Nothing seems to stop the Apple train and, pandemic or not, we’re seeing a big new line of products from the tech giant this year. Following the announcement of new devices like the iPhone 13 and Apple Watch Series 7 we now also have a fresh MacBook Pro.
MacBooks became even more of a powerhouse last year when they received Apple’s M1 silicon chip. This year Apple has gone further again with the introduction of the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips housed in a new and improved laptop.
Here’s what you need to know about the 2021 MacBook Pro range.
MacBook Pro 2021: Design
The new laptops don’t reinvent the wheel in terms of design but do have some helpful new features.
As expected from the leaks, Apple upped the size of its smaller MacBook Pro to become 14-inches alongside the standard 16-inch offering.
They feature a Liquid Retina XDR display, with the same Mini-LED technology used in tech the iPad Pro, and a new 1080p FaceTime HD camera. Plus there’s a larger range of ports this year.
Apple said the 2021 MacBooks have been redesigned in a new aluminium enclosure that allows an advanced thermal system to move 50 per cent more air at lower fan speeds, meaning they stay cooler and quieter.
The Touch Bar has also been removed, which was expected, and instead, the MacBook Pro has a Magic Keyboard that features a full-height function row with physical function keys and Force Touch trackpad.
In terms of battery life we’re looking at 17 hours of video playback on the 14-inch and up to 21 hours on the 16-inch. The new MacBooks also feature fast charging for the first time and can reach up to 50% battry in just 20 minutes.
M1 Pro and M1 Max chips explained
If you thought the M1 chip was good (it is) then hold onto your horses because Apple has upgraded its silicon chipset yet again this year, not once but twice.
The M1 Pro and M1 Max chips are new to the range and are a huge step up for Apple’s in-house chipset. Both the 14 and 16-inch models can be configured with either chip to fit your needs.
The new chips apply system-on-a-chip architecture to the Pro systems for the first time and bring dast unified memory and increased memory bandwidth.
The M1 Pro chip features a 10-core CPU with eight high-performance cores and two high-efficiency cores and can be configured with up to 16 core-GPU. Its 200GB memory bandwidth makes it nearly 3x that of the M1 and is designed to dramatically seed up pro video workflows with 32GB of unified memory and a ProRes accelerator in the media engine.
The M1 Max chip on the other hand Apple has dubbed its most powerful chip for a pro notebook.
The M1 Max maintains a 10-core CPU and doubles the GPU with up to 32 cores for 4x the performance of the M1. It has up to 400GB of memory bandwidth and 64GB of unified memory, making it twice as fast as the M1 Pro chip. The chipset is designed to aid tasks such as 3D artistry and handle multiple ProRes video streams.
Both chips are built to enhance the performance of creatives on the MacBook Pro who need quick and efficient performance from programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro.
MacBook Pro 2021: Specs
Here’s a quick breakdown of all of the specs:
- Chipset: Apple Silicon M1 Pro or M1 Max
- CPU: Up to 10-core
- GPU: Up to 32-core
- Memory: 16, 32 or 64GB
- Storage: Between 512GB – 8TB SSD
- Display: 14 or 16-inch Liquid Retina XDR, 120 Hz adaptive refresh rate
- Dimensions: 1.55cm x 31.26 cm x 22.12 cm (14-inch), 1.68 cm x 35.57 cm x 24.81 cm (16-inch)
- Weight: 1.61 kg (14-inch), 2.15 kg (16-inch)
- Ports: 3 x Thunderbolt 4, 1 x HDMI, 1 x SDXC card slot, 1 x MagSafe 3, 1 x 3.5mm headphone jack
- Battery life: up to 17 hours
- Camera: 1080p FaceTime HD camera
- OS: MacOS Monterey
MacBook Pro 2021: Australian price and release date
Given the extreme customizability of the new MacBook Pros, you’ll see plenty of fluctuation in price depending on your build-out.
The MacBook Pro 14-inch with the M1 Pro chip starts at $2,999. Meanwhile, the MacBook Pro 16-inch with M1 Pro chip retails starting at $3,749.
The new MacBook Pros are available to order online from the Apple Store from today, October 19. They will begin shipping and arriving in stores from Tuesday, October 26.
This article has been updated since its original publish date to include news regarding the MacBook Pro.