Apple just launched a new 13” MacBook Pro in November 2020, but the company isn’t done yet. We have very strong rumours that the company is working on a new 14” Pro, as well as a 16” model. Both will feature Apple’s new M-series chips, as well as a few design changes.
If you just bought the M1 Pro (like I did), tough luck. Apparently, the new MacBook Pros are expected to be significantly better than the existing ones. If you’ve been holding out though, your patience could be rewarded. Here’s a look at all the rumours of what the new devices could be like.
Be warned, these are just rumours so the final product could be something very different. But that said, most of these come from reliable sources so there could be some truth to them. Without further ado, let’s dive right in.
MacBook Pro Design
Apple’s new MacBook Pro’s are expected to take a design cue from the 16” Pro launched in 2019. That means smaller bezels while keeping the overall case size the same. The 14” model will replace the existing 13” model, the same way the 16” replaced the 15” Pro. Beyond that, they are expected to look physically similar to the existing models.
The 14” model is also expected to adopt the thermal design of the 16” MacBook Pro. Apple updated the thermal design to feature thermal pads and increase the size of the heat pipe. That could help really push the boundaries of what these machines are capable of.
We’ve also heard reliable rumours that the devices will be Apple’s first mini-LED notebooks. This is certainly possible, as we know Apple’s been playing around with the tech for a while. The improved displays would certainly add a more ‘Pro’ touch.
Apple has also filed patents for titanium and matte black finishes for its Macs, as spotted by Patently Apple. However, these are unlikely to see the light of day anytime soon. Apple filed both patents as recently as January, so there’s very little chance of it becoming a reality this year. Maybe in 2022 or 2023, but don’t get your hopes up for this refresh to be matte black.
Apple did commit to keeping Intel around for the future, but it’s unlikely that the new Pro’s will feature any Intel chips. Instead, Apple will add its M-series chips to both devices. We’ve heard rumours that the 16” model could feature a 12-core M1X chip, but nothing has been said about the 14” model.
The M1 chip has 8 cores for CPU (4 high performance and 4 high efficiency) and 8 cores for GPU and a 16 core neural engine. In comparison, the ‘next gen’ M1X is expected to feature a 12 core CPU with 8 high-performance cores. The GPU is also expected to get a bump up to 16 cores.
It would make little sense for Apple to launch another 13” Pro with M1, given that the device came out just months ago. But, giving the ‘M1X’ chip to only the 16” model would really help it stand out. It’s a weird situation for sure, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
More Ports on the MacBook Pro
In 2016, Apple did away with the USB-A, HDMI and SD card reader ports on its MacBooks. While we’ve learnt to live with it since, there have been a lot of complaints (including yours truly) about just how bad the decision was. Well, now it looks like Apple heard! The new Pro’s are expected to feature some more ports.
We don’t know at this point which ports will return, but we do know the new MacBook Pro’s will have some additional ports. I think we could see USB-A and the SD card reader return, but that’s just a wild guess. The HDMI port is also rumoured to return. Either way, Apple better add a few ports if it wants its Mac’s to be ‘Pro’.
MagSafe is Back
Since its introduction in 2006, MagSafe has become one of the most-loved features of Apple’s notebooks. Then, the company killed it off when it introduced USB-C in 2016. Thankfully, the beloved tech could be on its way back with the 2021 MacBook Pro models.
Mark Gurman and Ming Ch-Kuo, both reliable sources have speculated that Apple will add a separate MagSafe charging port, and keep the two USB-C ports. That way, users can choose to charge using MagSafe (who would choose not to?). There were rumours of Apple putting MagSafe with the USB-C ports, but it looks like that tech hasn’t worked out.
RIP Touch Bar
The Touch Bar is one of Apple’s most controversial additions (besides the keyboards) to the MacBook. Despite launching to much fanfare, the LED strip has received little love. However, it never really caught on with developers or users. Now it seems like the end of the road.
The bar will reportedly be replaced with physical function keys, which I for one am happy about. I never really found the Touch Bar useful, even when video editing. I’d much prefer to be able to reduce volume or brightness with a single press.
Whether or not all these rumours come true, there are a few I am counting on. As someone who just upgraded from the early 2015 MacBook Pro to the 2020 M1 MacBook Pro, I certainly feel like Apple’s taken a few steps back. The machines don’t feel so ‘Pro’ anymore, and there’s little difference between the Air and Pro lines.
The addition of a few extra ports and MagSafe is certainly high on the list. I’d also love to see a more powerful 12-core processor on the 16” model at least. On the Touch Bar, I am not completely sold on the idea but would be sad to see it go. It is certainly innovative and exciting, if only Apple could coax more developers into adopting it.
Apple is reportedly planning a mid-March event to launch the new MacBook Pros. We’ll certainly keep you updated if they do. Even if they don’t, I’d recommend holding off on upgrading your MacBook for now. These new machines are definitely coming, and are bound to be more useful than the 2020 devices.
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