Apple may finally release a new ‘low price’ laptop — and it likely won’t have its controversial touchscreen keyboard

Unlike this MacBook Pro, Apple’s new computer won’t have a touch-sensitive Touch Bar. Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
  • Apple will release a new laptop model before the end of the year, according to a well-respected analyst at a Hong Kong bank.
  • The new computer will have a fingerprint reader but won’t have Apple’s controversial Touch Bar, according to the note seen by Business Insider.
  • The laptop will replace Apple’s current 12-inch MacBook, according to the note.

Apple has a new lower cost laptop in the works that will have a fingerprint sensor but not the company’s widely panned touch-sensitive Touch Bar, according to a new research note from a widely respected and usually reliable financial analyst.

The new model would seem to fill a longstanding demand by Apple fans for a relatively inexpensive Mac laptop, but one that comes without the Touch Bar. The new laptop model will replace Apple’s 12-inch MacBook model, which does not have a fingerprint scanner and starts at $US1300, TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a note distributed Monday.

Apple may or may not reveal the new laptop Wednesday, when it is holding a press event on its campus in Cupertino, California. But Kuo expects the company to launch it before the end of the year.

According to Bloomberg, which has previously reported on the laptop, it will have a much higher resolution 13-inch display than that found in the current MacBook Air models and will be targeted at consumers and schools.

It’s not clear whether the new laptop will have a redesigned keyboard. The “butterfly” keyboard Apple has used in its recent notebook computers has suffered from reliability complaints.

Apple introduced the Touch Bar in 2016, debuting it on its high-end MacBook Pro laptops. The feature replaced the standard function and other keys in the top row on those computers with a narrow, touch-sensitive screen as well as a fingerprint reader. Developers can program the Touch Bar to display custom keys for particular programs.

This feature proved controversial, though. Many Mac loyalists lamented the loss of the escape and other physical keys. Others complained that the Touch Bar simply wasn’t that useful.

Apple has things other than laptops in the works

Ming Chi Kuo
These are some of the products Kuo expects Apple to announce before the end of this year. TF International Securities

While it’s unclear whether Apple will announce the new laptop Wednesday, it is widely expected to unveil new iPhones and Apple Watch models at its event this week.

One new feature the Apple Watch models will include is support for electrocardiography (ECG), Kuo said in his note. Current Apple Watches have a heart-rate sensor, which can take occasional readings. But ECG, which is required for many medical uses, requires continuous heart monitoring.

Additionally, the underside of the new watches will be made of a ceramic material, according to the report. The current models use a composite material on their backs.

Apple also has in the works a new iPad Pro model that will include the company’s Face ID facial recognition feature, Kuo said. Additionally, the new iPad Pro will have an USB-C port, which will allow it to be charged more quickly than current models and will be used to connect accessories, he said. As with the laptop, Apple may hold off until later this year to unveil the new iPod Pro model, rather than launching it on Wednesday.

Kuo’s research focuses on Asian technology companies that sell parts and manufacturing services to Apple and other big American tech companies. Among the companies he offered bullish assessments on in his note were Luxshare ICT, Catcher, and Everwin Precision.