Two things that we expect will disappear in this go-round: a 13-inch MacBook Pro and the Touch Bar.
Dan Ackerman / CNET
This story is part of , our full coverage of the latest Apple news.
When you’ve held backout of FOMO or indecision, this fall could have the answers you’ve been waiting for. Just not yet. last week showed that , , and . But no new MacBooks appeared.
It is very likely that the company will launch new MacBook Pros or other new Macs in a follow-up event in October, as has been the norm in the past. (Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman confirms: “There will be two events,” according to a recent tweet he posted.) In his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman also says he expects new MacBook Pro models to be available by the end of this year come on the market. And based on some reliable rumor mills, there could be some big changes out there, including a new, higher-powered version of thein all models a new 14-inch MacBook Pro, new similar to that of the , the return of many missing connections and the abolition of the .
A more powerful Apple M1X (or M2) CPU?
That’s pretty much a given. Apple’s M1 CPU has made it to the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, 24-inch iMac, Mac Mini, and iPads, but so far we haven’t seen any silicon grown by Apple in power-user systems. Several sources agree that there will be a new version of the CPU – and– for the larger MacBook (currently a 16-inch screen version) and possibly for upcoming new desktops.
There were also rumors that there will be two variants of the new chip, both with 10 cores (eight high-performance and two energy-efficient), but with different integrated graphics core configurations: 16 or 32. In contrast, the M1 has eight cores, split in performance and energy saving, and either seven or eight graphics cores. Doubling or quadrupling the number of cores promises significantly better performance, which, when combined with tight integration with MacOS, could compete with the performance of a discrete AMD GPU. And it’s unclear whether a discrete GPU will remain an option.
A more powerful version of Apple’s M1 chip could be in sight.
Screenshot / apple
Two variants (with rumors about future versions with even more core options for the Mac Mini and Mac Pro) make a lot of sense: In my tests, the M1 chip performed almost identically regardless of the device, which gives the iPad just as much power as the Mac Mini . That doesn’t make sense for high-end device buyers where opting for a smaller processor can potentially save thousands or where a separate GPU may be essential.
The two variants could explain why assumptions about the name of the new CPU, M1X or M2, have not clearly tilted in one direction or the other.
As for Intel offerings, we heard predictions back in January that there would be no Intel versions of the MacBook Pros, and to date there have been no indications to the contrary.
When can we buy them?
Due to the chip shortage, you probably won’t be able to get one right after the announcement. Earlier this month there were reports that the supply bottlenecks would delay deliveries at least until around the end of October or the beginning of November. And these delays are independent of the barriers to the production of the mini LED-based screens, which could result in limited numbers of laptops available in 2021.
A new size, but at a higher starting price?
In addition to an updated model of a 16-inch MacBook Pro, we could get a 14-inch replacement for the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which could mean a 14-inch screen roughly the size of the case as that 13 – thanks to smaller screen bezels. This follows a similar trend we’ve seen with Windows laptops and the same approach Apple took in transitioning from the 15-inch to 16-inch MacBook Pro models.
Unfortunately, everyone believes there will be a price spike for the 14-inch model over the 13-inch model, starting at the higher end of the latter’s price range. In view of the more expensive screen technology and the current bottlenecks, I would not be surprised. One wonders whether Apple will continue to offer the M1-based MacBook Pro 13 as a cheaper option.
We expect the MacBook Pros to have LED-backlit mini displays like the iPad Pro 12.9 (left).
Scott Stein / CNET
A fast-paced new mini LED screen?
An LED-backlit mini-display seems to be another matter of course and an extremely welcome one: it would allow MacBook Pros to better support HDR at higher brightness and with better local dimming, whatever for video editing or content production for that The essential 12.9 inch device is iPad Pro and its mini LED-based screen. Hopefully it will be accompanied by an update that will allow the MacBook Pro to play HDR content in 4K.
A new aesthetic?
This is where the rumors diverge. Almost every device Apple announced this year, from the iPad to the iMac, has inherited the flat profile aesthetic that goes back to the iPhone 4. However, it remains to be seen whether Apple will do so, given its shell design. And the suggestions that the MacBooks could be available in bright colors like the iMac 24 didn’t get much resonance.
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I’ve never been a fan of the Touch Bar, especially as a replacement for fixed function keys, so I get these high-profile rumors of the Touch Bar’s devaluation and the return of real function keys with a bit of chair dancing – and will be very disappointed if they turn out to be untrue turn out. Since mini LEDs typically generate more heat than other backlights, Apple could likely dissipate less heat near the display.
Return of old favorites?
Apple had stripped its MacBook Pros of ports that many people had relied on, including an HDMI port, SD card slot, and a MagSafe port (not to be confused with the MagSafe charger for iPhone). Some rumors suggest that we’ll get these back along with another pair of USB4 / Thunderbolt ports. Some news also suggests a return of the MagSafe connection, but it’s also possible that they mistake it for rumors of a new version of the most recent one.
A 1080p webcam but still no Face ID?
Since Apple first introduced an updated 1080p webcam (and discontinued the iMac Pro) with the 27-inch iMac, then with the 24-inch iMac, it makes sense, as widely rumored, to incorporate one into the MacBook Pro as it is likely used more for video conferencing than many of its other systems. But while Touch ID is likely to stay, there haven’t been any welcome words about the much-requested Face ID (or 5G) since we heard back in January that it wouldn’t be included.