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These groundbreaking MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models could arrive this year

(Image credit: Future)

Apple will release a MacBook Air along with three MacBook Pro models with 13.3-inch, 14-inch and 16-inch screen sizes by the end of next year, according to leading Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. These four models will compromise the first lineup of MacBooks to use Apple's new ARM-based chips. 

First reported by 9to5Mac, Kuo's research note claims a new 13-inch MacBook Pro will hit mass production in Q4 of this year. Previous rumors suggested Apple silicon would first arrive in the MacBook Pro, however, Kuo now says the Pro will be accompanied by a new MacBook Air, which will arrive at the end of this year or the start of 2021.

In the second or third quarter of 2021, Apple will release a new 14-inch MacBook Pro alongside a refreshed 16-inch model, Kuo predicts. These two notebooks will reportedly be the first to flaunt miniLED displays, which are expected to deliver many of the same benefits as OLED but without the risk of burn-in.

If his predictions are accurate, Apple will take a conservative approach with the first set of laptops to feature in-house processors. Previous reports claimed the company would combine the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air into a single product called The MacBook or The New MacBook. J Glenn Kunzler at Sonny Dickson, citing unnamed sources, said the Air and Pro would be too similar using the same CPU, so there would be no point for Apple to offer them both.

Apple could eventually consolidate its 13-inch laptops, but it sounds like that won't happen right out of the gate. All we've heard from Apple thus far is that an unnamed MacBook running on custom silicon would arrive later in the year and that the transition from Intel chips to ARM-based processors would take two years.