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Insiders say Apple is about to fix the things you hate most about the MacBook Pro

Published Jan 15th, 2021 7:31AM EST
MacBook Pro 2021
Image: Apple

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  • Apple is widely expected to release the 2021 MacBook Pro models at some point later this year.
  • A couple of separate reports detail the same features that are reportedly planned for the new MacBook Pro generation.
  • Apple will overhaul the MacBook Pro design, the leakers say. The Touch Bar will be removed, among other changes, and MagSafe charging will return to the MacBook Pro.

Whether it comes in Air or Pro versions, the MacBook is the laptop concept that everyone is looking to emulate and beat. The Air inspired many companies to go for thinner and thinner designs, while the Pro is usually the professional notebook that everyone wants to outperform. But the MacBooks aren’t perfect, and long-time users will attest to that. The good news is that Apple has been listening to feedback over the years and fixed the inherent problems that came with new MacBooks. The sticky keyboards and display tint issues are two of the annoying problems that Apple solved along the way, and the company isn’t done making changes to the MacBooks. Two separate Apple insiders known for their accurate predictions about unreleased Apple products say the Cupertino-based company will release a redesigned MacBook Pro series in the coming months that will fix many of the things you don’t like about the current design.

The current MacBook Pro design has a few staple features. The laptop is thinner than ever, it features only USB-C ports, and the keyboard comes with a Touch Bar at the top, a thin OLED screen that offers contextual buttons. The 2021 MacBook Pro design will reportedly change many of those things.

Well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a research note to customers that MacRumors shared in part that the 2021 MacBook Pro line will include new 14-inch and 16-inch models.

Both devices will feature flat-edged designs with no curves, similar to the iPhone 12. The Touch Bar will be replaced by physical function keys, as was the case before. A more exciting detail concerns charging. MagSafe will make a triumphant return, the insider said. The new MacBook Pros will also have additional ports, although it’s unclear what that means. Kuo does say that people will not have to buy dongles for the new MacBook Pros. Both notebooks will come with Apple M-series chips.

1. The two new models are equipped with about 14-inch and 16-inch displays, respectively.
2. In terms of casing design, the new models cancel the curvy design of existing models’ top and bottom parts and adopt a flat-edged form factor design similar to the ‌iPhone 12‌.
3. The ‌MagSafe‌ charging connector design is restored.
4. The OLED touch bar is removed, and the physical function buttons are restored.
5. There is no Intel CPU option for the new models.
6. They are equipped with more types of I/O, and most users may not need to purchase additional dongles.

Kuo also said the new MacBooks would feature the same heat pipe design as the current 16-inch model and that the high-end iPhone 13 versions might also adopt a vapor chamber to improve cooling. The 2021 MacBooks are coming in the third quarter of the year, the analyst said.

Separately, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman also reports that Apple is planning a major MacBook Pro redesign, citing a person with knowledge of the plans.

The report also mentions the same 14-inch and 16-inch versions as Kuo and says the laptops will feature Apple’s own processors that will be upgraded with more cores and better graphics. The MagSafe’s return is also mentioned, with the report saying the laptops will charge at a faster rate thanks to the new magnetic adaptor. The connector will apparently be similar to the elongated pill-shaped design of the older port. Multiple USB-C ports will be included, but Gurman makes no mention of other types of ports.

Apple is supposedly testing MacBook Pros that remove the Touch Bar, the report also notes. Finally, Bloomberg says the new MacBook Pro screens will be brighter, higher-contrast panels, but there’s no mention of the new mini-LED display tech that’s rumored for the 2021 MacBook Pro series. In previous leaks, Kuo did say that Apple will launch two MacBook Pro models with mini-LED displays this year.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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