After months of leaks and rumours, Apple has finally lifted the lid on the new MacBook Pro range - and it’s a big one. As well as boosting the 13in model to 14in while shrinking the bezels and increasing the pixel density of the display, the new 14in and 16in models of MacBook Pro feature a number of returning favourites including an increase in ports - including the return of MagSafe - and physical function keys in place of the Touch Bar.
Of course, there’s also the M1 Pro and M1 Max, Apple’s two top-end processors powering the high-end experience on offer from Apple’s Pro-level laptops, with Apple teasing industry-leading performance even when not connected to a power supply.
Here’s all you need to know about the redesigned 14in and 16in MacBook Pro, including pricing and the key new highlights of the range.
When was the MacBook Pro (2021) range released?
The new MacBook Pro range went up for pre-order on 18 October 2021, with shipping beginning a week later on 25 October 2021.
How much does the redesigned MacBook Pro range cost?
The new MacBook Pro range isn’t replacing the M1-based models, meaning they cost more than the entry-level £1,299/$1,299. In fact, the new range starts at £1,899/$1,999 for the MacBook Pro 14 with M1 Pro, going up to £2,399/$2,499 for the 16in model with M1 Pro and a whopping £3,299/$3,499 for a 16in model with M1 Max.
Here’s pricing for the new range - but keep in mind that any customisation you do at checkout will have a knock-on effect on final pricing.
- MacBook Pro 14 (M1 Pro 8-core CPU, 14-core GPU, 16GB memory, 512GB storage) - £1,899 / $1,999
- MacBook Pro 14 (M1 Pro 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU, 16GB memory, 1TB storage) - £2,399 / $2,499
- MacBook Pro 16 (M1 Pro 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU, 16GB memory, 512GB storage) - £2,399 / $2,499
- MacBook Pro 16 (M1 Pro 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU, 16GB memory, 1TB storage) - £2,599 / $2,699
- MacBook Pro 16 (M1 Max 10-core CPU, 32-core GPU, 32GB memory, 1TB storage) - £3,299 / $3,499
If you're interested, we cover where to buy the new MacBook Pro (2021) in more detail separately.
What’s new with the MacBook Pro (2021) range?
The new MacBook Pro range is available in two forms - 16.2in, as with the previous model, and an all-new 14.2in model replacing the older 13in model. Both sport the same design, features and specs, with the only key difference being the size of the display itself. With that being said, what’s new with the MacBook Pro range?
Upgraded display technology
Let’s start with those displays; as well as a jump from 13- to 14.2in, both the 14 and 16in MacBook Pro sport the same upgraded Liquid Retina XDR display, featuring a higher pixel density for an improved viewing experience - even the 14in model has more pixels than the previous-gen 16in MacBook Pro - powered by the same Mini LED tech as the high-end iPad Pro range.
It’s not the only similarity the MacBook Pro range shares with the iPad Pro, with the new laptop range featuring Apple’s ProMotion tech for the first time. This allows the display to dynamically adjust its refresh rate up to 120Hz, allowing it to step down when the screen is stationary and bump it up when motion is displayed, providing a buttery-smooth experience that doesn’t impact on overall battery life.
Throw in HDR support, a peak brightness of 1600nits and slimmer bezels - up to 60% on the top bezel - and you’ve got a stellar laptop display that should beat much of the competition.
It’s not a completely uninterrupted display though; there’s also an iPhone-esque notch at the top of the display, and while it houses facial recognition tech on the smartphone, it doesn’t on the MacBook Pro.
Instead, it hides Apple’s True Tone technology and a new 1080p FaceTime HD designed to boost low-light performance by up to 2x, which when combined with the new 3-mic array, should provide a much better video calling experience.
Return to the old ways
One of the big criticisms of Apple’s Pro laptop range over the years has been its lack of ports; arguably Pro users more than anyone needs access to a vast array of ports to connect various cameras and other tech to the laptop, and Apple finally rectified this with the new MacBook Pro.
As well as four Thunderbolt 4 ports, you’ll find a full-size HDMI port, a 3.5mm headphone jack with support for high-impedance headphones and even an SD card slot for photographers and videographers.
The most exciting addition for many will be the return of Apple’s MagSafe technology.
The charging system, which connects via magnets, was loved by many Apple fans as it’d stop their expensive MacBooks from falling on the floor if (or let’s be honest, when) they trip up on their charging cable. It’s back in the form of MagSafe 3, complete with magnetic connectivity, a charging LED and support for fast charging speeds too.
In fact, the MagSafe charger can provide around 50% charge in as little as 30 minutes according to Apple.
In a similar move, Apple has ditched the Touch Bar - a digital display that would change depending on the app you’re using - for traditional function keys, and it gave the keyboard well a lick of paint too, with an all-black look this time around.
M1 Pro and M1 Max
Of course, the main purpose of a Pro-level MacBook is to provide pro-level performance for video editors, graphic designers, animators and other creatives. To do that, it has introduced not one but two new Apple Silicon-based chipsets; the M1 Pro and M1 Max, available on both the 14 and 16in models.
The headline features of the M1 Pro are impressive, boasting up to 2x the GPU performance of the M1, with a 70% faster CPU too, allowing for multi-stream ProRes video editing at up to 8K on the go.
As with the previous M1, the M1 Pro is available in a handful of configurations on the MacBook Pro, from an 8-core/14-core combination to a more powerful 10-core/16-core duo, so performance will depend on the model you opt for.
Those that need even more power can opt for the M1 Max, offering the same 10-core CPU as the M1 Pro but with a boosted 32-core GPU for 4x the performance of that of the M1.
It's also tailored to video editing, with 2 video encode engines and 2 ProRes encode/decode engines. That’s backed up by up to 64GB of unified memory ideal for high-power graphics tasks.
The M1 Pro and M1 Max can power more displays than the single external display offered by the M1 too, with the M1 Pro able to connect to two Pro Display XDR monitors, while the M1 Max can connect to three and an additional 4K TV for ultimate flexibility.
The improved power efficiency of the Apple Silicon chips has had a knock-on effect on battery life too, with Apple claiming that the 14in model can last up to 17 hours on a single charge while the 16in model can go up to an impressive 21 hours, the longest of any MacBook to date.
We recently discussed the new MacBook Pro range - and other announcements from Apple's October event - during Fast Charge 88. Check out the video podcast below: