Apple announced its highly-anticipated new MacBook Pro 2021 lineup at the Unleashed event today. This update was a big deal for many reasons. Most of the rumors were true. For one, Apple debuted a new but not so new design. Also, Apple finally gave its high-end notebooks the M1 treatment by introducing the M1 Pro and the M1 Max. On the design front, the new form factor is a big deal for many reasons. For one, Apple refreshes their MacBook Pro designs once every five years or so, so this chassis had to be future-proof enough to accommodate future functionality improvements while remaining aesthetically pleasing. Apple also made many changes under the hood and brought back many previously disposed features. Let’s take an in-depth look at everything new in the latest MacBook Pro offerings.
Apple heeded the cries of Pro users around the world by finally sacrificing knife-edge slimness for thermal efficiency. The new MacBook Pro updates also did away with the TouchBar, and in its place, Apple restored physical function keys. The bezels around the display are thinner, and the top of the display now features a notch, like Apple’s iPhones.
Looking at these new beasts, you’d think you stepped into a time machine and had been thrown back into 2013. However, every design choice was deliberate, and now these Macs seem like they were designed by an engineer instead of an artist.
The 16.2-inch Mac features a 3456 x 2234 pixel display (with 7.7 million pixels), and the 14.2-inch model boasts a 3024 x 1964 display (5.9 million pixels). Oh yes, ProMotion comes to the Mac’s Liquid Retina XDR display as well, pushing refresh rates to 120Hz for butter-smooth animations graphics performance. The camera gets a long-overdue refresh, moving up to 1080p, and reportedly delivers two-times better low-light performance.
The MacBook Pros come with an improved port selection. Apple traveled back to the early 2010s to bring back the HDMI and SD card slot, and MagSafe made a return. There are still three USB-C Thunderbolt four ports, and of course, a headphone jack.
Speakers and Microphone
The new Macs boast a new six-speaker sound system with four force-canceling subwoofers. These updates allow for Spatial Audio in the MacBook Pro, just like their iMac counterparts got earlier this year. In the 16-inch version, Apple claims the speakers are capable of 80% more bass than the previous version of the already best-in-class speaker system in the 16-inch Mac.
Apple has finally brought its in-house chips to the MacBook Pro, with the M1 Max and M1 Pro chips to the new MacBook Pros. The performance gains are staggering. To put it mildly, most PCs struggled to hold a candle to Apple’s M1 chip from last year, and the performance of the M1 chip is abysmal compared to what Apple has done here with these two beasts. Both chips are 10-core CPUs, and the M1 Pro features up to 16-core GPU. For the M1 Max, the cores go up to 32. The M1 Pro can get up to 32GB of Unified memory, and the M1 Max goes crazy, with offerings of up to 64GB of unified memory.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro is customizable with either the M1 Max or the M1 Pro.
Apple claims that you can get 17 hours of playback and 11 hours of web browsing with the new MacBook Pro (14-inch), and 21 hours of video playback with 14 hours of web browsing in the 16’’ version. The battery supports fast charging, letting your Mac charge from 0-50% in just 30 minutes. The baseline MacBook Pro 14’’ uses a 67W power adapter, which jumps to 96W in the higher 14-inch. As for the 16-inch Pro, all entries make use of a humongous 140W power adapter.
Nobody has gotten their hands on these systems yet, but Apple talked a big game concerning the performance of their new MacBook Pros. Seeing as they’ve gotten the in-house chip and will run Apple’s macOS Monterey, these will be exceptionally fast. According to their numbers, the new Macs will be at least four times faster than previous high-end versions in the 14-inch and at least two times faster in the 16-inch. When rendering 4K, the 14’’ model outpaces the 13″ from last year with at least ten times over in GPU performance (which is insane when you remember they no longer feature AMD chips). In the 16’’, when rendering 8K, the new models beat out the old by at least twice the speed.
Pricing begins at $1999 for the 14-inch MacBook Pro and $2499 for the 16-inch version. If pro users want a 10-core CPU on the 14-inch MacBook Pro, they’ll have to shell out an extra $500. If Pro users opting for the 16-inch version want an M1 Max chip instead, they’ll pay $1000 more to get it. You can order from today, and shipping begins next week.