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With Apple's long-awaited new MacBook Pro now available, there are early signs of what we could expect from the MacBook Pro going forward as the company iterates on its major 2021 redesign.

14-16-inch-2021-mbps-back-to-back-feature-orange.jpg

Following a major redesign year, the MacBook Pro has typically received smaller annual updates. For example, following 2016's MacBook Pro redesign, subsequent models introduced new processors, GPUs, tweaked keyboards, Bluetooth 5.0, the T2 chip, True Tone, and larger batteries.

At this early stage, there are at least four substantial upgrades on the cards for future MacBook Pro models.

Face ID

Although Apple executives recently claimed that Touch ID is more convenient on the MacBook Pro, the company is believed to have been working on Face ID for the Mac for some time. Apple purportedly originally planned to introduce Face ID for the Mac on 2021's 24-inch iMac, but the feature was apparently delayed for a later iteration of the machine.

macbook-pro-2021-notch-feature.jpg

Face ID is believed to be coming to the Mac within "a couple of years." Now that the MacBook Pro has a notch, it seems that the groundwork is in place to add a TrueDepth camera array to enable Face ID in the future.

M2 Pro and M2 Max

"M2 Pro" and "M2 Max" will presumably succeed Apple's M1 Pro and M1 Max custom silicon chips. Just as the M1 Pro and M1 Max are scaled-up versions of the M1 chip, the M2 Pro and M2 Max will likely be based on the "M2" chip.

m2-feature.jpg

The M2 chip is expected to debut in the 2022 redesigned MacBook Air. According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, the chip will have the same 8-core CPU as the ‌M1‌. It is expected to have additional GPU cores, with 9 and 10-core GPU options, up from the 7 and 8-core GPU options in the original ‌M1‌ chip. There may also be speed and efficiency improvements due to the chip being built on a smaller node.

Following the way that the M1 Pro and M1 Max built on the M1 chip, the M2 Pro and M2 Max could feature the same number of CPU cores as their predecessors, but add GPU cores and benefit from overall speed and efficiency improvements.

A recent report from The Information laid out the alleged roadmap for Apple silicon in the coming years, and explained that Apple is working on successors to the M1 Pro and M1 Max chip that feature more cores and are manufactured with an enhanced version of TSMC's 5nm process.

Further in the future, those second-generation chips will apparently be succeeded by MacBook Pro chips with up to 40 compute cores that are fabricated using TSMC's 3nm process by 2023.

OLED Displays

Apple is said to be developing two-stack OLED displays for multiple future devices, including MacBook Pro models, that are up to two-times brighter.

Oled-iPads-and-MackBook-Pro-Notch.jpg

An OLED display could come to the 16.2-inch MacBook Pro first, potentially launching as soon as 2022 according to one report. The panels may be manufactured by Samsung.

The 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models made the switch to mini-LED technology this year, so it would be unusual for Apple to change to another display technology within one iteration. Nevertheless, it seems that an OLED MacBook Pro is likely for the coming years, bringing higher brightness, improved contrast, and deeper blacks with no blooming effect.

5G Connectivity

Apple has apparently developed "underlying Mac support" for cellular connectivity, according to Gurman. While this rumor originated from a report about the next-generation MacBook Air, it seems inevitable that if the MacBook Air is set to get cellular connectivity, the feature will also come to the MacBook Pro.

Apple-5G-Modem-Feature-Triad.jpg

Apple is in the process of rolling out 5G to its cellular-enabled devices, with the iPhone 12, iPhone 13, iPad Pro, and iPad mini now offering the next-generation connectivity. Apple currently relies on Qualcomm, but the company is believed to be working on its own custom modem that is set to appear in iPhones as soon as 2023. It is not unreasonable to speculate that this custom modem could also be the basis of 5G connectivity in the MacBook Pro within a similar timeframe.

Release Date

There is as yet no sign of when we could see an updated high-end MacBook Pro launch, but mid- to late 2022 or early to mid-2023 seem like reasonable guesses.

In previous years, Apple typically updated the MacBook Pro every year. Things have not been so clear-cut in recent times, however. The 16-inch MacBook Pro was announced in November 2019, and went without an update for a year and 11 months. The previous, 13-inch high-end MacBook Pro was updated in July 2019, May 2020, and then replaced by the 14-inch model last month.

Now that the MacBook Pro features Apple silicon, it is not clear if there will be a completely different launch timetable for the MacBook Pro. It is possible that since the 2021 MacBook Pro models appeared to have been delayed for several months, an updated model could be coming within less than a year. Apple is no longer reliant on Intel to update the processors in its machines, meaning that there could be a more regular update cycle akin to the iPhone.

At the same time, the semiconductor shortage, backordered deliveries, and late-stage launch of the current model may push out the launch of a successor. The scale of the most recent redesign and the performance of the M1 Pro and M1 Max may also make the company more willing to keep the current machine around for longer.

Article Link: What Next for MacBook Pro? Four Upgrades We're Likely to See
 

Cosmosent

macrumors 68020
Apr 20, 2016
2,240
2,575
La Jolla, CA
Would like to see a 13" M2 MacBook Pro with the M2 having the DDR PHY Controller from the M1 Pro & M1 Max.

And very specifically, one priced @ $1,299 USD !
 
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julesme

macrumors 6502
Oct 14, 2016
465
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San Jose
The M2 won’t have “the same 8 core CPU as the M1.”

It should read that the chip will reportedly feature 8 cores, similar to the M1, but with expected enhancements related to a smaller node.
 
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dguisinger

macrumors 65816
Jul 25, 2002
1,037
1,908
The M2 won’t have “the same 8 core CPU as the M1.”

It should read that the chip will reportedly feature 8 cores, similar to the M1, but with expected enhancements related to a smaller node.
its not just node enhancements, they made architectural improvements as well
 

TheYayAreaLiving 🎗

macrumors demi-goddess
People have been talking about sticking a cellular modem in the Mac for well over a decade now. I'm not saying it definitely won't happen, but it just seems redundant when it's so easy to tether via your iPhone.
I'm ready - especially for the 5G modem. I've been hoping cellular would come to the Mac for years.
I don’t understand why these Mac’s would need a 5G modem? When you can easily use hotspot through your iPhone? What’s the point, it’s just a waste of money and waste of space.
 

skaertus

macrumors 601
Feb 23, 2009
4,060
1,140
Brazil
The M2 chip is quite obvious. FaceID seems very probable. As for OLED screens, I do not think so; why Apple would have bothered introducing MiniLED displays in the MacBook Pro line if it planned to switch to OLED one year later? I would say that OLED screens are coming in the next redesign (2025?), unless the competition pushes really hard here (which is possible, as laptops with OLED screens are becoming more popular). As for 5G, I suppose it should have made into the Pro line already; I am not sure if Apple will introduce it in the next version.
 

TBoneMac

macrumors regular
Nov 26, 2017
223
69
CA
I don't care how much brighter the double stacked OLED is. I'm not into it as much as LCD/Mini-LED

I really hope that the double-stacked OLED is for iphones and apple watches only. (I hope that it's super bright for outdoor use)

To be honest I'd prefer a Mini-LED iphone as well.

Does anyone else agree? Personally OLEDs just tire me out compared to an LCD. I can stare at a bright LCD all day and night and never get eye-strain.


Perhaps the double stack OLED is going to be WAAAAY brighter and so Apple is going that route for the time being. I imagine Micro-LED will eventually be the king of displays but that's probably not for another 5-10 years.

If the doublestacked OLED is a lot brighter then it would be a great option for iphones and apple watches because those are used outside in the sunlight a lot more than macbooks for example.
 

Manatee

macrumors 6502a
Oct 20, 2003
576
141
Washington DC
I look forward to built-in cellular capability, so I don't have to tether to my phone or iPad. Those connections tend to drop. Surely it wouldn't take up much space in the machine, give that it's included in the Apple Watch.

Another feature I'd like, which nobody talks about anymore, is the option of a matte screen. Remember when matte was the default screen? I find the reflective glossy screen annoying.

Those "wants" aside, I'm loving my new 14" MacBook Pro.
 

TBoneMac

macrumors regular
Nov 26, 2017
223
69
CA
Sorry but Micro LED is the future not OLED.
Yes please! (but probably not in the 2022 macbook pros quite yet! Maybe like 2025-2030 I am thinking! and probably the apple watch will get it first or possibly the iphone because that would be a big selling point, the first MicroLED product for most consumers being an iphone would be iconic)
 

xpxp2002

macrumors 6502a
May 3, 2016
623
1,065
unless they have major advancements in OLED, I really don't want that as an "upgrade".....
Agreed. I saw that and all I could think was, "great, another display that's going to give me headaches all day."

The LCDs that they used in iPhones were great. The LCDs that they still use in MacBooks are excellent. And all I hear is OLED is more expensive. Between the cost, eye strain, and headaches, and the quality of Apple's IPS LCDs; I don't see any benefit to OLED that's worth transitioning from LCD.
 

Gherkin

macrumors 6502a
Apr 9, 2004
592
221
Scraping the bottom of the barrel if the big thing people want is... the M2 chip.

Really going to be a long time now before we get a new laptop from Apple as anticipated as the 14/16" M1 Pro/Max was.

Even though the notch doesn't bother me (I used Top Notch at first but decided to just live with it), some kind of behind the screen camera tech could be cool. Other than that, this thing really is pretty much perfect.
 
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