Trusted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released today some interesting details about the upcoming MacBook Pro. Kuo describes this as the first major laptop redesign in five years, and it will mark a major upgrade even over the latest The MacBook Pro 16-inch 2019. The new MacBook Pro will have 14-inch and 16-inch sizes and feature ARM Apple silicon in place of Intel CPUs.
However, Kuo shares some of the more surprising anecdotes, namely that the Touch Bar will disappear in favor of the physical function keys, and the MagSafe charging connector returns along with more built-in I / O ports which means that most users will not need to purchase additional dongle devices according to Kuo. ..
The new chassis design is said to feature square sides in both the upper and lower halves of the device, joining the flat bezel design trend that began with the 2018 iPad Pro and was adopted in the 2020 iPhone 12 series. (The new MacBook Pro series will of course feature Apple CPUs. ARM, but Kuo doesn’t share details of how the chip is performing in terms of performance in today’s report.)
The Touch Bar appears to have been removed entirely, with the new MacBook Pro offering a physical row of function keys. That’s interesting in light of the fact that the low-end 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro was released last fall and was fitted with a Touch Bar, although all of the first M1 Macs featured essentially identical hardware designs compared to the previous generation.
Apple announced the Touch Bar as the future of Mac input method when the 2016 MacBook Pro was unveiled, but the feature didn’t quite live up to its capabilities. Many Mac users simply want physical keys that they can feel with their fingers without looking at the touch screen. Five years after its introduction, Apple appears to be hearing these comments and the Touch Bar will be phased out from the MacBook lineup.
Kuo does not specify exactly which I / O ports will be offered. Current MacBook Pro models feature four Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, two on each side. For context, it offered pre-2016 models, an SD card slot, and HDMI and USB-A ports. USB-C ports are technically superior and can transfer data at a much higher bandwidth, but the fact that the current MacBook Pro features exclusively USB-C usually means that users have to purchase and carry a set of dongles. Things like an SD card slot are more elegant to be built.
One of the main features of the all-USB-C design is that customers can connect to power and charge their MacBook Pro to any port on either side of the device. Kuo says the MagSafe power connector is back but doesn’t say if that means the ability to charge on the left or the right will be lost. Note that the report explicitly identifies the return of MagSafe via a magnetic power connector like the old MacBooks, and not some wireless inductive charging systems like “MagSafe” for the iPhone 12.
In short, it looks like Apple will meet the demands of customers who miss – or may still use – the 2015 MacBook Pro as more traditional I / O, physical function keys and MagSafe for power make a comeback. This traditional feature set will be encapsulated with an entirely new exterior design, and of course the machines will be powered by Apple-designed ultrafast ARM chips. The new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro is expected to make its debut in the third quarter of 2021.
FTC: We use affiliate links to earn income. More.