It is no secret that more Apple silicon Macs are on their way. For the first three models, the new versions are more or less the same as their Intel counterparts, just way faster and better. The Mac mini, MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1 all look just like the older models.
That may be changing soon, and for the better.
Juli Clover, writing at 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.
A major change to the new computers will be how they charge. Over the past five years, Apple has relied on USB-C ports for both power and data transfer on its laptops, making them compatible with other manufacturers’ chargers. But the company is now bringing back MagSafe, the magnetic power adapter that means any accidental yanking of the power cable would simply detach it from the laptop rather than pull down the entire computer. It was a favorite feature of the company’s portable PC lineup that was first introduced in 2006 and most recently revived for its latest lineup of iPhones.
The return of MagSafe with the next MacBook Pros will also allow those laptops to charge at a faster rate, the person said. The connector will be similar to the elongated pill-shape design of the older MagSafe port.
Any time I plug in a laptop with MagSafe, I get sad that Apple dropped the connector. It was just so damn clever I still can’t believe the company killed it off. But the news keeps getting better, as Gurman and Kuo both report that the Touch Bar may be removed from these new models.
People are all over the place on how they think and feel about the Touch Bar, but Apple’s lack of meaningful updates to how it interacts with macOS makes me think it hasn’t been the hit the company wanted it to be. That said, if Apple was going to fully drop the Touch Bar, the M1 MacBook Pro I am typing this one sure seems like an outlier, as it has a Touch Bar. I could see a world where it becomes optional.
Additionally, Kuo writes that these new machines — due sometime in Q3 2021 — will come with additional ports that would mean users would need fewer dongles. While this could just be more USB-C ports, the return of USB A would be welcome. I’m not holding my breath for much more.
I love that these rumors are so exciting again. 2021 is going to be a fun year to be a Mac nerd.