According to a Bloomberg report, Apple plans to launch new versions of MacBook Pro laptops “around the middle of the year”
Referring to “a person with knowledge of the plans”, the Bloomberg story claims that Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro will have a 14-inch successor, just as the 15-inch MacBook Pro became a 16-inch model when the display frame was reduced to allow more screen property in a similarly sized chassis.
Both the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro are scheduled for mid-year and will feature Apple’s custom silicon. The company first introduced its own silicon with the M1 chip, which was included in November updates of the exclusive 13-inch MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and Mac mini. The new machines described today will have a successor to Apple’s M1 chip with more CPU cores and “improved graphics.”
While the overall design of laptops is not expected to be significantly different from current models (beyond the screen size of the smaller MacBook Pro), there is a major design change that may delight fans of Macs before the touchline and USB-C redesign introduced to some years ago: return of the MagSafe charger.
Mac laptops once had charging cables that could be easily plugged into the ports, thanks to magnets, and were meant to disconnect gracefully without plugging in the laptop if someone pulled the cord or tripped over it. In recent years, the company has cleared this feature from the lineup, but it introduced a related technology of the same name in its iPhone 12 series last year.
According to the report, the MagSafe connector in the new MacBook Pro models will have a similar shape to the MagSafe connectors in old Macs. It will also allow laptops to charge faster than before. However, the report notes that computers will still have more USB-C ports.
The new MacBook Pros is also said to have brighter screens with better contrast. This report does not explain exactly how Apple will achieve this, but recent rumors and analysts in the supply chain have predicted that Apple will incorporate Mini LED screens in its upcoming machines, which is likely to yield that result.
Bloomberg’s source also says that Apple has tested versions of laptops without Touch Bar, which were introduced for the series a few years ago. Touch Bar is a strip-shaped touch screen at the top of the keyboard that replaces the function keys with either virtual versions of these keys or other app-specific functions.
While many apps support the touch bar, some power users have complained that the touch bar is not always as convenient as physical keys.
Finally, the report concludes with a footnote that Apple also plans to update the MacBook Air with a new design, but that it will not come as soon as the MacBook Pro is updated. It does not outline any details about the MacBook Air redesign.
Update: Bloomberg ran an additional report today claiming that both iMac sizes are also due to a major update. They include Apple Silicon chips, reduced frames and elimination of the metal hook under the screen. They also wanted a flat chassis, in contrast to the curved design of the current iMac. The report also repeats previous claims that Mac Pro will see a smaller Apple Silicon successor that will live next to the Intel model in Apple’s range, and vaguely suggests a cheaper, consumer-oriented alternative to Apple’s expensive ProDisplay XDR monitor.