not convinced.

    I'm interested in what Apple are going to try with the OLED strip, if it's a real thing, but I don't think any of these renders adds value in a meaningful way.


    I concur. 

    I see these renderings as a "what it could look like" (to which my response is, "cool!"), rather than a demonstration of how it could be used. There's little value in that, and adding the menu widgets to that location just makes the laptop look as cluttered as all those badonka-donk butt-fugly Wintel machines with the sixteen status LEDs for Wifi/HD/power/Ethernet/floppy/whathaveyou. 

    I think Apple's angle will be the same as with the iPhone: "The problem is in those bottom sixty percent" — plastic buttons don't change. They'll have software function keys that change depending upon the app, and offer an API for developers to take advantage of the feature. They'll lead the way with Logic X 10.3 and FCP X.

    Press and hold the "fn" key to get volume and brightness sliders, iTunes playback and maybe Bluetooth/Wifi/Airdrop/Night Shift — like an iOS Control Center for the Mac. 
    And maybe Siri.
    edited June 2016
  • Reply 14 of 30
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,232moderator
    mattinoz said:
    I wish these mock ups would take it one step further when thinking about the design.
    They end up making good ideas look pointless by just copying existing status quo.

    I mean:-
    -Handbrake Progress bar is a waste of touch screen. It's not like a can touch the bar and make it progress faster.
    -If UI can change why do I need 4 brightness controls. have just one then pop up options.
    - Same with volume, media player controls, mission control all could pop-up all the UI they need it.
    - touchID at one end handles power, siri/search.

    That would leave say 10 uninterrupted function keys for apps to use without needing an "fn" key.
    Indeed why have the "fn" key at all with this system or is that for TouchID
    The "fn" key also modifies other physical keys like turning backspace into delete, return into enter and arrows into page up/page down/home/end. Pressing the "fn" key will likely be hard-wired to turn the bar into a row of function keys.

    I expect the icons will be more abbreviated like you suggest. There is no need to have up and down brightness/contrast/volume controls when tapping a single icon can turn into a slider.

    Any download notifications would more likely be in a loop or a bar under an icon so if Final Cut is rendering/exporting, Safari is downloading etc the icon can sit in the bar and have a progress bar around the icon or just below it and tapping it can bring it forward. They probably wouldn't replicate what the Dock or other parts of the UI are already doing though.

    I'm sure people will find ways to modify it to show whatever they want but Apple will likely want it to be tightly controlled so that software can't turn your display brightness all the way down and take over the LED panel preventing turning it back up. There will likely be an API for developers to make custom controls per app.

    I would expect 3 levels of controls. The default would only display the control icons for volume, music, display, exposé etc. Pressing "fn" would switch this to function keys. The 3rd set would be in-app controls that are not activated by default but reached by pressing a toggle on the default controls. This would let app developers make custom touch inputs specific to them.

    Adobe icon palettes/color swatches, developers can have run/debug/find/replace/go to function, Word can have some editing tools, anything with a timeline can have a timeline scrubber but FCP can also have the editing tools, games can have inventories/weapons, music apps can have instruments, video playback apps can have skip/subtitles/fast forward/chapter select and the scrubber, text input can have extended characters/emoji.

    Having escape as a touch key wouldn't be that great so maybe they'll move that down one place to where the tilde key is so that you can feel where it is as the touch bar will be flat.

    anome said:

    Also, I can't tell if that has the new injection-moulded hinge or not.

    The color of the new hinge should match the rest of the metal so this looks like the old hinge.

    This mockup looks like it has the lower height keyboard of the Macbook too. The desktop Magic Keyboard still uses scissor keys but they stabilized them. The MBP could go that route in order to retain the old key height but it's possible that they will switch to butterfly keys and lower them just like the 12" Macbook.
  • Reply 15 of 30
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,680member
    Okay this is starting to make sense, The problem is now this has leaked out the Chinese copy machines will be running over time to get something out before Apple release this if this is in fact a real product. Keep in mind Apple does 100's of concepts and some of those concepts never makes it to the consumers.
  • Reply 16 of 30
    dunksdunks Posts: 1,249member
    levi said:
    Granted I'm not an engineer, but assuming it's practical, if rather see Touch ID in the track pad. 
    That could make it challenging to decline a transaction.
  • Reply 17 of 30
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,213member
    Why are renders based on zero concrete detailed rumors considered news? This is the same guy that mocked up an AppleTV remote that looked like an iPhone with chamfered edges. Who cares how some graphic designer imagines a rumored feature might look like.
  • Reply 18 of 30
    J_RenoJ_Reno Posts: 1member
    I think you'd need more space between the touchbar and the top row of keys so you don't accidentally hit any keys when using the touchbar. Otherwise, convincing render.
  • Reply 19 of 30
    bikertwinbikertwin Posts: 564member
    If it's a mini-touchscreen, why not make it more like an iPad Pro's touch area above the Smart Keyboard?

    https://loumiranda.com/2016/06/02/rumored-macbook-pro-oled-function-bar-to-mimic-ipad-pro/ ;
  • Reply 20 of 30
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,788member
    Why are renders based on zero concrete detailed rumors considered news? This is the same guy that mocked up an AppleTV remote that looked like an iPhone with chamfered edges. Who cares how some graphic designer imagines a rumored feature might look like.

    My oh my, you're a crabby one, aren't you?

    People like to get excited before the WWDC. Stop trying to ruin their fun.

    I mean, if you don't like this sort of thing then don't hang around on rumour sites.

    nolamacguy
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