Normally I’m more excited about rumors about new iPhones than MacBooks, but not this year. You can catch iPhone 13 leaks, as I’m busy chewing on the MacBook Pro 2021 benefits I hope to enjoy before the end of this year.
As much as I liked the first Apple Silicon MacBook Pro in the MacBook Pro M1 review, it was too similar to the MacBook Air M1 to justify the $ 300 premium. Yes, you get a little better performance with more graphics cores, even longer battery life and more space for cooling, but that’s not enough for me.
However, the rumored MacBook Pro 14-inch looks like it could be the biggest upgrade in a decade, and goes out of the MacBook Air̵
MacBook Pro 2021: mini-LED is a leap forward
MacBook Pro 2021’s biggest, most face upgrade will probably be the new mini-LED screen. Apple is expected to use the same screen as in the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro for the new MacBook Pro. The Liquid Retina XDR panel boasts 1000 brightness along with a contrast ratio of 1 million to 1, which provides fantastic image quality and overall performance.
We do not know if the MacBook Pro will offer the same performance as the iPad Pro, but it will blow away the MacBook Air screen.
And because the MacBook Pro 2021 has a 14-inch panel, you should get more screen property – and smaller frames – in a similar size or even more compact chassis. It’s time for Apple to catch up with Dell XPS 13 in the frame department.
MacBook Pro 2021: Multiple ports, MagSafe returns
I’m also very encouraged by the reports that Apple will offer more ports for the MacBook Pro 2021. These will apparently include an HDMI port, an Ethernet port and a high-speed UHS-II SD card reader.
Yes, as versatile as Thunderbolt ports are, there are times when you want and need dedicated ports to connect a monitor or connect to a high-speed Internet connection. And photographers and video editors will greatly appreciate the ability to simply connect an SD card from their cameras. (Alas, there is no AirDrop for DSLR yet.)
Last but not least, it is expected that Apple will bring MagSafe back to the MacBook Pro. Having a magnetic connection to the power cord can help prevent any accidental falls when someone inevitably trips on the cable. Oh, and I have absolutely no objection to Touch Bar being allegedly killed; it added zero value to my working life.
MacBook Pro 2021: Get ready for the M1X
Apple is reportedly preparing a new M1X chip for the MacBook Pro 2021 this fall, and it will offer even more power than today’s M1. We are talking about up to 10 CPU cores (up from 8 cores) and as many as 16 to 32 cores for GPU (up from 8).
There is some debate about the amount of RAM that the new MacBook Pro 2021 will support, but we hear everything from 32 GB to 64 GB.
At the same time, we expect the MacBook Pro M1X to offer the same or better endurance as the previous model. In our web surfing battery test, the MacBook Pro M1 lasted an astonishing 16 hours and 25 minutes. MacBook Air M1 lasted 14:41.
MacBook Pro 2021: Finally a 1080p webcam
While Apple Silicon helped improve the image quality of the MacBook Pro’s 720p webcam, there’s only so much you can do with computational photography tricks. MacBook Pro 2021 is tipped to offer a 1080p webcam (via iOS developer Dylandkt), which should be a big upgrade for those of us who are stuck for hours with video calls.
Having a sharper webcam would also be a welcome upgrade to take better advantage of macOS Monterey, which offers features like SharePlay in FaceTime. You look better when watching shows and movies with friends and family, and you should look better when you go into video chat portrait mode.
Bottom line: No longer in the shadow of the MacBook Air
If you add up all the rumors, the MacBook Pro 2021 improves to be the biggest upgrade to the series I’ve seen in a long time. And that’s good, as the 2019 MacBook Pro 13-inch is starting to show its age. I want more speed, more ports, a brighter screen and longer battery life. And I should get everything if the leaks come true.
At the same time, the MacBook Pro 2021 should create more distinction between the MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air. The introduction of the M1 has led to almost too much parity for Apple laptops, but it seems that Apple is making the necessary changes to make the Pro live up to its name.