MacBook Pro was updated in November last year with a new chipset
If you were thinking about buying a replacement for that ageing laptop … you’ll probably want to hold off another day. Not because there is anything wrong with the MacBook Pro available in the Apple Store right now. In fact, the Californian company upgraded its 13-inch MacBook Pro model at the end of last year to its custom-designed M1 system-on-a-chip, which offers speedier performance and hours more battery life than previous Intel-powered variants. The M1
Well, Apple isn’t known for bargain bucket prices and buying a new MacBook Pro is a pretty big investment. So, if you’re poised to spend anywhere between £1,500 and £3,000 on a brand-new laptop, you’ll really want to make sure it’s the best that money can buy and won’t be immediately outdated. And it’s the latter that is key right now.
A number of reliable tipsters claim Apple is poised to launch an all-new design for its MacBook Pro. And the announcement could come tomorrow during the opening keynote of its WWDC developers conference.
The most recent redesign was unveiled back in October 2016, when Apple announced the Touch Bar – a thin OLED touchscreen that replaces the row of Function keys at the top of the keyboard, thinner bezels, and USB-C for data transfer and charging from either side of the laptop. If the rumours are true, and Apple plans to tweak its industrial design this year, it’s a testament to how long these designs can hang around.
If you’re going to buy a new MacBook Pro in the next few months, surely you want a design that will still be stocked on the shelves of your nearest Apple Store in three years time – rather than one that’s about to be dropped and will soon look as dated as the Apple iMac.
Photographers would no longer need an adapter to copy images from an SD card
According to Mark Gurman, of Bloomberg, one of the most reliable leaksters when it comes to Apple-branded gadgets, the new MacBook Pro design will ship with 14- and 16-inch screen sizes.
While it’s already possible to buy a 16-inch laptop from Apple, those who opt for the smaller MacBook right now will be stuck with a 13.3-inch display (and some surprisingly chunky bezels). To make room for that extra screen real estate, Apple will shave those borders. So the overall footprint will be similar to the 13-inch model, despite packing an extra one-inch of screen to watch movies, edit photos, run apps side-by-side, etcetera.
A new flat-edged design, much closer to what we see on the iPad Pro, is mooted for the new MacBook Pro. Inside, tipsters suggest the MacBook Pro will be the first hardware with the M2 system-on-a-chip. While the M1 brought oodles of extra battery life and power compared to previous MacBook models powered by Intel hardware, we’re expecting the M2 to increase the maximum amount of RAM supported by the silicon, which is currently limited to 16GB. While that’s fine for most people, those who use their MacBook for video or photo editing will need much, much more (and is likely one of the reasons the M1 has only shipped in the 13-inch MacBook Pro thus far, not the 16-inch model).
Apple is expected to drop the Touch Bar from all MacBooks with the next redesign
Elsewhere, it seems the Touch Bar will be ditched, brighter displays will be fitted, and Apple will reintroduce a magnetic charger. The latter was ditched in the move to USB-C, which offered the flexibility to charge from any of the ports on the laptop – not to mention rely on a single charger to top-up your Android phone, iPad Pro, MacBook Pro, Nintendo Switch, and more.
But it sounds like Apple has reconsidered (presumably enough customers complained they’d tripped over the charging cable and seen a new £3,000 laptop swan-dive onto the floor) and will bring back an easily detachable charging cable …something we’ve also seen on the iPhone 12 (with its circular charging puck) and iMac (with its round charging cable that snaps to the back of the machine) in recent redesigns.
Finally, Apple is purportedly bringing back the SD card slot – something that was ditched in the last major overhaul. For photographers and videographers who rely heavily on SD cards to transfer files from their cameras to edit and share images, bringing the port back means MacBook owners won’t have to rely on dongles and adapters every day.
Apple reveal slimmer MacBook Pro in 2016
In a research note obtained by MacRumors, analyst Ming Chi-Kuo – another almost infallible Apple tipster – corroborated the latest report from Mark Gurman, agreeing that the 2021 MacBook Pro models will come with an SD reader, new flat-edge design, and HDMI port. Yes, this is another course-correction.
Dropped from the October 2018 redesign, the HDMI port is used to connect to external displays, such as monitors and TVs. While a number of newer external displays include a USB-C port for direct connection and, of course, there are no shortage of USB-C to HDMI dongles, HDMI is still the dominant port for connecting to external displays and projectors. For those who use their MacBook Pro to present keynotes on a regular basis, the ability to plug into a screen without carrying around a dongle would be a huge plus.
It goes without saying that – regardless of how reliable these leaksters have been in the past – it’s always worth taking these reports with a pinch of salt. After all, nothing is confirmed until Apple CEO Tim Cook reveals the product on-stage. And while it’s possible we’ll get confirmation (and undoubtedly a glossy new commercial) for the redesigned MacBook Pro range at WWDC, these laptops might not launch until a few months later. Clearly, if you really need a working laptop today, you might be better not holding off.