2021 MacBook Pros Rumored To See Return Of MagSafe And Axe This Controversial Feature

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When Apple introduced its first custom SoC, the M1, it was installed in three new machines: the Mac mini, the MacBook Air, and the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Over the next two years, Apple will continue to use its custom silicon in additional Macs as it completely rids itself of Intel processors and supporting chipsets.

According to venerable TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple has some big changes in store for its upcoming 2021 MacBook Pros, which should launch in the latter half of this year. For starters, the 13-inch display that has been a fixture for the entry-level MacBook Pro will grow ever so slightly to 14 inches. However, the range-topping model will remain at 16 inches.

On the design front, Kuo says that the MacBook Pros will have an "all-new design form factor" with flat edges reminiscent of the iPhone 12 family that launched in late 2020. The current MacBook Pros's are already slab-sided and angular, so maybe Kuo means that some of the soft curves along the top and bottom of the devices will be flattened out. 

Interestingly, it's being reported that MagSafe will be making a return to the MacBook Pro family, which has long been a wish for Apple laptop fans. The old MagSafe power plugs connect magnetically to the side of the MacBook Pro and quickly detach if a person where to trip over it. So, instead of your laptop being yanked to the floor in a mishap, you'd simply have a disconnected cable. MagSafe first made its return with the iPhone 12 family, so it makes sense that Apple would want to extend the goodness to its MacBook Pro (and future Mac families).

Another addition according to Kuo, and Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman who is backing up his reporting, is that the new MacBook Pros will feature additional ports. The current M1-equipped 13-inch MacBook Pro only has two USB-C ports, while even the most high-end Intel-based 16-inch MacBook Pros have just four USB-C ports. The reports don't specify whether Apple will simply add more USB-C ports or if HDMI will make a return, along with a microSD or even a full-size SD reader for photographers.

Finally, we come to one of the most controversial features of the MacBook Pro family: the Touch Bar. The Touch Bar is either a love it or hate it addition at the top of the MacBook Pro's keyboard deck, and it seems that most users fall into the latter category. Many see it as a superfluous addition and miss the dedicated function keys that were passed over to include the Touch Bar. In addition, since it provides no tactile feedback, you must look down at the OLED display to interact with it, which can slow many people down in their day-to-day work. Apple will reportedly be tossing the Touch Bar overboard and bringing back the physical keys (as you would find on the current MacBook Air).

Other changes on tap include brighter displays (although there was no confirmation if Mini LED technology will be included), and it's likely that these new MacBook Pros will be available with 12-core and higher CPUs (the current M1 SoC has an 8-core CPU). We usually take new Apple rumors with a grain of salt, but given that both Kuo and Gurman are confirming these details, we’re confident that this is close to what will be launching later this year.