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What can macOS Catalina tell us about the next MacBook Pro?

macOS Catalina
Image Credit: Apple (Image credit: Apple)
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Apple’s latest operating system for Macs, macOS Catalina, is not only exciting for owners of current Mac computers – it could hold big hints for the next major MacBook Pro

That is, the rumored MacBook Pro with a 16-inch display, not the first MacBook Pro with an 8-core processor that just launched in May 2019. All eyes are looking toward the revamp, not the refresh.

There are a few major features coming to Macs via macOS 10.15 Catalina that give us a solid idea of what to expect (read: hope for) from the next MacBook Pro. Here are three major themes we’re seeing put forth in macOS Catalina that could – and should – be improved with the next MacBook Pro.

macbook pro gaming

The MacBook Pro running Asphalt 9: Legends. (Image Credit: Apple)

A much better MacBook Pro for gaming

While nothing that Apple has explicitly said regarding macOS Catalina has us thinking of the next MacBook Pro as a gaming laptop, it’s the combination of Project Catalyst and Apple’s deepening relationship with graphics processor (GPU) maker AMD that drives our expectations.

First, Project Catalyst will see a hopeful deluge of iPad apps coming to macOS in the coming year, and the most popular apps on iPad by a long shot are games – as is the case on the iPhone. With Apple finally recognizing its mobile devices’ position as a gaming platform via Apple Arcade, and it even name-dropping the hit mobile racer Asphalt 9: Legends in its preview of Project Catalyst, this influx of iPad games on Mac will surely have an effect on the perception of the MacBook Pro’s gaming chops.

Consider also how Apple’s relationship with AMD has grown over the past few years. In fact, AMD’s next pro-grade graphics cards debuted during Apple’s WWDC 2019 keynote, which shows Apple’s interest and confidence in the company. High-end Macs and MacBook Pros come exclusively with AMD graphics options, and that will likely only continue. So, could we see the MacBook Pro better serve the cross section of Mac fans and gamers? Here’s to hoping.

siri macos

Image Credit: TechRadar

Siri’s big break for work life

Apple’s voice assistant, Siri, has been available on the Mac for a long time now – several macOS versions at least. And frankly, it hasn’t done too much in the way of helping people get their work done.

This could very well change with the next MacBook Pro, given that Siri’s capability for voice controls have vastly improved with macOS Catalina. Users can now navigate pretty much the entire operating system with only their voice.

This is currently billed as an accessibility feature, which is certainly welcome on its own, but we see much more potential in this – especially given the natural language improvements coming to Siri with the iOS 13 update. If the next MacBook Pro were able to carry out complete tasks for us using just Siri, that would be a game changer for time-strapped typists.

macOS Catalina

The macOS Catalina Sidecar feature at work. (Image Credit: Apple) (Image credit: Apple)

A MacBook Pro with closer friends

With macOS Catalina, the iPad becomes a trusted sidekick to the Mac with the aptly-named Sidecar feature. This allows the iPad to not only become a secondary display for the Mac, but also allows for Apple Pencil input into macOS through a list of supported apps.

This looks to be a strong hint for where Apple plans to take its next MacBook Pro – and all of its Macs in general, really. It’s easy to anticipate this kind of feature getting wider system access in the next version of macOS, with Pencil input expanding beyond the few apps it now supports.

Likewise, we could easily see the iPhone enjoying similar access to macOS via Sidecar, perhaps to use as a smaller secondary display or additional input method. Using this feature, the iPhone could even become a macOS game controller for the various iPad games that are destined for macOS ports in the coming years. At any rate, we anticipate Apple doubling down on the MacBook Pro as a hub for its mobile devices, using their touch functions to its full advantage.

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Joe Osborne is the Senior Technology Editor at Insider Inc. His role is to leads the technology coverage team for the Business Insider Shopping team, facilitating expert reviews, comprehensive buying guides, snap deals news and more. Previously, Joe was TechRadar's US computing editor, leading reviews of everything from gaming PCs to internal components and accessories. In his spare time, Joe is a renowned Dungeons and Dragons dungeon master – and arguably the nicest man in tech.