Apple accidentally leaked at least some of the changes coming to the MacBook Pro (due to be announced October 27).
Discovered by MacRumors, the most recent update of the OS Sierra has two images of what looks like a big change to the keyboard: The top row of keys is gonna disappear, replaced by the long-rumored Magic Toolbar, a light-up OLED bar that’ll replace all those function keys and also allow users to confirm their identity with their fingerprint — the same tech we’ve seen on the last three iPhones.
This confirms what many Apple fanatics have suspected for a while — developers digging through files found images of an Apple keyboard missing the top row of keys today as well.
It’s unclear what exactly the Magic Toolbar will do — you have to assume it’ll keep the same functionality of the preexisting function keys, but be able to be context-aware and shift appearance and use depending on what program you’re using (e.g., show the track name and artist, and volume control while in Spotify, or common tool shortcuts while in Photoshop). It seems likely the Toolbar will feature the same haptic feedback seen in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 to provide the sensation of clicking even if no mechanical parts are moving.
A few other stray observations on the keyboard from the photos: It looks like the pitch (i.e., the distance between the keys) has been significantly reduced from the current version of the MacBook Pro, and the size of the keys has likely been increased as well. It’ll be interesting to see if this will make for a better-feeling keyboard — a surprisingly complex science; there were some that groused that the smaller keys on the last versions of the MacBook Pro made for slower typing.