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The next MacBook Pro’s most exciting feature may have been delayed until 2022

Originally planned for a 2021 launch, Apple’s completely redesigned MacBook Pros may be delayed until 2022. The notebooks are expected to debut new mini-LED display technology in a 14- and 16-inch form factor and come with refreshed Apple silicon under the hood, according to recent unconfirmed reports.

Now, according to DigiTimes, a Taiwanese publication with a mixed track record for predicting Apple rumors, the mini-LED MacBook series will be postponed to 2022, MacRumors reported, citing paywalled content from the publication. Details about the cause for the delay weren’t provided by either news outlet, and there’s speculation that Apple may have encountered some manufacturing challenges for the new display technology in its notebooks.

When Apple had transitioned to its own silicon, the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini that launched in late 2020 continued to use existing designs from the prior-generation Intel-based models. It was expected that Apple was saving a major design overhaul for its second-generation models launching with refreshed Apple-made processors, and those models had been widely anticipated to arrive in late 2021.

In addition to new screen sizes — it appears that the 13-inch MacBook Pro may be canned in favor of a 14-inch option that has been a popular choice on business-class Windows laptops, like Lenovo’s slim ThinkPad X1 Carbon — and display technology, the MacBook Pro could introduce big changes to Apple’s laptop designs. Previously, it was reported that the Mac maker may be scrapping its controversial Touch Bar in favor of a more conventional keyboard design, reintroducing an SD card reader that’s widely been requested by creatives working in filmmaking and photography, and potentially bringing back MagSafe in some form, like the recently introduced M1-powered iMac all-in-one desktop. While Apple had introduced bold new color options on its iMac, we don’t expect the playful hues to make their way to Apple’s pro-grade laptops.

Prior to the publication of the DigiTimes report, Japanese newspaper Nikkei Asia had previously reported that mass production of the two MacBook models had been delayed from a start date of May or June of this year until the second half of 2021. If accurate, manufacturing delays could be the culprit that DigiTimes relied upon for its reporting.

apple ipad pro m1 liquid retina xdr

If these reports are accurate, it’s unclear if Apple will introduce a MacBook Pro refresh later this year prior to unveiling a new design next year. If new models with refreshed silicon are still on Apple’s road map, the company could, once again, bring an M2 processor to the same design used on its most recent Intel-based laptops. While the M1 processor brought significant performance improvements to the processor and integrated GPU while delivering strong battery life on Mac notebooks, the M2 processor is expected to be even more powerful.

Apple’s M1 silicon is also currently found on the company’s latest iPad Pro models, which recently debuted alongside the entirely redesigned iMac. The new 12.9-inch iPad Pro uses a new mini-LED backlighting technology for its display, which brought some of the best features of Apple’s $6,000 Pro Display XDR monitor to a portable form factor. The company calls the tablet screen tech Liquid Retina XDR display, and it comes with 10,000 mini LEDs for even backlighting on an HDR- and Dolby Vision-compatible screen that can reach 1,600 nits of peak brightness.

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Chuong Nguyen
Silicon Valley-based technology reporter and Giants baseball fan who splits his time between Northern California and Southern…
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