New slim MacBooks to feature Surface Pro-inspired hinge

Apple MacBook

While we were expecting to see new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBooks land at some point this quarter, it seems they won't be unleashed until later in the year – and when they do arrive, they'll be even thinner, slicker models thanks to a new hinge design.

These are the models that share a design similar to the 12-inch MacBook, according to that ever-spinning source of rumours DigiTimes, and these 'ultra-thin MacBooks' as the site calls them won't be released until the second half of this year.

They might well still be unveiled at WWDC in June, mind you – although that could depend on exactly how far down the line planned availability is.

Apple will be able to make these models thinner thanks to a new hinge mechanism produced by using 'metal injection molding'. Some of these hinges will be manufactured by Amphenol, a component supplier based in the States, alongside Apple's usual Taiwanese suppliers. Amphenol already makes hinges for the Surface Pro range.

Connectivity and colors

9 to 5 Mac, which spotted the DigiTimes report, also notes that these new MacBooks are rumoured to be running with just a pair of USB Type-C ports, one on each side, and no other ports. They will be offered in colors including gold and rose gold.

Currently, there's been a great deal of speculation about exactly what Apple is planning with the MacBook range this year. These ultra-thin models could arguably be replacements for the current MacBook Air, with Apple ditching the smallest 11-inch notebook – except other rumours insist that Cupertino is going to drop the MacBook Air range entirely.

If the mentioned MacBooks are new MacBook Pros as others believe, then they're walking a dicey line in terms of connectivity for a 'Pro' notebook with just two USB Type-C ports.

The rumours are pretty muddled right now, and that in itself is a sign we might not be as close to a launch as we thought – as you'd have hoped for some more concrete details to have spilled if that was the case.

Hopefully some real clarity on what is happening across the MacBook range for 2016 will be on the horizon soon enough.

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).