Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch could get new Touch Bar along with ARM CPU in 2021

MacBook Pro 16-inch
(Image credit: Future)

Apple’s MacBook Pro 16-inch will get a new 2nd-generation Touch Bar when the machine is refreshed with an ARM processor in mid-2021, rumor has it.

This big overhaul of the MacBook Pro will also see the laptop graced with Face ID technology, according to the latest from Apple leaker Komiya, as shared on Twitter.

Obviously take this with a major dose of salt, but if Apple is reworking the MacBook Pro 16-inch to include an ARM CPU for next year, it’s not beyond belief that other major design changes could happen.

Face ID coming to the MacBook is something which has been rumored previously (going by clues found in macOS Big Sur), so the addition of facial recognition tech makes sense in that light, but the info about a whole new Touch Bar design is a fresh leak.

Supersized bar

So what might a revamped Touch Bar look like? Not much in the way of details are provided via the Twitter grapevine here, except that it will be larger – possibly around twice the size of the current touch-sensitive strip. Presumably that means Apple has bigger plans in general for the Touch Bar in the future.

You may recall that Komiya has previously indicated that the MacBook Pro 16-inch will get a refresh this year, but this will just be a relatively minor spec bump – the ARM processor-powered variant will turn up in mid-2021, the leaker believes, as mentioned. There will still be Intel-driven versions of the portable available at that point, alongside the ARM models.

Komiya believes that we will see an ARM-toting MacBook Pro this year, but it’ll be the 13-inch version – as per previous buzz from the grapevine – which will come alongside a MacBook 12-inch with ARM chip.

All of this remains to be seen, naturally, and should be treated with the usual caution around any rumor – and even if it is Apple’s grand plan, there’s always the possibility that launch timeframes might slip somehow.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).