Every time I look at Apple’s first M1 Macs, all I can think about is their conservative design. They just don’t look like revolutionary computers. That changes with Apple’s new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro devices, which sport a beautiful new design alongside their upgraded M1 Pro and M1 Max chips and improved port selection.
Wait … what the heck is that? Holy crap, Apple stuck the iPhone notch on the MacBook Pro? That’s not such a big deal, if that’s what it takes to get Face ID … hold on, it doesn’t support Face ID?
As expected, the new MacBook Pro models run on upgraded M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. These puppies are crazy fast, offering 70% faster CPU performance and double (or more) the graphics performance of M1.
We went over the specifics of M1 Pro and M1 Max in a separate article, but I’ll give you the gist here. Basically, the M1 Pro has up to 10 CPU cores and 16 GPU cores, offering more speed for graphics-intensive tasks like video editing or gaming. A larger 200GBps of memory bandwidth should also help with multi-tasking, as Apple offers M1 Pro devices with up to 32GB of RAM.
For those who need crazy, outrageous performance, there’s the M1 Max. This special little chip runs a 32-core GPU for graphics performance comparable to a PC with discreet GPU … but with 70% less power usage. Apple also offers the M1 Max with up to 64GB of RAM, which is frankly insane considering how well the M1 chip runs with just 8GB of RAM.
While Intel laptops with discreet GPUs are cool and all, the new MacBook Pro models offer similar performance with much less power consumption. That means less heat, less throttling, less fan noise, and killer battery life—Apple says you’ll get 17 hours on the 14-inch model and 21 hours on the 16-inch model. And best of all, the new MacBook Pros won’t throttle GPU performance when running on battery life.
While the new MacBook Pro models don’t come in fancy new colors, they do sport a killer redesign. We’re talking about a new Mini LED display, slimmer bezels, more ports, and actual function keys. Oh, and the notch, which we’ll get to in a minute.
Most of these changes are actually a step back (in a good way). Apple fans complained about the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar, so Apple took it away with this release and replaced it with actual function keys. Interestingly, Apple also stuck a black border around the MacBook Pro’s keyboard, which should help the backlight stand out (and hide your nasty crumbs).
And instead of forcing customers to buy a stupid dongle to use SD Cards and other accessories with their laptop, Apple built a dongle into the MacBook Pro! And by that, I mean it has an HDMI port, an SD Card slot, three Thunderbolt 3 ports, a headphone jack, and a MagSafe charging connector. (You can still charge over USB-C cable.)
Under the hood, Apple improved the MacBook Pro’s thermal design, allowing 50% more air to flow through the laptop (even at low fan speeds). I’m not really sure how Apple pulled this off, because the new 16-inch MacBook Pro is just 16.8mm thick and only weighs 4.7 pounds. The 14-inch model is even slimmer at just 15.5mm thick and 3.5 pounds.
And then there’s that big, beautiful screen. Apple stuck its killer Liquid Retina XDR Mini LED display in the new MacBook Pro, dramatically increasing contrast and color. The new display tech also adds HDR and ProMotion 120Hz refresh rate support to the MacBook Pro, just as customers asked.
Oh, and Apple shrunk the MacBook Pro’s bezels down to 3.5mm, making the side borders 20% thinner and the top border 60% thinner. Unfortunately, the thinner top border means we get a webcam notch.
This is the thing that’s gonna weird people out. Apple added a webcam notch to its new MacBook Pro for seemingly no reason. It doesn’t support Face ID, and while Apple says it has “twice the resolution” of previous MacBook webcams, that’s just a sneaky way of saying it’s 1080p.
To be fair, Apple sticks a bunch of computational photography hardware alongside its webcams, which could make the notch a necessity. And as far as we can tell, the notch won’t interrupt your apps. It’s only visible when your Menu Bar is showing—if the Menu Bar is hidden, the top portion of your screen blacks out to hide the webcam.
I think that this is a silly idea, but I can see a few benefits. Like, have you ever tried to switch browser tabs in full-screen mode, only for the stupid Menu Bar to pop up and push everything down? That shouldn’t happen with the new MacBook Pro, because the Menu Bar has its own weird space in notch world.
And while the lack of Face ID is kind of stupid, you still have the Touch ID button. And would Face ID really be that useful on a laptop? Yeah, it would … oh well, maybe we’ll get it next year.
Get ready to blow your bank account. Apple has opened pre-orders for the MacBook Pro with M1 Pro and M1 Max. The 14-inch MacBook Pro starts at a whopping $1,999. And holy cow, the 16-inch model starts at $2,499 (and climbs up to $3,499 if you want that M1 Max chip).
Apple says that orders will start shipping (or will be available for in-store pickup) on October 26th, although some configurations are already back ordered. I suggest ordering yours now if you want to get it before 2022.
MacBook Pro 14-inch
The new 14-inch MacBook Pro runs a powerful M1 Pro chip, sports a killer new Liquid Retina XDR display, and offers 17 hours of battery life. Order it now starting at $1,999.
MacBook Pro 16-inch
The new 16-inch MacBook Pro runs a M1 Pro or M1 Max chip, sports the beautiful new Liquid Retina XDR display, and has a 21-hour battery life. It’s Apple most powerful laptop yet, and it starts at $2,499.