Friday, Jan 15, 2021, 18:08 Mac: Hardware

MacBook Pro 2021: Away with The Touch Bar, The Return of MagSafe, and Much More Expected

There are important innovations expected for the MacBook Pro this year – and not just the switch from Intel to in-house chips. Numerous sources have reported on a ground-up design rework of the MacBook Pro for the first time in 4 years. The last MacBook to receive this treatment was the MacBook Pro 15" (2016), upon which the 16" 2019 variant is based. After the MacBook Pro 13" was switched from the Intel to M1 chip, it still relied on the old exterior design of the Intel-equipped MacBooks. This year however, we can expect some newly adorned housing for our MacBooks.

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New Flat-Edged Design
The notable market analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, gave his two cents on a few fundamental aspects: the switch from 13.3" to 14" has already been discussed multiple times, whereas the large 16" Mac Book Pro is expected to remain unchanged (in size). The design of both models will be based on Apple's new design style – following in the footsteps of the iPad Pro 2018 and iPhone 12, recognizable by flat edges. Kuo didn't make any statements concerning processors.

The End of the TouchBar
One predicted change is of surprise. According to Kuo, Apple's doing away with the Touch Bar in favor of regular keys. The Touch Bar above the keyboard was a controversial feature from the start. Although it provided several app and environment specific functions, many users considered it to be more annoying than useful due to accidental inputs. The Touch Bar was criricized for its lack of haptic feedback (more of an issue during attempted button pressing than sliding), inconsistent software implementation, and functional limitations for developers.


No Touch Bar in new models?


MagSafe Makes A Comeback
The 2019 MacBook Pro came with a new keyboard and a physical escape key, leading many to praise Apple for "listening to customers and correcting controversial decisions" – feedback which it seems Apple has taken to heart. A comeback of old features is expected with the release of the 2021 MacBook Pro. One can only guess how many MacBooks were saved from plunging to death off the edges of tables or desks by the magnetic "MagSafe" charger since its debut in 2016. Oddly enough Mag Safe disappeared in 2016 – replaced by a standard USB-C charger.


MagSafe charger and Port on an older MacBook Pro


More Ports, Fewer Adapters
Kuo also mentions Apple's attempt to distance themselves from the current "port politics". In detail: there will finally be more ports again. The current MacBook Pro 16" contains 4 Thunderbolt 3 USB ports, before 2016 there were also SD Card, HDMI, and USB A ports. Whether or not those exact ports are making a return is unknown. What Kuo did say however, was "more ports, fewer adapters".

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Bloomber: Faster Charging, Better Display
Bloomberg also provided additional information concerning the next MacBook Pro. Mark Gurman, an exceptionally good market analyst, reiterated Kuo's predictions concerning MagSafe. In addition he also stated that this change will be accompanied by an increase in charging speed. As far as additional ports are concerned, Gurman says that he can only be sure of 4 USB-C ports and 1 MagSafe port – but there should be new, brighter display panels with better contrast. In order to fill the pixels of the new displays with life, the new MacBook Pro will be equipped with one of Apple's own graphics chips – followed by better performance than the M1 MacBook Air, M1 MacBook Pro, and M1 Mac mini.

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