Apple will unveil the big 2021 MacBook Pro refresh on Monday during a virtual press event that might also bring buyers brand new AirPods 3. We already think we know what to expect from the MacBook Pro redesign and hardware upgrade. But even so, a report surprised fans a few days ago when we learned the redesigned MacBooks might feature a significant display upgrade — support for 120Hz refresh rates. While the screen upgrade makes sense, we have another last-minute MacBook Pro leak that seems sketchy at best. Some people claim that the M1X MacBook Pro models will feature a notch like the iPhone.
The iPhone notch
Apple introduced the infamous notch with the iPhone X in 2017. The company kept the exact same screen design compromise in place until this year. The iPhone 13 also features a notch, but it’s slightly narrower and taller than before. Apple needs this screen cutout to house the FaceTime camera and all the TrueDepth camera components that make Face ID authentication possible. The notch is a trade-off between an all-screen design and the 3D face recognition system that nobody else in the industry can match. The notch is also a signature design feature that separates the iPhone from Android phones.
Face ID came to the iPad Pro after the iPhone, but there’s no notch on the tablet. That’s because the iPad Pros feature much larger bezels around the screen. Bringing Face ID to the MacBook seems like the next logical move for Apple. While there’s certainly plenty of bezel space to accommodate the Face ID components, the MacBook has another problem. The lid that houses the display is very thin. It’s a lot thinner than the iPhone and iPad Pro. As you might have surmised, it’s too thin for the camera components in the Face ID system.
Reports earlier this week said the redesigned MacBook Pro will have thinner bezels than before. Apple will eliminate the logo that’s been present at the bottom of the screen on every MacBook Air and Pro model. But those reports didn’t mention a notch.
The MacBook Pro notch rumors
Without Face ID in the picture, the only reason to include a notch in the MacBook Pro display is to max out the display area without actually removing the webcam. The camera will feature 1080p resolution, according to recent rumors.
According to MacRumors, the MacBook Pro notch rumors come from two sources. One of them is a Chinese Weibo user. The other is a Redditor, who says they’ve been following Apple rumors for years and the first MacBook Pro notch rumors appeared some 60 days ago.
The Redditor claims that several distinct sources have mentioned the notch recently. Moreover, they think Apple’s recently leaked resolutions for the 14-inch and 16-inch displays might also support the notch claim:
Those are all that I read, but I’ve got a guesstimate about the notch. Recall the screen resolution leaks, which came directly from Apple’s macOS beta files: 3456 by 2234 and 3024 by 1964. Subtract 74 from the height of both of them, and you get a perfect 16:10 display just like all the MacBooks on shelf right now. That 74 is probably the height of the notch in terms of pixels.
Even with the notch, the MacBook Pro won’t have an “all-screen” design. The bottom bezel will be thicker than the others, the Redditor says.
The MacBook Pro redesign
The Reddit leak says the MacBook Pro notch includes the 1080p camera, TrueTone sensors, and a microphone. But you won’t find any Face ID components in it. Apple might use the same notch on the MacBook Air, which is getting a big redesign next year.
Finally, the Redditor provided more details about the MacBook Pro redesign aside from the notch. The keyboard will supposedly not have a TouchBar, and it will be all black. The Touch ID fingerprint sensor stays in place and gets a backlight like the regular keys, so users can locate it with ease.
As for the port arrangement, the left side of the MacBook Pro is said to feature a new MagSafe connector, two USB-C Thunderbolt ports, and a 3.5mm audio jack. On the right, you’ll get the HDMI, SD, and a third USB-C port. Interestingly, charging the MacBook Pro is possible via MagSafe or USB-C.
The MacBook Pro should feature a thicker, heavier body and a less curvy chassis. The laptop will also feature two big fans, according to the Redditor. We’ll only have to wait until Monday to see if any of these claims pan out, especially the notch rumor.