We expect Apple to announce new MacBook Pros — its higher-end models, to be specific — very soon. The neat thing is that it's rumored that these new MacBook Pros will not just be a repackaging of last year's laptops with Apple's M-series chipsets, but they are expected to have a complete redesign. So far there are only rumors and reports to go off of, but here's where the signs are pointing.
When will new MacBook Pros be announced?
Apple already announced its iPhone 13 line, as well as new entry-level iPads and the Apple Watch Series 7. If last year is anything to go off of, Apple will likely hold a second fall event (in early-or-mid October) where it will announce new Macs. The latest reports from DigiTimes suggest that, as of early August, Apple has started its mass production of next-gen MacBook Pros — and a launch event will happen sometime this October or early November.
What is an M1X MacBook?
The next-generation MacBook Pros are expected to have a new-and-improved version of the M1 chipset, which is reportedly being called M1X (according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman). The updated chipset is effectively a more "pro" version of the original M1 chip. It's expected to have more cores (both CPU and GPU) and contain more Thunderbolt channels than the M1, helping these new MacBook Pros draw more power and support more external monitors.
Apple is also rumored to be working on an M2 chipset, which will have further performance and efficiency enhancements over the M1X chipset, but we'll likely have to wait until Spring 2022 to see it integrated into any computers.
Will the new MacBook Pros have a new-look display?
Yes, the upcoming 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros are going to look different from any other MacBook. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, a well-known Apple analyst, the next-gen MacBook Pros are expected to get an even larger edge-to-edge display. The body size of the new computers is expected to remain roughly the same, but the bezels will shrink and the screen should be even larger.
Additionally, these new Pros are expected to have a mini-LED display, which is similar to the what the newest 12.9-inch iPad Pro has. This new backlighting technology offers most of the benefits of OLED, like superior black levels, contrast and brightness, without the potential negative effect of burn-in.
Is Apple bringing a MagSafe charger back?
According to a recent Bloomberg report, Apple is going to bring back the beloved MagSafe charger to its upcoming 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros. The MagSafe power connection was built into all Apple laptops from 2006 to 2016 — and people loved it. They loved the fact it made a strong enough connection to power a laptop, but was quick enough to release if you or somebody tripped over the cable. Plus, it made a wonderful snap sound every time it connected to your laptop.
The advantage of the new MagSafe power connection is that it supposedly will charge the new MacBook Pros even faster, (which is similarly true with the iPhone 12's MagSafe charging system). Plus, you'll get the quick release ability and snapping sound that made MagSafe so beloved in the first place.
What will the port situation be?
The return of a MagSafe charger doesn't mean that Apple is getting rid of USB-C. These upcoming MacBook Pros are still expected to have a number of USB-C ports — most likely 4 (two on each side) — for connecting all of your other devices, just like the current 16-inch MacBook Pro. You likely shouldn't expect any of those ports to be USB-A given that Apple has made it pretty obvious that it believes USB-C is the port of the future.
The new MacBook Pros could bring back two things that professionals really want: an HDMI port and SD card reader. Both were taken away when Apple made the big push to USB-C several years ago (in 2016, to be exact), but Kuo is predicting that Apple will bring both back to cater towards professional photographers and video creators.
Is this the end of the Touch Bar?
The Touch Bar has been one of the MacBook Pro's most polarizing features since it was introduced in late 2018. Some people love the Touch Bar because it is completely unique, looks beautiful and is super customizable. Others hate it because it eliminates the very useful function keys — including the Escape key (until recently) — and it's not compatible with a lot of apps.
According to Bloomberg, It looks like Apple could be set to kill off the much maligned Touch Bar and bring back the traditional row of function keys on its upcoming higher-end M-series MacBook Pros. The most recent, entry-level M-series MacBook Pro still has the Touch Bar.
Are we getting a new MacBook Air, too?
The latest report by Ming-Chi Kuo (via 9to5Mac) suggests that the next-generation of MacBook Airs, which Apple is expected to release in mid-2022, will have a Mini LED display. This is the same display technology that is used in the most recent M1 iPad Pros, which delivers improved contrast and colors (without the worry of burn-in, like OLED). It's likely that this MacBook Air will be thinner and lighter, as well as have Apple's next-gen M-series (M2?) processor.