With Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference rapidly approaching, many are wondering if this will be the moment when Tim Cook and his team reveal the new MacBook Pro line-up. The switch to ARM-powered Apple Silicon is underway, but two new laptops with an excess of power and a new striking design would be a perfect complement to the expected software advances going on show.

And with numerous leaks, let’s pick out some of the key features everyone will be talking about.

First up are the design changes. These MacBook Pros are expected to debut a new design of Apple’s titular laptop. Sporting a more angular look than previous years, although one that will still feel evolutionary, the MacBook Pro will be making a significant statement. Where the first wave of Apple Silicon machines looked exactly like their predecessors, the Macs you know and love but with a better processor, this wave not only carries the ARM-powered processor, but also a new design that will help project the idea of ‘new and futuristic’.

There are a number of hardware changes which are going to far more obvious. First up is the screen technology – the oft discussed move to mini-LED will bring a display with deeper blacks and more vibrant colours, all with a lower power draw on the battery.

The next change, and one that I find welcome, is the talk of removing of the Touch Bar and the return of the function keys. While the Touch Bar showed promise, it never felt like it was fully embraced. That some of the Macs would never have access to it meant it could not be use for anything critical. As a dynamic status bar it had its uses, but the tactical feedback from physical keys is more to my liking.

Finally, Apple’s reluctance to have I/O ports on their laptops – forcing countless users to buy extra dongles to make their MacBook functional – looks to have been overcome. Leaks have pointed to the inclusion of an HDMI port, an SD Card reader and three Thunderbolt/USB-C ports. The laptops could also follow the new iMac machines by including an ethernet port in the power adaptor for a wired connection. 

Finally there’s the inclusion of the M1X processor. Building on the M1 chip that was found in the MacBook Air and the lower specced 13 Inch MacBook Pro launched in November, the M1X is expected to bump the core count up 10, with eight high-performance two energy-efficient cores, as well as offering options for 16- or 32-core GPU.

Expect another step up in benchmarks and available power.

These two new MacBooks are clearly the ‘powerful ones’. They’ll sit alongside the lower specced but still incredibly impressive MacBook Air and 13 Inch MacBook Pro, creating a natural break between ‘consumer’ and ‘professional’ macOS laptops. Just the sort of machines that developers will want – all of the promise and power of Apple Silicon in a single portable package.

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