Apple 'leaks its own Macbook Pro laptop revamp'

Apple image Image copyright Apple
Image caption Apple included this image within the 10.12.1 release of MacOS

Apple appears to have leaked images of its next-generation laptop ahead of a press conference on Thursday.

The photos support claims that the Macbook Pro will include a panel above its keyboard that replaces physical function keys with a thin display showing touch-sensitive text and graphics, and a fingerprint sensor.

The images were discovered in an update to the MacOS operating system and first appeared on the MacRumors news site.

Such "accidents" are not uncommon.

In September, Apple tweeted and then deleted a video showing off the iPhone 7's new features ahead of its launch.

Earlier in April, it referred to MacOS on its website two months before officially revealing it was rebranding the software from its earlier name of OS X.

The company's chief executive, Tim Cook, notably promised to "double down on secrecy on products" in 2012 after earlier leaks.

But the company is far from being the only one to have problems with the issue.

In the past two months alone:

  • images and specifications for Google's Pixel smartphones were posted online by the UK retailer Carphone Warehouse and the US network Verizon before they had been officially revealed
  • China's LeEco published details of new TVs and handsets on its own website weeks ahead of a big-budget event organised in the US to unveil them
  • Blackberry revealed details off its DTEK60 smartphone a month early when it added a page named "specifications-a-donotpublish.html" to its website
  • official product shots for Huawei's Mate 9 and HTC's Bolt handsets were obtained and published on Twitter by Venturebeat's Evan Blass - both products have yet to be formally announced

Conspiracy theorists have speculated that such leaks could be orchestrated by the manufacturers to boost publicity.

Image copyright MacRumors
Image caption The popularity of rumour-dedicated news sites has made it harder to keep forthcoming products a secret

But one expert has doubts that is true.

"The leaks are massively damaging as these companies want to have their 'wow moments' when products are unveiled, and an explosion of media coverage, rather than a more tepid response because the details are known in advance," said Ben Wood from CCS Insight.

"But it seems to have become virtually impossible for any large company to keep new tech products under wraps.

"The only recent time such leaks have worked in a company's favour was when it emerged from China that the iPhone 7 was not going to have a dedicated headphone jack.

"That helped Apple, as it meant people were less shocked and kind of accepted it was going to be the case when it was confirmed."

Apple could not be reached for comment.

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