Archive of Retina MacBook Pro Rumors

If you purchased a 12-inch MacBook or MacBook Pro with Retina display and have experienced issues with the anti-reflective coating wearing off or delaminating, Apple may repair the notebook free of charge.


Apple will replace Retina displays on eligible models purchased as far back as June 2012 until October 16, 2017, or within three years of the original date of purchase, whichever is longer. The program was extended to provide affected customers with a longer window of time to get their notebook serviced.

The program has not been publicly announced, but Apple confirmed to MacRumors that repairs continue to be handled internally through AppleCare. Apple does not plan to announce the program publicly at this time, unlike its iPhone 6s battery replacement program and over a dozen others listed on its website.

We recommend affected customers schedule a Genius Bar appointment at an Apple Store or contact Apple support by phone, online chat, or email. Click on "get help" on this page, and then select Mac > Mac notebooks > Hardware Issues > Display Issue and support options should be presented to you.

Apple's support website will ask for your Mac's serial number, which can be found by clicking on the Apple logo in the top-left corner of the screen and clicking on About This Mac in the dropdown menu.

Affected customers can also visit an Apple Authorized Service Provider to determine if their notebook is eligible for coverage. If you have already incurred out-of-warranty costs related to this issue, you may be eligible for a refund, which can be initiated by contacting Apple support directly.

MacRumors revealed the repair program's existence in October 2015 following over two years of online complaints from thousands of customers within our discussion forums, on the Apple Support Communities, and elsewhere.

A website called Staingate contains a gallery of MacBook Pro models with seemingly damaged anti-reflective coating, revealing that the blemishes can extend across the entire screen in extreme cases. Meanwhile, a Facebook group related to the issue has nearly 9,000 members and continues to see regular activity.
Apple's latest line of notebooks introduced an entirely revamped keyboard featuring flatter keys built using a second-generation butterfly mechanism, designed to optimize for stability while also maximizing travel. The butterfly mechanism was originally introduced in the ultra thin MacBook, but a newer version was implemented in the MacBook Pro.

There have been mixed opinions about the keyboard of the 2016 MacBook Pro due to its vastly different feel compared to previous-generation MacBook Pro models, and it appears the new butterfly mechanism may also be less reliable compared to older construction techniques.

A growing number of customers who have purchased a 2016 MacBook Pro are running into issues with the keyboard, including non-functional keys, strange high-pitched sounds on some keys, and keys with a non-uniform feel. There are dozens of threads both on MacRumors and on the Apple Support site.


One of the most significant issues appears to be keys that make different higher-pitched sounds than other keys in some cases, a problem that was caught on video by MacRumors user monstermac77. As is demonstrated, when the caps lock key is pressed, it makes a sound that's much different than the other keys on the keyboard.


According to monstermac77, the issue is only reproducible when the Mac is warm, a complaint that has been echoed by several other MacBook owners in the thread, suggesting heat plays a role in activating the problem. Some users are experiencing the overly-clicky sound without heat, though.
Within a few hours of using my Late 2016 MacBook Pro 15" with Touch Bar, I noticed some of my keys made a very high pitched click on-key-up (when I lifted my finger from the pressed down key). The affected keys: Caps Lock, left Option, and very occasionally: Delete, 'H', and 'C'.
The high-pitched clicking sound is irritating, but it isn't as serious as some of the other issues MacBook Pro owners have been having with the keyboard. In some cases, certain keys on the MacBook Pro miss clicks, enter double letters, or refuse to respond at all, a problem that we here at MacRumors have also experienced. MacRumors reader rroch describes the problem:
My 2016 15'' MacBook Pro arrived yesterday (as one of the first). 63 of the 64 keys work fine. But the i-key most of the time types the letter twice. I suggest you test out your keyboard thoroughly. With auto-correct it can be easy to think it works. However, my password contains the letter i, and I quickly became super frustrated not being able to get my password right (come to think about it, maybe that's why they added Touch ID, so you don't need the keyboard for passwords). So take a document, turn off auto-correct, and check all the keys. I found that the failure happens more frequently with a slight delay before releasing the key.
It's not clear what's causing the issue with the keys that suddenly become non-functional, but the butterfly mechanism is sensitive and can be interrupted by something as simple as a bit of dust. In our case, with the machine we had that was experiencing issues with a specific key, the problem cleared up on its own, but other MacBook owners have not been so lucky.

One other minor keyboard complaint is an inconsistent feel across keys, with some keys that feel spongier than others or that don't press down consistently. This seems to be related to a problem with the butterfly mechanism which some users report having fixed with a needle or other thin tool, but most people should not try that sort of repair at home.

While many of the complaints seem to be focused on the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, some users have also had problems with both the 13-inch model with a Touch Bar and the 13-inch model with no Touch Bar.

Customers who are experiencing keyboard problems should visit an Apple Store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider. In most cases, Apple is offering repairs and replacements for affected users, especially those who have verifiable hardware problems related to skipping keys, but some MacRumors readers have needed to go through several replacement machines to find a keyboard that doesn't experience issues.

Keyboard replacements are also not a simple matter on a machine as complex as the MacBook Pro, and users should expect repairs or replacements to take multiple days. According to reports from customers who have sought repairs, Apple is outright replacing most Touch Bar models while sending non-Touch Bar models out for repairs.
Ever since the original MacBook Pro, Apple has identified the notebooks based on the time of year in which they were released.
  • Early: January-April
  • Mid: May-August
  • Late: September-December
The first MacBook Pro with a Retina display, for example, has a "Mid 2012" model name because it was released in June of that year.

Apple continued this trend when it launched its latest MacBook Pro lineup in October. Both the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, along with the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with a standard row of function keys, were described as "late 2016" models on Apple's website and support documentation.

Just recently, however, Apple appears to have dropped the "late" portion of "late 2016" when referring to its latest MacBook Pro models, as spotted by Apple blog Pike's Universum. Apple now simply identifies all of its latest MacBook Pros as "2016" models on its tech specs pages and under "About This Mac" on the second macOS 10.12.4 beta.


The latest MacBook Pro models are still identified as "MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2016)" or "MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016)" under "About This Mac" on earlier macOS Sierra versions for some users. Apple also has a few support documents that still refer to a "late-2016 MacBook Pro" in sentence usage on its website.

Given that Apple only refreshed its MacBook Pro lineup once last year, it is reasonable to assume that "late" was an unnecessary descriptor; however, Apple still refers to its latest 12-inch MacBook as "Early 2016" despite there being no other updates to that notebook last year. The same applies to the "12-inch MacBook, Early 2015."

Apple has also yet to remove "Mid" from its "Mid 2014" MacBook Pro, despite the fact that it was the only MacBook Pro model released in 2014, so this appears to be a clear deviation from the company's traditional nomenclature. We've reached out to Apple for an explanation, and we'll update this article if we hear back.

Update: MacRumors reader Peter Cao tweeted us a screenshot that shows "Late" has indeed been dropped under "About This Mac" on a 2016 MacBook Pro running the second macOS 10.12.4 beta.
While the latest MacBook Pro with Touch Bar notebooks launched under four months ago, references to possible next-generation models have already been discovered in the latest macOS 10.12.4 beta.


Apple blog Pike's Universum uncovered a trio of motherboard identifiers that do not correspond with any current MacBook Pro model, but use the exact same processor power management data as 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models released in late 2016. The plist files do not exist in previous macOS Sierra versions.

The next-generation MacBook Pro models would likely be powered by Intel's faster Kaby Lake processors, which are the natural successor to Skylake processors used in late 2016 models. This would be in line with a report from six weeks ago claiming the MacBook Pro will receive only minor bumps in processing power for 2017.

Mac-B4831CEBD52A0C4C would likely be for two new 13-inch MacBook Pro models with function keys. The models would likely have Kaby Lake processors with a maximum Turbo Boost of 3400 MHz and 4000 MHz respectively.

Mac-CAD6701F7CEA0921 would likely be for three new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models. These notebooks would likely have Kaby Lake processors with a maximum Turbo Boost of 3500/3700 MHz and 4000 MHz respectively.

Mac-551B86E5744E2388 would likely be for three new 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models. These notebooks would likely have Kaby Lake processors with a maximum Turbo Boost of 3800/3900 MHz and 4100 MHz respectively.

The blog said it checked the performance bias setting of each motherboard and determined that they are unlikely to be for desktop models such as the iMac and Mac Pro. There is also no GPU data as of yet.

The blog cross-referenced Intel's lineup of Kaby Lake processors currently available with the motherboard identifiers and was able to determine which chips are likely to be used in each new MacBook Pro:
13-inch MacBook Pro without Touch Bar

Intel Core i5-6360U 2.0 GHz (max Turbo Boost 3.1 GHz) with Intel® Iris™ Graphics 540 (15W)
Will be replaced by the:
Intel Core i5-7260U 2.2GHz (max Turbo Boost 3.4 GHz) with Intel® Iris™ Plus Graphics 640 (15W)

Intel Core i7-6660U 2.4 GHz (max Turbo Boost 3.4 GHz) with Intel® Iris™ Graphics 540 (15W)
Will be replaced by the:
Intel Core i7-7660U 2.5 GHz (max Turbo Boost 4.0 GHz) with Intel® Iris™ Plus Graphics 640 (15W)

13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

Intel Core i5-6267U 2.9 GHz (max Turbo Boost 3.3 GHz) with Intel® Iris™ Graphics 550 (28W)
Will be replaced by the:
Intel Core i5-7267U 3.1 GHz (max Turbo Boost 3.5 GHz) with Intel® Iris™ Plus Graphics 650 (28W)

Intel Core i5-6287U 3.1 GHz (max Turbo Boost 3.5 GHz) with Intel® Iris™ Graphics 550 (28W)
Will be replaced by the:
Intel Core i5-7287U 3.3 GHz (max Turbo Boost 3.7 GHz) with Intel® Iris™ Plus Graphics 650 (28W)

Intel Core i7-6567U 3.3 GHz (max Turbo Boost 3.6 GHz) with Intel® Iris™ Graphics 550 (28W)
Will be replaced by the:
Intel Core i7-7567U 3.5 GHz (max Turbo Boost 4.0 GHz) with Intel® Iris™ Plus Graphics 650 (28W)

15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz (max Turbo Boost 3.5 GHz) with Intel® HD Graphics 530 (45W)
Will be replaced by the:
Intel Core i7-7700HQ 2.8 GHz (max Turbo Boost 3.8 GHz) with Intel® HD Graphics 630 (45W)

Intel Core i7-6820HQ 2.7 GHz (max Turbo Boost 3.6 GHz) with Intel® HD Graphics 530 (45W)
Will be replaced by the:
Intel Core i7-7820HQ 2.9 GHz (max Turbo Boost 3.9 GHz) with Intel® HD Graphics 630 (45W)

Intel Core i7-6920HQ 2.9 GHz (max Turbo Boost 3.8 GHz) with Intel® HD Graphics 530 (45W)
Will be replaced by the:
Intel Core i7-7920HQ 3.1 GHz (max Turbo Boost 4.1 GHz) with Intel® HD Graphics 630 (45W)
Apple seeded the first beta of macOS 10.12.4 to developers on January 24, and additional betas should follow. It is highly unlikely Apple will launch new MacBook Pros until the software update is officially released at the earliest, which should happen by late February or early March based on previous releases.

Apple could feasibly launch next-generation MacBook Pro models at any point following the release of macOS 10.2.4, but its late 2016 models are still rather new. WWDC 2017 in June is likely the earliest possibility for a refresh, but previous rumors also point towards a launch in the second half of 2017 or later.

Last month, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said new Kaby Lake-equipped MacBook Pros will enter mass production in the July quarter. He also mentioned a "15-inch MacBook" that will include 32GB of RAM and enter mass production in the early fourth quarter, which starts in September.
Apple is developing a new ARM-based chip for its Mac lineup that would "take on more of the functionality" handled by Intel processors, reports Bloomberg.

In development since last year, the chip, codenamed T310, is said to be similar to the chip used to power the Touch Bar in the new 2016 Macbook Pro. It's built using ARM technology and will work with the standard Intel processor, handling "Power Nap" low-power mode functionality.

Apple engineers are planning to offload the Mac's low-power mode, a feature marketed as "Power Nap," to the next-generation ARM-based chip. This function allows Mac laptops to retrieve e-mails, install software updates, and synchronize calendar appointments with the display shut and not in use. The feature currently uses little battery life while run on the Intel chip, but the move to ARM would conserve even more power, according to one of the people.
Apple's 2016 MacBook Pro uses an independent ARM-based chip called the T1 to power the Touch Bar, the Touch ID fingerprint sensor built into the Touch Bar, and the secure enclave that stores payment and biometric data.

According to Bloomberg's report, the upcoming ARM-based chip will "go further," connecting to storage and wireless components to take on additional power management capabilities.

Apple could begin using the new chip in an upgraded version of the MacBook Pro set to launch later this year, but it could be introduced as a quiet update with little fanfare as the chip that powers the Touch Bar was not promoted by Apple.

Despite Apple's plans to offload some tasks to a new ARM chip, Apple is said to have no intention of abandoning Intel chips in its laptop and desktop computers.
North Carolina law students who purchased one of Apple's new MacBook Pro models that include a Touch Bar will need to disable much of its functionality to be able to use their MacBooks on the upcoming 2017 Bar Examination, according to a new notice put out today by the Board of Law Examiners of the State of North Carolina.

According to the notice, applicants will need to disable the Touch Bar's ability to be used with apps through the System Preferences before they can use their computers to take the test. The Touch Bar needs to be set to "Expanded Control Strip," which displays options like screen brightness and volume controls without allowing it to show app-specific content that shifts with each app.

13inchmacbookprokeyboard
This is a notice for all applicants who will be using their laptop at the February 2017 North Carolina Bar Examination. If you are planning to use the newest version of the Mac Book Pro with Touch Bar, you will be required to disable the Touch Bar feature prior to entry into the Bar Examination Site.

To disable the Touch Bar:
From the Dock, open System Preferences, then double-click Keyboard, then open the drop-down menu for "Touch Bar Shows," and select Expanded Control Strip.

Please be advised that the Announcing Proctor will make an announcement at the start of the exam session asking anyone who is using a Mac Book Pro with Touch Bar to raise their hand so that a proctor or ExamSoft technician can come to their seat and ensure that the Touch Bar has been disabled.
The notice doesn't include the reason why Touch Bar functionality must be limited, but in a statement, a board staff member said that it has the potential to compromise security, perhaps leading to cheating. An anonymous source also told MacRumors that the ban stems from ExamSoft, the company responsible for making sure test takers have restricted access to the internet, apps, and files. One of the concerns ExamSoft has is the Touch Bar's predictive text feature, which suggests words to users. According to the source, the MacBook Pro is restricted from all tests administered by ExamSoft clients.

Update: It appears the Touch Bar ban expands beyond North Carolina and is even harsher in some states. In California, the Committee of Bar Examiners has decided that the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar can't be used at all on the February 2017 examination and sent out notices to test takers this morning.
The Committee of Bar Examiners has been advised that the MacBook Pro laptop with Touch Bar contains certain embedded features that makes it problematic for use during the upcoming February 2017 administration of the CBX. As a result, applicants will NOT be allowed to use the MacBook Pro laptop with Touch Bar during the February 2017 CBX.
According to the Committee of Bar Examiners, applicants will need to find a different laptop to use during the test. Those who attempt to use a MacBook Pro with Touch Bar will receive a score of zero for the session and will not be allowed to continue the exam.
Apple will release updated Mac notebooks with Intel's next-generation Kaby Lake processors later this year, according to the latest research note from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

2016_macbook_pro_lineup
Kuo said new 12-inch MacBook models with Kaby Lake processors will enter mass production in the early second quarter, which starts in March, and noted a 16GB of RAM option could be added—presumably as a high-end or built-to-order configuration. The two current 12-inch MacBook configurations include 8GB of RAM.

Likewise, Kuo said new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models with Kaby Lake processors will start mass production in the early third quarter, which starts in July. The research note did not specify how much RAM these models will have, but 16GB could remain the limit due to the restrictions of current memory designs.

Interestingly, Kuo also mentions a "15-inch MacBook" that will include 32GB of RAM and enter mass production in the early fourth quarter, which starts in September. He said this model will be "the most significantly redesigned product this year," and he believes it will adopt desktop-class RAM to satisfy high-end users.

Given the high-end specifications, it is likely that this 15-inch MacBook would be part of the MacBook Pro lineup, but Kuo did not specify. Beyond faster processors and increased memory, Kuo said most other specifications and the design of all of the notebooks will be similar to equivalent models released in 2016.

Kuo believes the new Kaby Lake notebooks will be power efficient, which may positively affect shipments. He estimates that Mac notebook shipments will resume year-over-year growth at about 10% on the strength of the new models, while shipments will be quicker as production delays affecting 2016 models are resolved.

Kuo also expects Apple to discount the 13-inch MacBook Pro with a standard row of function keys this year as that model gradually replaces the 13-inch MacBook Air in Apple's notebook lineup.

While no release dates were mentioned, Kuo previously said he expects new MacBook Pro models with 32GB of RAM to launch in the second half of 2017.
Apple advertises that the latest MacBook Pro models provide up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge for web browsing and iTunes movie playback, but a user's mileage may vary based upon factors such as display brightness, which apps are running, and external devices connected.

For this reason, Apple lists apps using a significant amount of energy under the battery menu in the macOS menu bar. The feature enables users to monitor which apps are drawing a lot of power and impacting battery life, whether it be the built-in Spotlight tool or a power-hungry web browser with several tabs open.

mac-apps-using-significant-energy
Now, Apple has gone one step further and expanded the feature to include display brightness. On the latest macOS Sierra beta, when a Mac's display is set above 75% brightness—or at least 13 out of 16 notches—a new item called "Display Brightness" is listed under the battery menu.

Clicking on "Display Brightness" lowers the Mac's brightness to 75%. Likewise, when we updated a new MacBook Pro to the fourth beta of macOS Sierra 10.12.3, the display's brightness was automatically lowered to 75%. This is the same brightness level as Apple used during its latest MacBook Pro battery tests.

mac-significant-energy-display-brightness
New: "Display Brightness" is now listed and "Apps" has been dropped from the title

Battery life on the latest MacBook Pro models has been a controversial topic since the notebooks launched in October. A subset of users have reported getting as little as three to six hours of battery life on a single charge, sometimes even with only basic web browsing and other non-intensive tasks.

Apple has consistently stood by its advertised battery life for the latest MacBook Pro. It did, however, remove the "time remaining" battery life indicator on macOS Sierra 10.12.2, noting the estimates "couldn't accurately keep up with what users were doing" because of the "dynamic ways" people use their Macs.

Consumer Reports initially failed to recommend the latest MacBook Pro because of battery life inconsistencies, but it later worked with Apple and learned that a Safari bug triggered by its own testing configuration was to blame for the mixed results. Apple fixed that bug in macOS 10.12.3, and Consumer Reports has since reversed course and now recommends the latest MacBook Pro after retesting.

The new feature is currently limited to beta testers. It will be widely available when macOS 10.12.3 is officially released over the coming days.
Consumer Reports is out with an updated report on the 2016 MacBook Pro, and following retesting, the magazine is now recommending Apple's latest notebooks.

In the new test, conducted running a beta version of macOS that fixes the Safari-related bug that caused erratic battery life in the original test, all three MacBook Pro models "performed well."


The 13-inch model without a Touch Bar had an average battery life of 18.75 hours, the 13-inch model with a Touch Bar lasted for 15.25 hours on average, and the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar had an average battery life of 17.25 hours.
Now that we've factored in the new battery-life measurements, the laptops' overall scores have risen, and all three machines now fall well within the recommended range in Consumer Reports ratings.
Consumer Reports originally denied the 2016 MacBook Pro a purchase recommendation in late December due to extreme battery life variance that didn't match up with Apple's 10 hour battery life claim.

Apple worked with Consumer Reports to figure out why the magazine encountered battery life issues, which led to the discovery of an obscure Safari caching bug. Consumer Reports used a developer setting to turn off Safari caching, triggering an "obscure and intermittent bug reloading icons" that drained excessive battery.

The bug, fixed by Apple in macOS Sierra 10.12.3 beta 3, is not one the average user will encounter as most people don't turn off the Safari caching option, but it's something done in all Consumer Reports tests to ensure uniform testing conditions. A fix for the issue will be available to the general public when macOS Sierra 10.12.3 is released, but users can get it now by signing up for Apple's beta testing program.

Each of the three 2016 MacBook Pro models, including the 13-inch MacBook Pro without Touch Bar, and the 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pro models with Touch Bars, are advertised as achieving 10 hours of battery life on a single charge when watching iTunes movies or browsing the web.

Real life Battery usage can vary significantly, however, based on factors like screen brightness and the applications being used.
Akitio has announced the release of the its Thunder3 Quad Mini, a 2.5" four-bay Thunderbolt 3 external storage solution for the latest MacBook Pro.

akitio-quad-thunderbolt-3
The aluminum storage device has removable trays designed to house up to four 2.5" SATA SSDs or hard drives purchased separately. The device is equipped with two Thunderbolt 3 ports—the first one connects to the MacBook Pro, and the second one can be used to connect or daisy chain Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C peripherals.

With Software RAID, Akitio said four striped SSDs can reach data transfer speeds of up to 1375 MB/s, while four striped hard drives max out at around 400 MB/s. Thunderbolt 3 provides sufficient bandwidth to connect dual 4K displays to the latest MacBook Pro and complete other data transfers simultaneously.

akitio-thunder3-quad-mini
A dedicated DisplayPort 1.2 video output provides connectivity to the 4K displays at 60Hz, while the device supports Power Delivery up to 15W to notebooks that support charging from a 5V/3A power source. 15W is hardly sufficient wattage for the latest MacBook Pro, which fully charges at up to 85W with Apple's own charger.

Akitio said the Thunder3 Quad Mini will be available in March for $329 alongside five other Thunderbolt 3 storage devices it sells.
Last month, the new MacBook Pro did not receive a purchase recommendation from Consumer Reports due to battery life issues that it encountered during testing. Apple subsequently said it was working with Consumer Reports to understand the results, which it noted do not match its "extensive lab tests or field data."

2016_macbook_pro_lineup
Apple has since learned that Consumer Reports was using a "hidden Safari setting" which trigged an "obscure and intermittent bug reloading icons" that led to inconsistent battery life results. With "normal user settings" enabled, Consumer Reports said it "consistently" achieved expected battery life.

Apple's full statement was shared with MacRumors:
"We appreciate the opportunity to work with Consumer Reports over the holidays to understand their battery test results," Apple told MacRumors. "We learned that when testing battery life on Mac notebooks, Consumer Reports uses a hidden Safari setting for developing web sites which turns off the browser cache. This is not a setting used by customers and does not reflect real-world usage. Their use of this developer setting also triggered an obscure and intermittent bug reloading icons which created inconsistent results in their lab. After we asked Consumer Reports to run the same test using normal user settings, they told us their MacBook Pro systems consistently delivered the expected battery life. We have also fixed the bug uncovered in this test. This is the best pro notebook we’ve ever made, we respect Consumer Reports and we’re glad they decided to revisit their findings on the MacBook Pro."
Apple said it has fixed the Safari bug in the latest macOS Sierra beta seeded to developers and public testers this week.


Consumer Reports has issued its own statement on the matter to explain why it turns off Safari caching during its testing and other details:
We also turn off the local caching of web pages. In our tests, we want the computer to load each web page as if it were new content from the internet, rather than resurrecting the data from its local drive. This allows us to collect consistent results across the testing of many laptops, and it also puts batteries through a tougher workout.

According to Apple, this last part of our testing is what triggered a bug in the company’s Safari browser. Indeed, when we turned the caching function back on as part of the research we did after publishing our initial findings, the three MacBooks we’d originally tested had consistently high battery life results.
The non-profit organization also acknowledged user reports of poor battery life that have surfaced over the past three months.

Consumer Reports said it will complete its retesting of MacBook Pro battery life and report back with its update and findings when finished.

Apple advertises that the latest MacBook Pro models get up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge when watching iTunes movies or browsing the web. This estimate can be affected by several factors, such as screen brightness, which applications are running, and other system processes.
Apple will shift to indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) material for MacBook Pro displays as soon as later this year, according to IHS. The research firm told DigiTimes that Apple may continue to procure MacBook Pro displays based on current amorphous silicon (a-Si) material until the end of the first quarter.

2016_macbook_pro_lineup
The report claims Samsung and Sharp will begin supplying IGZO panels to Apple as soon as mid-2017. Sharp began mass production of IGZO displays in 2012, but evidence points towards Apple only using the material in iPads so far. A rumor claiming the first IGZO MacBooks would launch by 2014 proved to be inaccurate.

IGZO is a semiconducting material that has forty times more electron mobility than the standard a-Si used as the active layer of an LCD screen, allowing for less power consumption, improved touch sensitivity, and increased pixel density, which could pave the way for higher resolution displays.

DisplayMate president Raymond Soneira told us IGZO can also result in "significantly higher brightness," but the material costs "considerably more" to manufacture. Production and yield issues have slowed the adoption of IGZO, but the material is now showing up in more products such as LG's new OLED TVs.

"Sometimes IGZO is simply referred to as Metal Oxide," he added. "The higher the PPI and the wider the Color Gamut (like DCI-P3 for the new MacBook Pro) the greater the benefits of IGZO over a-Si, particularly for LCDs."

The glass edge and backplane circuitry of IGZO displays can also be made smaller, possibly leading to a thinner MacBook Pro. However, such a design change is less likely this year given Apple just redesigned the notebook in 2016 for the first time in four years. Apple's interest likely lies in the power savings.

The original iPad Air's overall size and battery were reduced by around 25% compared to the previous model, and analysis suggested the tablet's new IGZO display made that possible. However, a smaller MacBook Pro battery would likely be perceived negatively following battery life complaints on 2016 models.

Given the timeline, Apple's switch to IGZO displays may be planned for the next-generation MacBook Pro. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said new MacBook Pro models will launch in the second half of 2017, possibly with slightly faster Kaby Lake processors unveiled this week.

IHS estimates Apple will order 9.7 million MacBook Pro display panels in 2017, an increase from 8.8 million units in 2016.