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MacBook Pro 2021: Apple’s next laptop fails to make an appearance at iPhone event

The rumoured MacBook Pro 2021 laptop is expected to be one of standout devices of the year for Apple, which makes it all the more disappointing that it didn’t show up at the recent September Apple Event.

But this was expected, with many reports and rumours indicating that Apple will instead host a second event in October or November that will focus exclusively on Macs.

Apple is yet to confirm any details about the next MacBook Pro, but it’s widely expected to launch this year with a new M1X processor and Mini LED display.

The MacBook Pro is also expected to get a physical makeover, while a new smaller 14-inch model will also join the range alongside the 16-inch version.

Keep scrolling down for everything else we know about the upcoming Apple MacBook Pro 2021, and make sure this page is bookmarked for future updates.

Release date

The release date for the MacBook Pro 2021 is still up in the air, but the laptop is expected to launch before the end of the year.

After failing to turn up at the September Apple Event – which showcased the iPhone 13, Apple Watch 7 and iPad Mini 6 – reports indicate that Apple will host a second event for Macs in either October or November.

DigiTimes Asia has backed up the rumours of an October/November reveal, while also reporting that the shipments for the MacBook Pro’s Mini LED are “on schedule”, easing concerns that the upcoming laptop could be delayed into 2022.

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.

Specs

The one thing we know for sure about the MacBook Pro 2021 specs is that it will feature Apple Silicon. Twitter account LeaksApplePro suggests this new chip could be called ‘M1X’, although clarified that the name is not final.

Additional reports suggest the M1X is essentially the ‘Pro’ version of the M1 chip, featuring additional CPU and GPU cores but using the same first-generation architecture.

A report from Bloomberg claims this new MacBook Pro chip could feature up to 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 eight-core graphics found in the existing Apple M1 chip. All of the signs point towards Apple launching one of the more powerful laptops on the market.

Apple M1Untitled Apple Chip
High-performance cores48
Energy-efficient cores42
Graphics Cores7 / 816 / 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 future MacBook Air models.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests there will be no Intel configuration made available for the MacBook Pro 2021, as Apple looks to edge closer to completing its transition over to Apple Silicon.

Apple leaker and YouTuber, Luke Miani, has suggested the MacBook Pro 2021 will 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.

Design

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, implement its MagSafe‌ charging connector, and introduce a new case design with a more “flat-edged form factor” akin to the iPhone 12.

A mini-LED display could also be introduced to the next MacBook Pro, with DigiTimes reporting that Taiwanese company Ennostar has begun production of mini-LED backlight units for Apple. The inclusion of a mini-LED display would potentially offer superior contrast, wide colour gamut performance, and HDR compared to existing Apple laptop displays.

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.

MacBook Pro 16

Should you wait for the Macbook Pro 2021?

All signs point towards the MacBook Pro 2021 being announced in either October or November this year, which means you’ve probably got a maximum of two months to wait.

We’re not talking about a minor upgrade here either, with Apple rumoured to offering an incredibly fast performance, 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.

Ryan Jones

By

Computing and Gaming Editor

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