MacBook Pro & MacBook Air Rumors: MagSafe chargers, Ports Galore & an Apple M1X Chip?

There have been rumors circulating about new MacBook Pros for a while now. Many of us were disappointed to see that they were not among the many announcements made at WWDC 2021. So, what can we expect from the new MacBook Pros? Will they be announced at the upcoming Apple event on September 14, 2021? And what about a new MacBook Air? Let’s dive into the rumors.

Bigger Screens, Sharper Angles

Currently, MacBook Pros are offered in 13-inch and 16-inch varieties. Rumor has it that the next generation with replace the 13-inch model with the new, 14-inch MacBook Pro, with the bigger screen perhaps accommodated by reductions in the top and size bezels rather than a larger case, according to a MacRumors report referencing the predictions of Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman and TF International Securities Analyst and popular Apple leaker Ming-Chu Kuo.

Kuo also claims that the new MacBook Pros will follow in the iPhone 12’s footsteps, as far as design goes, eschewing the curved edges of the current models for a flatter, more angular look.

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Mini-LED Display

Apple’s new mini-LED displays debuted this year in the new iPad Pro, and we will see mini-LED again in the next generation of MacBook Pros, says Digitimes. As we reported concerning the 2021 iPad Pro, the upgrade to mini-LED from Retina display will enhance contrast, increase brightness, and boost power efficiency. The shortage of mini-LED components may have contributed to the delayed release of the new MacBook Pros, according to another Digitimes report.

Return of the Ports

I, for one, am the most excited about the rumored return of an HDMI port and SD card slot. According to MacRumors, Kuo predicts the next MacBook Pros will come equipped with an HDMI port, and Gurman speculates the SD card slot will make a comeback as well. The last generation of MacBooks to include an HDMI port was the 2015 MacBook Pro, and in general the trend for Apple products has seemed to be removing as many ports as possible. There are even rumors that the iPhone 13 may not even include the Lightning port! The MacBook Pro bringing back ports is a big departure from this trend and an exciting one, for those of us not yet on the fully wireless wagon.

Hello to MagSafe, Goodbye to the Touch Bar

Ports aren’t the only old friends rumored to be returning with the next generation of MacBook Pros. As with the 2021 MacBook Air, everyone is abuzz with rumors that the new MacBook Pro charger will be a MagSafe charger, which will be familiar to you if you had a MacBook prior to the release of the 2016 MacBook Pro. The magnetic chargers will replace the USB-C charging cables MacBooks currently use. AppleInsider cites a report from Ming-Chi Kuo that not only predicts the return of MagSafe chargers, but the departure of the Touch Bar in favor of physical function keys. The OLED Touch Bar has been with the MacBook Pro since 2016 but has not been as widely popular as Apple desired, and the return of physical function keys seems unlikely to be too controversial.

The Next-Generation Chip

While many features of the next MacBook Pro seem to return to old standards, one area in which progress marches on may be in the chips. Eagle-eyed observer Max Balzer noticed an "m1x macbook pro" tag in the metadata for Apple's June 7 WWDC keynote, stoking both excitement and skeptical takes wondering if Apple was just trying to capitalize on the rumors to gin up views for its keynote. Gurman claims the new MacBook Pros will feature improved M1 chips, with a 10-core CPU, eight of them high performance and two energy efficient. Users will be able to choose between 16-core and 32-core GPU options. The maximum supported RAM will increase as well, from one gigabyte to 64 GB.

The next MacBook Air, according to Bloomberg, will include a "direct successor" to the M1 chip currently used in the Air. The M1's successor (codenamed "Staten") will run faster and will also feature an increased number of graphics cores.

Webcam Upgrade

Both MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs currently lag behind the 24-inch iMac, still relying on a 720p webcam compared to the 24-inch iMac's 1080p camera. But soon, all computers in the Mac lineup will get upgrades to the 1080p camera, according to leaker DylanDKT, who correctly predicted the iPad Pro's move to Apple's M1 processor.

Colors of the Rainbow for the MacBook Air

According to an investor note from Ming-Chi Kuo obtained by MacRumors, the MacBook Air will be following in the footsteps of the new iMac and come in a variety of different colors. This rumor has been circulating for a while among other Apple leakers, including Bloomberg's Gurman and Jon Prosser.

When Can We Expect New MacBook Pros and the New MacBook Air?

While previous forecasts called for the announcement of new MacBook Pros as far back as last year, continued supply-chain problems related to the mini-LED display may stall the new MacBook Pros’ release even longer, according to DigiTimes. But the wait may soon be over: Kuo speculates a likely release date in the third quarter of 2021, and now, Yahoo News reports that in his Power On newsletter, Gurman claims the new MacBook Pro will be released in an October or November 2021 Apple event.

As for the MacBook Air, it too may suffer from COVID-related delays. Gurman predicts the new MacBook Air may arrive in either the second half of 2021 or the top of 2022, while Kuo predicts a mid-2022 debut. Might we see an announcement for a new MacBook Pro and/or a MacBook Air at the Apple event on September 14, 2021? It's possible, but we'll just have to wait and see.

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Author Details

Elisabeth Garry's picture

Author Details

Elisabeth Garry

Elisabeth Garry is an Associate Editor for iPhone Life. Formerly of Gartner and Software Advice, they have six years of experience writing about technology for everyday users, specializing in iPhones, HomePods, and Apple TV. As a former college writing instructor, they are passionate about effective, accessible communication, which is perhaps why they love helping readers master the strongest communication tools they have available: their iPhones. They have a degree in Russian Literature and Language from Reed College.

When they’re not writing for iPhone Life, they’re reading about maritime disasters, writing fiction, rock climbing, or walking their adorable dog, Moosh.