Apple is working on two new MacBook Pro models that will feature significant design changes, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was obtained by MacRumors.
According to Kuo, Apple is developing two models in 14 and 16-inch size options. The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as “similar to the iPhone 12” with no curves like current models. It will be the most significant design update to the MacBook Pro in the last five years.
There will be no OLED Touch Bar included, with Apple instead returning to physical function keys. Kuo says the MagSafe charging connector design will be restored, though it’s not quite clear what that means as Apple has transitioned to USB-C. The refreshed MacBook Pro models will have additional ports, and Kuo says that Most people may not need to purchase dongles to supplement the available ports on the new machines. Since 2016, Apple’s MacBook Pro models have been limited to USB-C ports with no other ports available.
All of the new MacBook Pro models will feature Apple silicon chips, and there will be no Intel chip options included.
1. The two new models are equipped with about 14-inch and 16-inch displays, respectively.
2. In terms of casing design, the new models cancel the curvy design of existing models’ top and bottom parts and adopt a flat-edged form factor design similar to the iPhone 12.
3. The MagSafe charging connector design is restored.
4. The OLED touch bar is removed, and the physical function buttons are restored.
5. There is no Intel CPU option for the new models.
6. They are equipped with more types of I/O, and most users may not need to purchase additional dongles.
The MacBook Pro models will use the same heat pipe design used by the current 16-inch MacBook Pro model, which Kuo says is much better than the current 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air because it will allow for increased computing power.
Kuo says that we can expect to see the new MacBook Pro models released in the third quarter of 2021. Due to the revamped design and strong replacement demand, Kuo expects total MacBook shipments to grow significantly by 25 to 30 percent year over year to 20 million units.
Kuo also said that high-end iPhone models coming in 2021 are likely to adopt a vapor chamber thermal system, which Apple is “aggressively testing.” The VC thermal system will be required for the high-end iPhones due to their stronger computing power and faster 5G connection speeds. There are already smartphones from companies like Samsung, Razer, and LG that use vapor chamber cooling technology, which is used to keep a device cooler when it is under heavy stress.
It is unclear if the vapor chamber thermal system will meet Apple’s high requirements, according to Kuo, but he is optimistic about the reliability improvement schedule and expects at least high-end models to adopt it in the near future.