They were the most-awaited and desired Apple laptops for years, and we finally have them with us: the new MacBook Pro 14″ and 16″ have the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips that allow them to make a significant leap in the performance of its CPU and especially its GPU in graphics, but the changes are not only on the inside but also on the outside.
The new laptops meet expectations: they get rid of the Touch Bar, but there is also an HDMI port, SD reader, and a new MagSafe port. But if there is a fundamental difference, that is the screen, with almost no bezels, and inherits the iPhone’s notch.
MacBook Pro (2021) Datasheet
|MacBook Pro 14″||MacBook Pro 16″|
|Screen||Liquid Retina XDR|
14.2 inches, 3,024 x 1,964 pixels (254 dpi)
|Liquid Retina XDR|
14.2 inches, 3,456 x 2,234 pixels (254 dpi)
1,600 nits of peak brightness
ProMotion 120 Hz technology
|Processor||Apple M1 Pro chip (8/10 core CPU, 14/16 core GPU, 200 GB / s memory bandwidth)||Apple M1 Pro chip (8/10 core CPU, 14/16 core GPU, 200 GB / s memory bandwidth)Apple M1 Max chip(10-core CPU, 24/32-core GPU, 400GB / s memory bandwidth)|
|Memory||16 / 32GB unified memory||16/32/64 GB unified memory|
|Ports||3 x USB-C (TB4)|
1 x HDMI
1 x MagSafe 3
SDXC card reader
|3 x USB-C (TB4)|
1 x HDMI1 x MagSafe 3
SDXC card reader
|Webcam||FaceTime HD at 1080p||FaceTime HD at 1080p|
|Dimensions and Weight||312.6 x 221.2 x 15.5 mm|
|355.7 x 248.1 x 16.8 mm|
67W USB-C adapter (96W optional)
USB-C to MagSafe3 cable
140W USB-C adapter
USB-C to MagSafe3 cable
|OS||macOS Monterey||macOS Monterey|
|Price||From $1,999 / €2,249||From $2,499 / €2,749|
Two sizes, many ports
The new MacBook Pro has two different diagonals: 14 and 16 inches (specifically, 14.2 and 16.2 inches) that feature a construction that seems robust but is still ultra-thin.
Those Mini LED displays also come with support for ProMotion technology and refresh rates of up to 120 Hz. These rates are dynamically self-configuring but can be locked by the user if desired.
The displays come with a standard brightness of 1,000 nits and a maximum brightness of 1,600 nits, plus a contrast of 1,000,000:1. This suggests that even as reflective displays, it will be possible to use them outdoors without too many problems.
Weights are 1.61 kg for the 14-inch model, which is 15.5 mm thick, and 2.17 kg for the 16-inch model, with a slightly thicker but equally remarkable thickness of 16.8 mm.
What also stands out is the renewed love for ports: in addition to the three USB-C ports and the headphone port is a MagSafe 3 port that will allow charging these laptops with a magnetic connector that was already mythical in the old MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.
Not only that: these devices will also have a full-size HDMI port and an SD card reader that seems oriented to those creatives who continually use these cards in their cameras to record video.
With those ports, the MacBook Pros with the M1 Pro can support up to two Pro Display XDR displays, but with the M1 Max chips, the figure goes up to three Pro Display XDRs and a 4K TV.
Goodbye Touch Bar, Hello Notch
The design stands out for the side frames, 3.5 mm (24% thinner) and also the top 3.5 mm (60% thinner). Of course, what stands out the most in the upper part is the notch inherited from the iPhone and that certainly brings a differential and distinguishable aspect to these laptops.
That front camera is now capable of recording at 1080p with f/2.0 aperture and has a larger sensor that also allows it to behave better in low light conditions. What is not featured in the ‘notch’ is FaceID support: this webcam is just a (promising) webcam.
That camera is also accompanied by a set of three “studio-quality” microphones that also have a 60% lower low-noise threshold. The sound section is completed by a combination of six speakers: two tweeters and four woofers. There is also support for Apple’s Spatial Audio technology.
The changes in this design respond to what the latest rumors had suggested: Apple has gotten rid of the Touch Bar that had been used in most variants of the MacBook Pro in the last five years.
In its place, we now have a new row of function buttons that allow access to additional functions. The power button on the top right is also a fingerprint sensor with Touch ID technology.
Apple brags about performance: the M1 Pro and M1 Max show promise, and lots of it
Apple talked in detail about the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips that give life to these devices. The improvement is notable for the change in the CPU – now with 10 cores, eight of them high-power and two high-efficiency – but above all for the GPU that goes from 16 to 32 cores (compared to the seven/eight of the M1).
Thanks to these SoCs based on ARM architecture – not a mention of that detail – Apple boasts performance that is, in CPU terms, double that offered so far by previous 16-inch MacBooks with Core i9s.
Things get better in the case of the GPU: when comparing them with the previous 16-inch MacBook Pro with the Radeon Pro 5600M, Apple claims that the model with the M1 Max chip is four times faster, while with the M1 Pro the performance is 2.5 times faster than with the AMD chip.
Things go even further when comparing these laptops to models without dedicated graphics: in graphics, for example, when comparing the new 14-inch model to the older 13-inch model with Core i7, the new MacBook Pro (2021) was 3.7x higher in CPU performance and up to 13x higher in GPU performance.
The performance improvements affect other areas that contribute to those rates: at Apple, they talked about the new memory bandwidth and support for up to 64 GB of RAM in the M1 Max.
In addition, the SSDs are capable of achieving read rates of up to 7.4 GB/s and it will be possible to configure them with up to 8 TB of internal storage.
Despite this promising power, battery life will still be outstanding according to Apple: the company claims that the 14-inch model will be able to reach 17 hours of video playback and the 16-inch model 21 hours.
Pricing and availability of the new MacBook Pro (2021)
The new MacBook Pro will be available for pre-order starting today and will be available on October 26th.
Prices are as follows:
- MacBook Pro 14 Inch (M1 Pro, 8-core CPU, 16-core GPU, 512 GB): $1,999 / €2,249
- Macbook Pro 14 Inch (M1 Pro, CPU 10 cores, GPU 16 cores, 1 TB): $2,499 / €2,748
- Macbook Pro 16-inch (M1 Pro, 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD): $2,499 / €2,749
- Macbook Pro 16-inch (M1 Pro, 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD): $2,699 / €2,979
- Macbook Pro 16 Inches (M1 Max, CPU 10 cores, GPU 32 cores, 32 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD): $3,499 / €3,849