Yes! Apple did it and now I’m gonna have to chop off my right arm for you guys or maybe have mercy on my soul.
Yesterday, I thought the rumor about Apple bringing a notch on the new 2021 MacBook lineup would be a serious joke but well, it is not. Let’s talk about the notch later in the post but first, let’s applaud the good things the company did right and whip them for what they missed or did wrong – if any.
First of all, the new 2021 MacBook Pros now feature the fastest silicon chipsets from the company and a better Retina XDR displays all-in-one.
In fact, there were some glorious returnees such as the MagSafe charging power connection while the Touch Bar is going to rest in peace for now which is now being replaced with a row of function keys.
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Speaking of the display, it comes with a larger resolution and a higher 120Hz refresh rate. This will make the new MacBook Pros highly suitable for gaming due to the ultra-fast chipsets, crazily-high resolution display, and high refresh rate – what else do you gamers want? RGB LED?
The MacBook Pro Comes in three variants
- 16-inch MacBook Pro
- 14-inch MacBook Pro
- 13-inch MacBook Pro
The 2021 MacBook Pro lineup comes in two variants – the 14-inch and 16-inch models both of which feature the Apple Silicon chipset. The build quality of the devices remains premium as Apple had consistently used aluminum enclosures which are thicker giving the device a sturdy look and feel.
The company also made it known that it made use of recycled materials for its products which include the aluminum materials for the enclosure.
I particularly love the look and feel of the MacBook Pro. It’s slim and would fit right well on your desk but it’s also rigid especially with the kind of materials it’s made with, you shouldn’t expect any flex when typing on the keyboard.
Apple also said the thermal design allows about 50% more airflow when compared to the previous generation especially when the fans are not really spinning.
Speaking of fans, Apple said you must have pushed the CPU to the extreme before you can hear them blowing because the chipset is really powerful and can manage whatever it is that’s being thrown at it.
The 2nd generation M1 chip
- M1 chip is used in 13-inch MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac 24-inch, and Mac Mini
- M1 Pro is used in 14-inch MacBook Pro
- M1 Max is used in 16-inch MacBook Pro
The new 2021 MacBook Pro comes in two variants. The first is a 14-inch model which features a chipset that Apple calls the M1 Pro while there is a bigger 16-inch model that uses a more powerful M1 Max chipset.
However, both M1 Pro and M1 Max are the high-end variants of the M1 chipset which will be used in the smaller 13-inch MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, 24-inch iMac, and then the Mac Mini.
This is also the 2nd generation M1 chip since Apple Silicon – which is basically the company’s transition to its own custom-made chipset instead of relying on third-party chip makers like Intel.
Even though there are so many things Apple had to say about the newly announced MacBook Pros, most of the leaks and rumors of the device were true to some point.
For example, the CPU is the same in both chips and has eight performance cores paired with two energy-efficient ones, which together offer up to 70 percent faster performance than the CPU found in the M1 SoC.
As for the GPU, the M1 Pro comes in two variants – a 14-core or a 16-core GPU while the M1 Max also comes in two variants which are 24-core and 32-core GPU.
In contrast, that’s about two times faster than the base M1 for the M1 pro while the M1 Max is about four times faster than the base M1 chip.
Another thing is the fact that both the CPU and GPU in the chipsets have about 32GB for the M1 Pro (while the M1 Max has about 64GB) of memory with a high-speed interface that can allow about 200GB per second of bandwidth on the M1 Pro or 400GB per second on the M1 Max.
This is further augmented by a faster 16-core Neural Engine that is up to 8.7 times faster than the one found in the M1.
To save you all the technical jargon, all those figures translate to “SPEED” and high efficiency.
Due to the device’s capability, it’ll be much easier for you to set up a huge and complicated number of external monitors without any issue. You can even take advantage of the hardware acceleration via the ProRes codec that lets people edit up to 30 streams of 4K ProRes video or even about 7 streams of 8K ProRes video using the Final Cut Pro video editing software.
Apple also added that working on big video editing while also doing color grading in HDR on 8K ProRes 4444 videos can be achieved easily on the device’s battery.
Now whether you’re a software designer or a software developer, you’ll be able to get about 3.7 times faster with your project especially if you develop with the Xcode software while engineers will get about 2.8 times faster computational fluid dynamics performance in NASA TetrUSS.
Display technology of the 2021 MacBook Pro
- Features Liquid Retina XDR display
- Uses Mini LED techology
- Brightness can reach 1,600 nits at its peak
Apple didn’t just make the M1 chipset better this year but also enhanced the overall capacity of the device. Also, this is the part I’ll be talking about the notch again.
But first, Apple equipped the MacBook Pros with a better display resolution by making use of Liquid Retina XDR displays that have the capacity of delivering up to 1,000 nits of sustained brightness and about 1,600 nits of peak brightness.
With those numbers, you wouldn’t have to worry about reflective lights behind you because the display brightness can easily eat it off.
Apple made use of Mini LED technology which was used on the M1 iPad Pro. All of these further helped with the thinness of the MacBook Pro and its support for ProMotion technology which enables its adaptive high refresh rate of up to 120Hz.
Apple then did the unthinkable by adding a notch to the display. While I personally think that can be accommodated due to the way macOS was designed – upper notification center just as there is on the iOS, it’s possible to simply make room for a small cut out.
But the main reason for the presence of a notch is due to the ultra-thin bezels around the display.
Well, Apple made good use of the notch on both the MacBook Pros as it houses a 1080P webcam which is expected to come with higher video quality when making Zoom calls and so forth.
It’s not news though that many people still prefer to make use of a third-party camera while others like to cover their webcam due to security reasons. That is enough to question Apple’s decision.
One thing though is the fact that Apple doesn’t like “moving parts” on its hardware. What I meant by that is that while companies like Dell are making use of motorized webcams on their laptops due to security – as mentioned above, Apple will probably just stick with its philosophy of making things simple.
Remember that the iPhone still retains the notch even in 2021 despite the fact that many companies have moved way past that. We have Asus Zenfone 7 sporting a motorized camera or even Samsung hiding a selfie camera behind the display. That is why I believe Apple doesn’t like “Moving parts” or at least wouldn’t adopt it yet.
That’s my opinion on the notch on the MacBook Pros. There is however FaceID which also explains why they took the decision.
Away from the notch and on to other cool features of the device, you get a six-speaker sound system with support for Dolby Atmos four of which are force-canceling offers that’s expected to deliver better bass output from the computer,
Returnees and ousted components
- Touch Bar is gone but there is Touch ID
- There are multiple ports finally
- Base price starts at US$1,999
So long Touch Bar! It’s now being replaced with the standard function keys as seen on Windows PCs and normal MacBooks. However, there is still a TouchID sensor on the last right key within the Function key row. It probably might get ousted in the next update as Apple might just make use of FaceID on its entire product line.
Some of the glorious comebacks include HDMI ports and an SD card slot. There are three Thunderbolt 4 ports but it would’ve been cool to have at least one USB-A port on the MacBook Pro 2021.
Even though the MagSafe 3 power connector is back and better, Apple still retained US-C ports with charging capacity. So you have multiple ways of charging your MacBook Pro.
Last but not least, we have a battery whose longevity will be affected based on what you’re doing with the computer.
For example, Apple said if you are watching videos on your 2021 14-inch MacBook Pro, you’ll get about 17-hours of use while the bigger 16-inch MacBook Pro will get you up to 16-hours doing the same thing.
But in general, what you do on the computer will impact the battery life so watch out for that. Also, the M1 chips are really efficient now and macOS is great with batteries.
As for pricing, the base model 14-inch MacBook Pro starts at US$1,999 while the larger 16-inch variant starts with a price tag of about US$2,499, and shipping is expected to start as soon as next week while running the macOS Monterey out of the box.