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Mac Life|April 2021
FEED YOUR MIND. FEAST YOUR EYES.
ALEX SUMMERSBY

All–new MacBook Pro this year?

Rumors abound of the biggest update in years

AFTER REVAMPING THE entry–level MacBook Pro last year, Apple is working on revolutionary new 14–inch and 16–inch models, credible sources say.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a good track record forecasting Apple products, said in an investor briefing that the new MacBook Pro models will feature a flat–edged design “similar to the iPhone 12,” physical function keys instead of a Touch Bar, and the return of the MagSafe charging connector. (Commentators believe this does not mean the magnetic charger currently available for the iPhone 12 series, but the older magnetic plug last used on Macs in 2019, when the 2017 model MacBook Air was discontinued.)

The new models will continue the transition of the notebook line to Apple silicon, but it’s likely they’ll use a new generation of chip, not the same M1 chip as the new 13–inch MacBook Pro. Kuo says the new models will use the same heat pipe design as the current 16–inch MacBook Pro, which he says supports hotter–running, more powerful processors than the 13-inch Pro.

Kuo says the new machines “are equipped with more types of I/O, and most users may not need to purchase additional dongles.” So although it’s not clear what ports we can expect, it sounds like it will be more than just the USB–C we’ve gotten on Apple’s current MacBook Pro line since 2016 (there are four on the 16–inch model, just two on the new 13–inch).

A report by Bloomberg claims the next MacBook Pro models will also have an SD Card slot, another feature not included since 2016.

What about the screens? In an earlier investor note, Kuo said Apple will be releasing two new MacBook Pro models with an all–new design and mini LED displays in 2021. Are these the ones? Mini LED is a new form of backlighting tech with many of the same benefits as OLED but greater brightness, better power efficiency, and a lower risk of burn–in. The tech is expected to debut in a new iPad Pro, possibly within the next few months.

Kuo says he expects the new MacBook Pro models to launch in the third quarter of 2021, and predicts a surge in sales for the line to follow.

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