Apple has announced a redesigned MacBook Pro, which now features a 14-inch display, Apple’s new M1 Pro and Max chips, a notch-and-square design, and a wider selection of ports in addition to the standard Thunderbolt ports – this brings back the HDMI port and SD card reader and adds a MagSafe 3 connector for charging (although you can charge it with the Thunderbolt ports as well if your house is littered with USB-C power bricks). It starts at $ 1,999 and can be ordered “today”.
It has a 14.2-inch 120Hz ProMotion Mini LED display, which Apple calls “Liquid Retina Pro XDR”. It has thinner bezels than the previous generation, but also includes a notch, which houses a 1080p webcam but not Apple’s Face ID system. In terms of resolution, the 14-inch model runs at 3,024 in 1964, and it can run at a sustained brightness of 1,000 nits and a peak brightness of 1,600 nits.
You can configure the 14-inch MacBook Pro with Apple’s new M1 Pro or M1 Max chips. Both can have 10 processor cores – the Pro can have a 14- or 16-core GPU, while the Max has 24- and 32-core GPU options. The new MacBook Pro comes with 16GB of standard RAM, and you can upgrade to 32GB with the M1 Pro or 64GB with the M1 Max. However, the M1 Pro included with the base $ 1,999 model is a lightweight version of the processor – it only has eight processor cores and 14 GPU cores.
The base also comes with a lower 67W power adapter – to upgrade to the ‘real’ M1 Pro with 10 processor cores and 16 GPU cores, you plan to spend at least $ 2,300 pre-tax (and this model will come with a 512 GB SSD.). There’s also the pre-built $ 2,499 model, which comes with the fully loaded M1 Pro, a 1TB SSD, and a 96W charger (although the upgraded charger is included in the base model if you configure a processor upgrade).
On top of all the new (well, back) ports, the 14in MacBook Pro adds a third Thunderbolt port over its 13in counterpart. Thunderbolt ports are now Thunderbolt 4, an upgrade from Thunderbolt 3 ports on previous models. The 14-inch also includes a “high-fidelity” speaker system and a headphone jack that supports “high-impedance” headphones, although Apple’s specifications page does not specify the corresponding ohm count.
The redesign is the first major in Apple’s business laptop lineup since 2016, the year that brought the ill-fated butterfly keyboards, Touch Bar, and Thunderbolt 3 as the standard and only port type (with the exception of ‘a headphone jack, of course). It also marks the return of the 14-inch mid-size display, which Apple hasn’t installed on a laptop since the 2005 iBook G4.
Compared to that redesign, however, Apple’s new laptops seem like an about-face – the 2016 redesign ditched ports, and now they’re back. Apple also added the Touch Bar in 2016, which was also replaced with a set of function keys. And the 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 had limitations that the 14-inch didn’t – it could only drive a single external display, where Apple says the MacBook Pro equipped with M1 Pro can drive two Pro Display XDRs, and the M1 Max version can drive three.
It’s nice to see Apple differentiating the smaller MacBook Pros more clearly. The lineup has been a bit confusing in recent years – two-port MacBook Pro computers and four-port 13-inch computers were awkwardly grouped together, but were quite different computers with different processors and price points. Now the screen size difference makes the distinction clear: People looking for portability can get the 13in Air or Pro, and the 14in Pro is there for those looking for more power.