16-inch MacBook Pro reportedly still in production, with release date unknown

MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2019)
(Image credit: Future)

Apple may not have launched the 16-inch MacBook Pro in October when some projections had expected it to show up. But, with that timeline passed, 2020 is looking more likely, and it may currently be in production according to IDC Analyst Jitesh Ubrani, Forbes reports.

Explaining the signs that the 16-inch MacBook Pro was still coming, Ubrani said, "We're also starting to see early signs of this from the supply chain. However, the timing of this is still uncertain."

This would suggest that a November launch date of this year may also be too soon to hope for. Forbes also reported that a source in Asia said production was indeed underway.

While all this adds uncertainty to a launch timeline for the 16-inch MacBook Pro, it does still appear likely the product is coming. A file within macOS Catalina 10.15.1 showed hints of an updated design, something both the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro models released in 2019 lacked.

Cause for delay

One previously speculated reason given for why the 16-inch MacBook Pro could be delayed was keyboard issues. These have plagued recent MacBook computers thanks to the issue-prone butterfly key switch mechanisms used to offer lower-profile keys. Even the newest MacBook Pro models retain the Butterfly keyboards, but there have been rumors that Apple would move back to a standard scissor switch moving forward.

The transition away from one key switch technology to another could easily be a reason for a delay.

Then there are other aspects expected that could further the delay. A redesigned Touch Bar could be contributing to hitch in production, as could the new, bigger display. 

Another factor that could be in play but out of Apple's hands is CPU availability. If Apple plans to go with Intel's powerful Comet Lake processors, supply may stand in the way. Intel has struggled recently with producing enough of its 14nm processors, and that CPU shortage may last into 2020. If Apple doesn't have the processors to put into its MacBook Pro models, it will just have to wait. And, switching over to an AMD Zen 2 processor doesn't seem like a likely option, especially since mobile versions have yet to launch.

Mark Knapp

Over the last several years, Mark has been tasked as a writer, an editor, and a manager, interacting with published content from all angles. He is intimately familiar with the editorial process from the inception of an article idea, through the iterative process, past publishing, and down the road into performance analysis.