Apple all but confirmed that the next MacBook Pro models will be unveiled tomorrow and will include support for Touch ID and a custom bar is going to replace the current top row of keys in the embedded keyboard.
The above image is already on your Mac if you installed the latest macOS Sierra 10.12.1 update. Check for yourself looking at
Besides the lack of a visible physical power button and of the
Esc key, Steve Troughton Smith suggested that developers, in order to populate the Magic Bar with custom controls, will need to create extensions much like the ones used in watchOS 1.
This opinion is corroborated by the fact that since august a new target named
os_bridge is available as part of the Xcode toolchain.
In order to support Touch ID - that requires the presence of a Secure Enclave available only as part of the custom A series custom arm SoC used on mobile devices - on Macs that are running on x86-64 Intel processors, Apple is going to embed another custom arm SoC inside the Macs. Probably a new letter will be used to describe those chips like the S serie created for the ᴡᴀᴛᴄʜ or the W serie for headphones. I’m going to bet my $1 to E1 - Embedded 1.
Magic Keyboard 2
All those speculations come nicely together also if Apple is going to upgrade the Magic Keyboard replacing the top row with a customizable display like the one rendered below. This device will enable Touch ID support also on iMac, Mac Pro, Mac mini and Apple TV devices..
All the same principles will apply nicely:
- Custom E1 SoC.
- Touch ID with secure enclave.
- Extensions are preloaded as happens on watchOS (without too much RAM and battery constraints).
- All the logic will run on the extension directly on the keyboard itself and only equivalent keystrokes will be sent back to the Mac to keep low latency.
- The base interface will be preloaded in RAM on the keyboard to speed up the launch.
- Authentication and Security will be managed directly on the Magic Keyboard, but passwords will stay encrypted on the paired Mac keychain.
- It will also work as external keyboard for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV devices.
- Works with Bluetooth and (already) has a Lightning port to charge and eventually communicate.
- Requires macOS Sierra 10.12.1, iOS 10.1 or tvOS 10.0.1.
Now the really bold prediction: the price will stay the same as the original Magic Keyboard: $99. Apple has already increased the price by $30 last year.