Apple has introduced two new MacBook models for 2021. The 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro feature brand new designs but also re-introduce some favorite tools. Available starting at $1,999, the new MacBook Pro lineup comes with a brand new M1 Pro or M1 Max system-on-a-chip (SoC), depending on your preferences (and wallet size). In addition, the arrival represents the end of Intel-based MacBooks, which have all now been discontinued.
No doubt, the new newest Apple laptops will soon make our list of the best MacBooks of the year!
Size: A new contender
Long rumored, the 14-inch MacBook Pro doesn't replace the 13-inch model, which remains on the market with the now-older design. Instead, it joins a second-generation 16-inch model — the first refresh at this size since 2019. The new MacBook Pro lineup offers a Liquid Retina XDR display, 1080p FaceTime HD camera, and a design that looks very similar to Apple laptops early in the century.
Camera and Audio
Apple upped the camera game on the newest MacBook Pro models. Both come with a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, which doubles previous models' resolution and low-light performance. The camera also includes a powerful image signal processor (ISP) and Neural Engine of M1 Pro and M1 Max for enhanced video quality. In doing so, users appear sharper with more natural-looking skin tones.
On the audio side, the new models offer studio-quality mics that have a lower noise floor. This results in clearer calls and voice recordings. Inside is also a high-fidelity six-speaker sound system with two tweeters and four force-canceling woofers—the result: 80% more bass. The new system also supports spatial audio, which works terrifically with Dolby Atmos to provide a theater-like experience.
For the first time, the MacBook Pro includes a Liquid Retina XDR display that uses mini-LED technology — the same one used on the iPad Pro. The display delivers up to 1,000 hits of full-screen, sustained brightness and 1,600 nits of peak brightness, and a 1,000,000:1 contrast radio. Meanwhile, with ProMotion technology, the display provides an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz.
The new 16-inch model includes a 16.2-inch active area with 7.7 million pixels, the most ever on a Mac notebook, while the 14-inch model gives users a 14.2-inch active space with 5.9 million pixels. In addition, both feature thinner borders on both the top and sides of the display.
Apple was heavily criticized for dropping all but USB-C ports on MacBook Pro a few years ago. Today, Apple brought ports back on the 2021 MacBook Pro models. The new laptops include an HDMI port for connecting displays and TVs and an all-new headphone jack that supports high-impedance headphones. There's also MagSafe 3, which offers an updated design and fast charge. With M1 Pro, users can now connect up to two Pro Display XDRs, and with M1 Max, users can connect up to three Pro Display XDRs and a 4K TV, all simultaneously. For wireless connectivity, MacBook Pro also features Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.
Processor: M1 Pro and M1 Max
In perhaps the biggest surprise of Apple's "Unleashed" October event, Apple announced two new M1 variances along with the new MacBook Pro models: the M1 Pro and M1 Max. The M1 Pro offers up-to-10-core CPU with eight high-performance cores and two high-efficiency cores, along with an up-to-16-core GPU. As a result, the M1 Pro offers up to 70 percent faster CPU performance than M1 and up to 2x quicker GPU performance. The M1 Pro also delivers up to 200GB/s of memory bandwidth — nearly 3x the bandwidth of M1 — and supports up to 32GB of fast unified memory.
Designed to speed up pro video workflows dramatically, M1 Pro adds a ProRes accelerator in the media engine, delivering unbelievably fast and power-efficient video processing.
Meanwhile, the M1 Max takes things to even higher levels. Called by Apple "the world's most powerful chip for a pro notebook," the M1 Max offers the same powerful 10-core CPU as M1 Pro and doubles the GPU with up to 32 cores for up to 4x faster GPU performance than M1. It also has up to 400GB/s of memory bandwidth and 64GB of fast unified memory.
So much power
Thanks to the M1 Pro and M1 Max power, Apple has pushed battery life to all-new levels on the company's latest laptops. The 14-inch model brings up to 17 hours of video playback, while the 16-inch model gets up to 21 hours. The former is the longest battery life ever on a Mac notebook.
As long-rumored, the MacBook Pro Touch Bar is no more starting with the 2021 models. Instead, you'll find a new Magic Keyboard that's set in a double-anodized black with backlit glyphs on the keys. Instead of the Touch Bar, you'll find a full-height function row of keys. The physical function keys include a wider escape key, and you'll find a Force Touch trackpad just like on previous models.
You can order a new MacBook Pro starting today, October 18, with the first orders arriving beginning on Tuesday, October 26. The 14-inch MacBook Pro model starts at $1,999, while the 16-inch model starts at $2,499. In addition, student education discounts are available. You can place orders on the Apple website.
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