The 14-inch MacBook Pro 2021 is one of the most eagerly anticipated Apple laptops in years. After Apple’s move to custom ARM-based Apple M1 CPUs in the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13-inch went far smoother than anyone could have anticipated, the next question was whether Apple could do the same for its high-end MacBook Pros.
The upcoming 14-inch MacBook Pro and its larger sibling, the 16-inch MacBook Pro, will be the answer to that question. At this stage, it would be hard to bet against Apple Silicon delivering but that's hardly the only thing the new MacBook Pros have going for them. The rumors surrounding the MacBook Pro 14-inch 2021 almost sound like wish fulfillment for MacBook Pro fans, but they are coming from multiple reliable sources that suggest it may all be true.
Here’s everything we know so far about the 14-inch MacBook Pro 2021, from pricing and availability to the design changes both inside and out.
14-inch MacBook Pro 2021 price and availability
The release date for the 14-inch MacBook Pro 2021 is expected to be sometime in the middle of the year. This is based on the claims of two of the most reliable sources in the Apple realm: the TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and Mark Gurman of Bloomberg.
Ming-Chi Kuo has placed the release date as sometime in the third quarter of 2021. For Apple, this would be July, August or September. Given past history, the earlier side of that seems more likely, but with Covid-19 still affecting supply chain timetables, it’s hard to put too much stock in the timing of previous releases.
While Gurman opted for a less defined timeframe, his projection of a “middle of the year” release offers some overlap with Kuo’s claim and adds further credence to the beginning of theQ3 time frame. We could possibly see a WWDC 2021 announcement followed by a July release.
Rumors have steered clear of pricing speculation for the 14-inch MacBook Pro 2021 so far. Given that this is an entirely new model, it is a bit difficult to project. The closest current model we have is the Intel-based MacBook Pro 13-inch with four USB-Type C ports, if this replaces that it would presumably take over its $1,799 price point.
14-inch MacBook Pro 2021 design and features
Other than the obvious resizing needed for the 14-inch display, the 14-inch MacBook Pro 2021 is allegedly going to receive a serious redesign, which would be the first significant departure to the basic Apple laptop design since 2010.
Once again, we are turning to Ming-Chi Kuo, who stated that the new MacBook Pro design is going to adopt some of the flat-edged design of the iPhone 12, iPad Pro and iPad Air (2020). There have been no actual hardware leaks to show us what that will look like, but it certainly makes sense for Apple to continue to consolidate around a single design language across its product lineups.
The visual overhaul is just part of the changes though; Apple is also rumored to be walking back a number of features introduced in the last five years. The Touch Bar is apparently on the chopping block as well, and while it has its defenders, few would argue that it has the utility Apple promised or hoped. So Apple will bring back physical function buttons.
MagSafe has also been tapped for a return to the MacBook Pro, which is not shocking with the release of MagSafe for iPhone 12, however, it's a feature many had given up on. Precise details on what this hardware will look like are unknown; it seems unlikely that it will precisely mirror the old version, but it also would be surprising if it aligned with the version used on the iPhone 12.
In keeping with the throwback theme, Apple is also said to be bringing back some of the additional ports that have been gone since at least the 2015 MacBook Pro. If you’ve been forced to turn to a USB Type-C hub for just an HDMI port or an SD card reader, you can return to a dongle-free life with the 14-inch MacBook Pro 2021.
14-inch MacBook Pro 2021 display
The display won’t be left out of the redesign fun either with Apple finally set to reduce the bezels on the MacBook Pro as it moves to brand new mini-LED backlit displays. The technology allows for significant improvements when it comes to brightness, contrast, black levels and power efficiency.
While mini-LED displays aren’t quite as impressive as OLED or microLED, they are certainly a welcome upgrade from Apple’s existing lineup. Interestingly, a recent rumor from DigiTimes suggests that Apple will move to OLED displays in the MacBook Pro in 2022, making this potentially a single-year solution, but it’s possible that move is further down the road than DigiTimes projects.
14-inch MacBook Pro 2021 specs
This should mark the next step in Apple’s transition to its own Apple Silicon, with rumors indicating the ARM-based CPU in the 14-inch MacBook Pro 2021 will be known as the Apple M1X.
Recent benchmark leaks have shown that the Apple M1X features 12 CPU cores and 16 GPU cores, a significant bump up from the already impressive Apple M1’s 8 core/8 thread configurations. With the original Apple M1 holding its own against the MacBook Pro 16-inch in some regards, it seems a given that with this performance boost it will have no problem matching, if not surpassing, its Intel-based predecessor.
14-inch MacBook Pro 2021 outlook
The 14-inch MacBook Pro 2021 has quite a lot to live up to given the reception of last year’s Apple M1-based laptops but, based on all of the rumors, it certainly looks equal to the task. While we should see more details come through as we get closer to the launch, we already know a considerable amount about this laptop.
If the leaks we have seen to date prove to be true, the 14-inch model will be virtually everything longtime MacBook Pro fans have been asking for since the 2016 redesign. That’s going to make for an amazing presentation as Apple explains its decision to reverse course on a number of choices it made five years ago. It also could make for some serious wait times once they are available as pent-up demand hits the supply problems that continue to plague much of the industry. In the meantime, we’ll continue to keep you updated here on all of the latest regarding the 14-inch MacBook Pro 2021.