It’s official – Apple is releasing two new MacBook Pro models. And this time you don’t need to overload adapters because not only are they built using the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, but they also have a more logical port situation.
This article has been updated with further information since it was first published.
Following the success of the M1 MacBook Pro back in November 2020, everyone has been eagerly anticipating the release of the next model, which was expected to have the biggest overhaul we’ve seen since 2016. Apple delivered.
MacBook Pro, Two Models
Apple has given us new MacBook Pros powered by the also new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips — which are the first pro chips designed for the Mac. (More on that below).
Available in 14- and 16-inch models, MacBook Pro is touted by Apple as delivering ‘groundbreaking’ processing, graphics and machine learning performance.
They reckon these new devices have amazing battery life.
Here’s some headlining features:
- Liquid Retina XDR display
- A bunch of ports
- A 1080p FaceTime HD camera
- Upgraded audio system
“Combined with macOS Monterey, which is engineered down to its core to take full advantage of M1 Pro and M1 Max, the user experience is simply unrivalled,” Apple says.
Let’s Unpack The Features
The Liquid Retina XDR display features the mini-LED technology used in the iPad Pro. Apple says the Liquid Retina XDR display delivers up to 1,000 nits of sustained, full-screen brightness, 1,600 nits of peak brightness and a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio.
ProMotion technology also comes to the Mac, featuring an adaptive refresh rate up to 120Hz. (As seen with the iPhone 13 just recently, ProMotion automatically varies the refresh rate to match what you’re doing on the device).
Larger display — the 16-inch model offers a 16.2-inch display with 7.7 million pixels (the most ever on a Mac notebook). And the 14-inch model gives users more screen real estate, with a 14.2-inch active area and a total of 5.9 million pixels (more pixels than the prior 16-inch MacBook Pro).
We also get thinner borders which extends up around the camera.
Speaking of camera. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that a 720p webcam simply doesn’t cut it anymore; a high-quality webcam is a non-negotiable. And thankfully, Apple has listened to this.
The webcam is now 1080p, just like on the new iMac, which will make your video calls look much better than before.
Ports! Lots Of Ports!
If you’ve purchased a MacBook since 2016, you’ve probably spent a fair bit of time screaming about the severe lack of ports.
While recent models have had as little as two USB-C ports (one of which is used for charging the device) and a 3.5mm headphone jack, MacBook lovers rejoice, because we’re getting more ports!
Both models feature three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an SDXC card slot, an HDMI port an improved headphone jack that supports high-impedance headphones.
With M1 Pro, you can now connect up to two Pro Display XDRs, and with M1 Max, this will extend to up to three Pro Display XDRs and a 4K TV. For wireless connectivity, MacBook Pro also features Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.
MagSafe Chargers Are Back
In news that has me particularly excited, Apple is bringing back the MagSafe charger.
For years, Apple blessed us with a charger that would magnetically disconnect if you tugged too hard on the cable. I simply cannot stress just how many times this has saved me from sending my MacBook flying across the room when I trip over the cable. But during 2016’s big redesign, this was traded out for a USB-C charger. Ugh.
Thankfully, Apple has finally decided that USB-C chargers are very, very dumb.
MagSafe returns to MacBook Pro with MagSafe 3, which feature an updated design and support more power. Fast charge also comes to the Mac for the first time, charging up to 50 per cent in just 30 minutes.
No Touch Bar On The MacBook Pro
The last time we saw a major MacBook upgrade was in 2016 when Apple gave us the Touch Bar, but it has already decided to axe the feature in this year’s redesign. Yep, the removal of Apple’s much-maligned Touch Bar is something the majority of you wanted gone.
Instead, the Pro keyboard has a row of physical function keys as the universe intended. The new keyboard is set in a black well, surrounded by silver aluminium with a giant trackpad.
Powerful New Chips: M1 Pro and M1 Max
The MacBook Pros run on Apple’s newest chips, the M1 Pro and M1 Max. Both new chips sport up to 10 CPU cores (eight high-performance and two efficient), delivering 70 per cent faster performance than M1, according to Apple.
Here’s where they differ: The M1 Pro has a 16-core GPU, which Apple says promises up to two times faster graphics performance than M1, with up to 200 GB/s of memory bandwidth, nearly three times M1, and 32GB of RAM. The M1 Pro, which is based on 5-nanometre architecture, has 33.7 billion transistors, more than twice that of M1. According to Apple, the M1 Pro’s graphics performance is up to 7 times faster than the integrated graphics on MSI’s GP66 Leopard.
The M1 Max is even more pro than M1 Pro, with up to 400 GB/s of memory bandwidth, twice that of M1 Pro and six times that of M1. The M1 Max can be configured with up to 64GB of RAM and has 57 billion transistors. The 10-core CPU is the same as M1 Pro, but the 32-core GPU delivers four times faster GPU performance than M1. Apple said the M1 Max delivers the same graphics performance as the Razer Blade 15 Advance but with 40 per cent less power.
Apple pointed out how this performance will play out in real-world use cases. In Final Cut Pro, video analysis for object-tracking is up to five times faster than with M1, and ProRes video transcode is 10 times faster.
MacBook Pro Pricing and Availability Release Date
You can order the new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models today via the Apple Store, and they will be available beginning Tuesday, 26 October.
- The 14-inch MacBook Pro model starts at RRP $2,999 (RRP $2,769 for education)
- The 16-inch MacBook Pro model starts at RRP $3,749 (RRP $3,449 for education)
- macOS Monterey will be available as a free software update on October 25
You can read more on macOS Monterey over here.