Last year’s launch of the M1-powered MacBook Air and MacBook Pro helped redefine what Apple could offer its customers. Many jumped at the chance to buy into Tim Cook’s new dream. If you are looking to join them, you might be better off waiting.
Last year saw Apple debut its ARM-powered M1 chip in the mac Mini, and two new MacBooks. Presumably to foster a sense of continuation and ‘these are still the MacBooks you know and love’ there were no major design changes to the two machines.
Thats about to change as the second wave of Apple Silicon Macs are prepared for their retail debut in 2021. The new MacBook Pro machines are going to introduce Apple’s new laptop design, offer new screen technology in larger sizes, and continue the expansion of Apple’s new chips. Mark Gurman reports:
“Redesigned MacBook Pros are expected to debut as soon as early this summer, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss an internal matter, followed by a revamped MacBook Air, a new low-end MacBook Pro and an all-new Mac Pro workstation. The company is also working on a higher-end Mac mini desktop and larger iMac. The machines will feature processors designed in-house that will greatly outpace the performance and capabilities of the current M1 chips, the people said.”
What’s interesting here is not that Apple is going to be bringing out a Mac Pro – after all it has committed to moving the entire line-up over to ARM-based hardware by the end of 2022. Neither is it a surprise that there will be higher-end Mac mini and iMac machines.
For me the biggest talking point is that Apple is offering this full hardware and design refresh to both the MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air. These laptops are going to benefit in three key areas.
First up, and most noticeably, will be the screens. Apple is expected to debut mini-LED screens into the laptops, offering more vibrant colours and deeper blacks for less battery power. The 14-inch screen size suggests the smaller MacBook Pro is finally trading those large bezels for more screen real estate while keeping the same form factor.
Next is the new physical design. It’s unlikely that Apple is going to stray too far from a traditional laptop design, but it will be interesting to see which modern trends will be adopted.
Finally will be the processor. Apple’s M1, no matter how radical, will always be the slowest and least flexible Apple Silicon processor of any Mac. Of course Apple is going to crank up the power, but it does leave a sour taste.
Until this point, the update cycle on MacBooks have been measured in years. Yes there have been small updates to keep things on a par with the competition, but in terms of major steps you knew you would have a ‘current’ machine for many years. That’s not the case with one of the biggest steps Apple could have taken. Last year’s M1 powered MacBooks brought the processor, but didn’t bring anything else.
If you want the revolutionary MacBook Pro or the stunning MacBook Air, you’d be better off waiting.