MacBook Pro 2021

The MacBook Pro 2021 is heavily rumoured to be Apple’s next laptop, and look set to be unveiling today during the confirmed Apple event.

The MacBook Pro is tipped to see many upgrades including the jump up to an M1X processor, a 120Hz Mini LED display and a revised design. Fresh rumours (via MacRumors) have indicated that the MacBook Pro could feature a notch to make room for the webcam.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro is not expected to see an upgrade, but Apple is apparently planning on updating the 16-inch model while also introducing a new 14-inch model.

Rumours also suggest the MacBook Pro could see an improved 1080p webcam and the return of MagSafe charging. With everything considered, this could be one of the biggest upgrades for an Apple product in years,

Keep scrolling down for everything else we know about the Apple MacBook Pro 2021 laptop, and make sure this page is bookmarked to keep up with all of the breaking news throughout the day.

Release date

Apple will be hosting an event today, in which it’s widely expected to show off the new MacBook Pro laptop.

Apple hasn’t actually confirmed which products will be revealed, but the ‘Unleashed’ tagline for the event certainly hints at a high-performance device, which fits the bill of the MacBook Pro.

We still don’t know the release date for the MacBook Pro, but it’s likely that it will hit shelves a few weeks after today’s reveal event. This means you should be able to buy it in either later October or early November.

Price

There’s been no indication of price so far, but it’s possible Apple will stick to the same price point as the existing Intel MacBook Pro model.

The existing 16-inch MacBook Pro currently has a starting price of £2399, although we’ve no idea how much Apple will charge for the rumoured 14-inch MacBook Pro.

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Specs

  • M1X processor is expected to offer a big performance upgrade
  • Will feature far more graphics cores than the M1
  • Could see up to 32GB RAM and 8TB SSD

The headline feature of the MacBook Pro 2021 is expected to be a new Apple Silicon processor, as Apple looks to continue its transition away from Intel chips.

Many reports have suggested this new processor will be called the M1X, but Mark Gurman (via his PowerOn newsletter) has revealed that the new chip has appeared in logs under the names “M1 Pro” and “M1 Max”. This doesn’t necessarily mean Apple will use these names for its new processor, but it’s a reminder that the ‘M1X’ moniker is not guaranteed.

Whatever the name ends up being, the M1X processor is not expected to be the successor of the M1 chip that powers the MacBook Air. It will be a ‘Pro’ variant instead, which features the same first-generation Apple Silicon architecture, but with additional CPU and GPU cores.

A report from Bloomberg claims this new MacBook Pro chip could feature 8 high-performance cores and 2 energy-efficient cores. Bloomberg sources claim that such specs would help the new chip “greatly outpace the performance and capabilities of the current M1 chips”.

Bloomberg also reports that the new MacBook Pro will come in 16 and 32 graphics core variations, which are both a substantial increase from the 8-core graphics found in the existing Apple M1 chip. If these reports turn out to be true, then Apple could be launching one of the more powerful laptops on the market.

Apple M1 Apple M1X (unconfirmed)
High-performance cores 4 8
Energy-efficient cores 4 2
Graphics Cores 7 / 8 16 / 32
Credit: Bloomberg

This shouldn’t be confused with the rumoured M2 chip however, which will apparently be the successor to the M1 and feature in the MacBook Air 2022.

The arrival of the M1X chip will likely spell the end of Intel-powered MacBook Pro laptops, with Apple unlikely to offer them as an optional configuration.

Apple leaker and YouTuber, Luke Miani, has suggested the MacBook Pro 2021 will also feature up to an 8TB SSD and 32GB of RAM. That means you won’t be able to crank the RAM up to 64GB like you can with the existing Intel MacBook Pro. That shouldn’t be a big deal to the majority of people, but it would still be nice to have the choice of a higher performance ceiling.

Screen

  • Could be available in both 14-inch and 16-inch sizes
  • Mini LED technology could be introduced
  • Rumoured to have a 120Hz refresh rate

Reports indicate that Apple has big plans for the new screen on the MacBook Pro. Firstly, there will reportedly be two screen size options: 14-inch and 16-inch.

Both models are expected to feature a Mini LED panel, with DigiTimes reporting that Taiwanese company Ennostar has begun production of Mini LED backlight units for Apple.

This wouldn’t be a huge surprise, with Apple already fitting the iPad Pro with a Mini LED screen. The inclusion of a mini-LED display would potentially offer superior contrast, wide colour gamut performance, and HDR compared to existing Apple laptop displays.

MacBook Air 2021
Credit: MacRumors

MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has also done some digging in macOS Monterey and spotted the listings of two screen resolutions for unknown Apple devices: “3456 x 2234 Retina” and “3024 x 1964 Retina”.

It’s been suggested that these could be the resolutions of the upcoming 16-inch and 14-inch MacBooks Pro laptops. The current 16-inch MacBook Pro has a 3072 x 1920 resolution, so this would indicate a small bump in picture quality.

Ross Young, an analyst for Display Supply Chain Consultants, has also claimed on Twitter (spotted by 9to5Mac) that Apple could increase the refresh rate from 60Hz to 120Hz. We’re a little unsure about this rumour, as it hasn’t been mentioned until now, but it would make a lot of sense for Apple to introduce its ProMotion technology to the MacBook Pro.

Having a 120Hz refresh rate would allow the MacBook Pro to display fast motion with more clarity. It’s also useful for gaming, although we doubt that will be a big focus for the MacBook Pro.

And finally, recent but admittedly sketchy rumours (via MacRumors) suggest the MacBook Pro could feature a notch. This means the webcam could be baked into the top of the screen, akin to modern smartphones, instead of being neatly tucked away in the above screen bezel.

We’re not totally convinced by this rumour, as we don’t really understand why a laptop would need to use a notch, since their screen bezels are typically thicker than they are with smartphones.

Design

  • May ditch the TouchBar in favour of command keys
  • MagSafe charging and SD card reader could return
  • Webcam could be boosted to 1080p resolution

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that 2021 will see “the most significant design update to the MacBook Pro in the past five years.”

Such a redesign will apparently see Apple ditch the TouchBar, reimplement its MagSafe‌ charging connector, and introduce a new case design with a more “flat-edged form factor” akin to the iPhone 12.

MacBook Pro 16

Both Kuo (via Mac Rumors) and Mark Gurman (via Bloomberg) also suggest the next MacBook Pro will feature an SD card reader. Recent iterations of the MacBook Pro haven’t previously featured an SD card reader, so it will be interesting to see Apple make a U-turn and reinstate the port.

Kuo also reportedly claims that Apple will boost the webcam resolution from 720p up to 1080p, which will be good news to those who enjoy FaceTime calls. But recent (but unreliable) rumours suggest that webcam could be placed into a notch in the screen rather than the screen bezel.

Should you wait for the Macbook Pro 2021?

It looks very likely that the MacBook Pro 2021 will be announced today, which means you’ve probably only got a few weeks to wait for it to hit stores.

We’re not talking about a minor upgrade here either, with Apple rumoured to be offering a significant performance upgrade, introducing Mini LED technology and a design overhaul. This could be one of the biggest MacBook upgrades in yonks.

I strongly recommend holding off on a MacBook Pro purchase until this new laptop is announced, especially since it will be running on Apple Silicon rather than an Intel chip.

That said, a MacBook Pro is only a worthwhile option if you need a very powerful GPU performance for the likes of video editing and 3D modelling, as it’s a very expensive laptop. If you just need a speedy day-to-day performance, then check out the MacBook Air M1 instead, as it will be a far more affordable option.

By

Ryan Jones

Contact via Twitter

Computing and Gaming Editor

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