Apple Has A Surprise Announcement — & It Could Be Major

Photo: Courtesy Apple.
Update: It looks like the biggest rumour about the MacBook Pros could be true. According to Engadget, hidden images in the latest macOS Sierra update show the previously reported upper row of touchscreen keys. This row of keys, which is also being referred to as the "Magic Toolbar," could include the Escape key, screen brightness controls, and volume controls (when applicable to what you're doing onscreen).
In September, before the world heard about AirPods and saw the camera magic of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, we guessed that Apple might reveal new MacBook Pros. This didn't happen at that event, but Apple just sent out invites for an event next Thursday, October 27. According to a report from Recode, those shiny new laptops might be making an appearance. Reportedly, the MacBook update won't just be your usual spec bump of faster processors and memory. The MacBook Pro, in particular, may get a big update: a reimagined keyboard that could change typing as we know it. Back in August, Bloomberg reported that the next MacBook Pros could have a row of touchscreen keys — in true smartphone style — along the top of the keyboard. The keys that display on this row could change, depending on how you're using your laptop at that moment. For example, if you're listening to music, you'd probably see the volume and pause/play buttons. If you're editing photos in Photoshop, you'd see shortcuts for cropping or resizing, instead. There are also rumours that the MacBook Pro will have Touch ID built-in for extra security, like the iPhone. A customisable row of keys is, without a doubt, an exciting change. But what's more exciting is the supposed next evolution of this keyboard. The Wall Street Journal reports that as soon as 2018, we might see keyboards that don't prescribe to the standard QWERTY format. These new keyboards, using technology from Australian company Sonder Design, may use e-ink (the same thing behind the Kindle) and be completely customisable. With a touch of the screen, or key pad, you could have access to unlimited languages, emoji, and other symbols. 2018 sounds far off, but, fingers crossed, we'll get a glimpse at the dynamic technology at next week's event. But for anyone holding out hope that the death of the headphone jack is limited to the iPhone, you might want to prepare for disappointment ahead of time. Those who mourned the loss of the iPhone's headphone jack might want to prepare to bid it farewell on the MacBook Pro, too. This article originally published October 19, 2016.

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