New macOS Virtual Keyboard Layouts Confirm Rumors of MacBook Pro OLED Touch Bar

A collection of new assets within the system resources for the virtual keyboard on macOS 10.12.1 essentially confirms Apple will be releasing new notebooks that include a touch-based OLED bar in lieu of the physical function key row seen on all current Macs, as has been rumored for the upcoming MacBook Pro.

On 10.12.0, the System Preferences assets for Apple's virtual keyboard - which lets users type on a Mac without a physical keyboard - include a number of different keyboard image files covering the physical key layouts used across Apple's product lineup, including full-height versus half-height function rows and different international layouts. Each file represents an image of macOS Sierra's virtual keyboard that mirrors the user's current physical keyboard layout, including a row across the top for function keys, Escape, and a power or eject key.

In yesterday's 10.12.1 update to Sierra, a new set of assets was discovered by MacRumors reader Gabriel Lorin, revealing an updated physical keyboard layout coming for machines supporting the new operating system version. Three additional sets of layout files are included in system resources on macOS 10.12.1, with each image depicting a virtual keyboard that lacks the standard tactile row of function keys.

keyboard-assets-2
The image files do not directly represent the OLED touch bar and its functionality, which will likely be managed using separate preferences, but the omission of the function row entirely in these new layouts leaves no other reasonable explanation beyond those key functionalities being moved to a separate location such as the rumored touch bar.

The significantly redesigned MacBook Pro, which is expected to be at the forefront of Apple's Mac event on Thursday, has been expected to include an OLED touch bar for some time now, so today's discovery is just another piece in a long line of rumors and evidence leading up to Apple's announcement later in the week. The panel is rumored to include Touch ID so users can gain easy access to a locked MacBook and perhaps direct Apple Pay functionality, and the remainder of the OLED keys will change contextually depending on which app is active on the computer.

Besides a 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro, Apple is believed to be launching a new 13-inch MacBook Air at the event, but recent reports suggest that users may have to wait until 2017 for a refresh to the iMac and a new standalone 5K display.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro 14 & 16"
Related Forums: MacBook Pro, macOS Sierra

Top Rated Comments

dschulian Avatar
96 months ago
So there is no escape?

(phun intended :p)
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Spink10 Avatar
96 months ago
No Apple Watch Bands? Cmon Apple!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Elijen Avatar
96 months ago
Honestly function keys row is very outdated and unintuitive (you never know what F* button does). Now any app will be able to declare any F* keys it needs to and can show intuitive icons and labels for them.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gpat Avatar
96 months ago
I need function keys for virtualization apps. Please don't turn my Mac into a gimmicky toy.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Born Again Avatar
96 months ago
Wow - Can't innovate my a$$? a Touch bar. 5 years to develop a touch bar.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
2457248 Avatar
96 months ago
still wondering how will they get away with the esc key. what? ah, courage you say.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

Six Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Thursday February 22, 2024 4:20 am PST by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models concurrently, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different, and already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
General Apps Messages

iOS 17.4 to Add This 'Groundbreaking' New Messaging Feature

Friday February 23, 2024 5:05 am PST by
With iOS 17.4, set to arrive in March 2024, Apple is bringing a new cryptographic security feature to iMessage called PQ3. This "groundbreaking" and "state-of-the-art" protocol provides "extensive defenses against even highly sophisticated quantum attacks," according to Apple. Let's break down what that means. Apple's iMessage service already supports end-to-end encryption, but security...
iPhone Notch

Apple Explored These Notch and Dynamic Island Designs for iPhones

Friday February 23, 2024 2:05 pm PST by
With the iPhone 14 Pro models in 2022, Apple introduced the Dynamic Island, which can morph and expand to display system alerts, sports scores, and a variety of other information. The feature makes the space surrounding the front camera and Face ID sensors useful compared to the notch on older iPhone models. Apple explored a variety of ideas for the iPhone's notch area over the years before...
New Macs iPads iOS 17 4

What to Expect at Potential Apple Event in March: iPads, Macs, and More

Friday February 23, 2024 8:35 am PST by
Apple often holds its first media event of the year in March, so the company could be just weeks away from announcing new products. Below, we have outlined what to expect from a potential Apple Event this March. Past Apple Events in March Apple has held five events in March since 2015:Monday, March 9, 2015 Monday, March 21, 2016 Tuesday, March 27, 2018 Monday, March 25, 2019 Tuesday,...
iOS 17

When Will Apple Release iOS 17.4 for iPhones?

Friday February 23, 2024 11:56 am PST by
Apple has been beta testing iOS 17.4 for nearly a month now. Below, we explain when the update is likely to be released to all users. In its press release announcing major App Store changes in the EU, which were implemented in response to new regulations under the EU's Digital Markets Act, Apple confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released at some point in March:Developers can learn about these...
iOS 17

iOS 17.4 Coming Soon With These New Features for Your iPhone

Monday February 26, 2024 6:08 am PST by
In a press release last month, Apple confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March, and the update includes several new features and changes for the iPhone. Key new features in iOS 17.4 include major App Store changes in the EU, Apple Podcasts transcripts, and an iMessage security upgrade. The update also adds new emoji and includes preparations for the launch of next-generation CarPlay...