Last year the MacBook Pro range took a seismic shock … but you’ll be forgiven for not even realizing it. After years of developing processors for its best-selling iPhone lineup, Apple decided to convert its entire Mac lineup to its own silicon, replacing the industry-standard Intel chipsets with its own specially designed M1. The M1 did the impossible – increasing both raw performance and battery life.
But while the M1 was responsible for insane changes inside the MacBook Pro, Apple didn’t take the opportunity to make changes to the outside. With its latest model, that changes. During its latest keynote event, teased with the cryptic slogan “Unleashed” on the invitations, Apple unveiled the next-generation design and hardware capabilities powered by its purpose-built processor.
The new MacBook Pro laptops have larger screens thanks to 24 percent thinner bezels – so the overall size of the laptop is not bulkier, faster processors from Apple, six speakers for Dolby Atmos audio on the go, an integrated SD card reader and HDMI connection, MagSafe 3, which can charge 50 percent of the battery in 30 minutes, a 120 Hz mini LED display and a 1080p webcam in the new notch design. Along with this incredibly long list of new additions, what makes these new MacBook Pro models stand out is what they don’t – namely the ill-fated Touch Bar touchscreen that replaced part of the physical keyboard on the previous generation notebook.
Most of the new MacBook Pro lineup is powered by the M1 Pro, which is specially designed for professional users who use the Mac platform to edit TV shows, movies, and photos. M1 Pro is the first chipset developed by Apple that can support up to 32GB of RAM … the M1 only supports 16GB of RAM, which excludes this super efficient chipset for many professional users. M1 Pro can support multiple 8K video streams thanks to clever hardware acceleration.
In terms of graphics performance, Apple says its new chips can deliver 2.5 times the performance on battery power. That means Mac users can still enjoy tremendous performance even without a plug – something that isn’t always the case with competitors, who reduce the power put out by the processor in order to save battery life when you’re not plugged in.
The new MacBook Pro series comes with either a 14- or 16.2-inch display
Apple says it has worked hard to tweak the latest version of macOS to take full advantage of these newly recharged chipsets. While the latest MacBook Pro models, all powered by the new M-branded processors, will be ready to use on macOS Monterey right out of the box, it will be available for free download to existing Mac owners on October 25, 2021.
A dedicated display engine hidden in the System-on-a-Chip to operate multiple displays.
The high-end models of the MacBook Pro are powered by the M1 Max, which is supposed to increase performance even further. It supports up to 64GB of RAM, which should be more than enough for those working on professional television and film production. Video coding that is 2x faster than the M1 is also integrated into the chipset.
Apple says the M1 Pro and M1 Max can match the performance of the best-selling eight-core processor used by Windows laptops while using around 70 percent less power. Apple didn’t reveal which chip it was talking about during the event, but it seems likely the California-based company is comparing itself to the industry standard Intel.
For the first time, Apple has added a notch to the display with its range of laptops
Now, let’s get down to the hardware that runs these new M1 Pro and M1 Max chipsets – the brand new MacBook Pro.
Apple has expanded the display size of the smallest MacBook Pro and pushed the bezels to the edge of the case. This has allowed the company to cram a 14-inch model into a frame that is roughly the same size as the previous 13-inch model. While Apple swapped the 15-inch MacBook Pro for a 16-inch model a few years ago, the 13-inch model wasn’t treated that way. But that changes with this latest update.
The new MacBook Pro range is available in both 14 and 16.2-inch sizes thanks to the 24 percent border around the display. Both screens have a small notch at the top of the screen, as we’ve come to expect from Apple’s smartphones since the iPhone X was introduced. Hidden in that notch that’s a little more angular than what you’ll find on the iPhone 13 Pro is an updated new webcam.
For the first time ever, Apple has built in a 1080p FaceTime HD camera – the best quality ever in a Mac – and doubles the resolution and low-light performance. The camera system uses the improved image signal processor (ISP) and neural engine found in the M1 Pro and M1 Max. These improvements are meant to result in sharper images with more natural-looking skin tones, Apple says.
Apple has improved the display, which now uses the iPad Pro’s mini LED panel technology. Named Liquid Retina XDR, this charged display can provide up to 1,000 nits of sustained full screen brightness and up to 1,600 nits of peak brightness – perfect for viewing HDR content on the screen.
And that’s not the only display feature that has been adopted by Apple’s iOS devices. The displays of the new MacBook models can adaptively refresh up to 120 Hz. Apple uses the same optimizations as iOS, which automatically adjusts the refresh rate based on the movement of the content. This is designed to save battery life while ensuring that scrolling is incredibly smooth and gaming is fast.
The new Super Retina XDR display has a notch for the 1080p webcam for video calls
Apple removed the Touch Bar from its latest MacBook series redesign. The controversial Touch Bar replaced the row of function keys located along the top of the keyboard with the redesign of the fourth generation MacBook Pro in October 2016. This sleek OLED touchscreen was designed to adapt to what is happening on the screen customizes – with developers who can code software buttons to make their app appear on the Touch Bar.
Apple also introduced the ability to browse videos using the small screen, select emojis, and tap predictive spelling suggestions that appear as you type.
While these features were useful for some to save time, most criticized the implementation on a computer that Apple sold to “professionals”. The users who are turning to the MacBook Pro over the MacBook Air are more of the type of people who use the keyboard shortcuts that were only possible with previous physical function keys. As a concession to these users, Apple revamped the Touch Bar and reintroduced a physical escape key in later versions of the hardware.
And now Apple has completely ditched the touchscreen with its latest update and has returned to the tried and true physical buttons.
Gone is the Touch Bar, replaced by a good, old-fashioned row of function keys
The Touch ID fingerprint scanner still stays in the same place as the previous generation, so you don’t have to remember your password.
In addition to the return of the MagSafe charger, Apple has also restored an HDMI port and SD card reader in addition to some USB-C ports. This means that laptop owners are able to connect projectors, external displays and televisions – as well as copy photos and videos from cameras without having to pack adapters or dongles.
With the latest redesign, Apple took the opportunity to revive its popular MagSafe charging port. This clever cable, which snaps into the port on the side of the MacBook Pro with magnets, is designed to keep your laptop from flying across the room if (or more precisely) someone trips over the cable while it is charging.
The new charger called MagSafe 3 is for the first time able to quickly charge the Mac
Like the Touch Bar, Apple dropped the MagSafe with its last major redesign of the MacBook Pro. The abandonment of the proprietary cable in favor of USB-C was designed to ensure MacBook Pro owners can charge from either side of the notebook – something that wasn’t possible on previous models. It also meant owners could charge their MacBook Pro with the same cable that charged a flagship Android smartphone, iPad Air, iPad Pro, or Nintendo Switch – perfect for travelers.
Despite these advantages, the decision to ditch MagSafe has been heavily maligned by MacBook fans. As with a number of other aspects of the new design, Apple seems to want to show MacBook Pro fans that it has listened to criticism. And with its new design, it has answers to all of these complaints.
Apple says you can still charge via USB-C on the new models, but the MagSafe charger is there for those who prefer that option. The new MacBook Pro can be quickly charged for the first time by being plugged into the wall for 30 minutes and delivering a 50 percent charge.
Everything Apple announced for its brand new MacBook Pro range
The new MacBook Pro models come with six speakers and support for Dolby Atmos. Both the 14-inch and 16-inch models support Spatial Audio when watching movies from iTunes and series streamed from Apple TV +, which Apple says should provide a “theater-like experience” when you’re on the go.
Apple’s new MacBook Pro marks the first major redesign of its best-selling laptop since November 2019. This shock brought a more immersive 16-inch display with an enlarged case thanks to significantly thinner bezels. In addition, the new Magic Keyboard replaced the ill-fated butterfly-mechanism keys that plagued MacBook owners for years, and Apple has faced complaints about its poor reliability.
The new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro range can be pre-ordered today, with the first laptops shipping later this month. Prices start at £ 1,899 for the 14-inch MacBook Pro with 16 GB of RAM, an 8-core CPU and 512 GB of storage. That increases to £ 2,399 for the 10-core CPU, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro starts at £ 2,399 for a model with a 10-core CPU, 16 GB of RAM, and 512 GB of storage. The maxed out model comes with a 10-core M1 Max with a 32-core GPU, 32GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage at a price of £ 3,299. If you want to customize the MacBook Pro with 64GB of RAM and 8TB of storage, you can spend up to £ 5,899.