For many years, Apple was accused of neglecting its Mac users in favor of its iPhone roster. That is no longer the case, and 2021 could be a bumper year for Mac fans, with several Apple computers due for updates, redesigns, and overhauls.
With a spring event scheduled for sometime in March, we could see some of these products get launched soon. Whether it’s a new MacBook or iMac, here are all the new Macs rumored to launch in 2021.
The MacBook Pro 14 leads the way
Of all the Macs said to launch this year, the MacBook Pro 14 has had by far the most attention. That is because this is no ordinary product launch — it is the complete overhaul of the MacBook Pro 13, something that will reimagine the laptop in a huge number of ways.
For starters, there is the chassis. This is expected to feature a more squared-off design, much like the iPad Pro. And as the name suggests, the display is set to increase from 13 inches diagonally to 14. This will be achieved by slimming down the bezels in a similar fashion to when Apple revamped the MacBook Pro 15 and transformed it into the MacBook Pro 16. But the size is not the only thing about the screen that is changing — it is also set to feature Mini-LED technology. This crams up to 10,000 LEDs into the screen, vastly improving contrast and brightness.
Elsewhere, do not expect to see the Touch Bar make an appearance — that is getting ditched, according to several reports. Out goes the OLED touch strip, in comes more port variety (including an SD card slot and HDMI port), and the return of an old favorite in the MagSafe charging port. While USB-C charging has its benefits, MagSafe will undoubtedly be well-received among Mac fans.
Well-connected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has posited the MacBook Pro 14 will launch in the second half of 2021, so we expect to see it around October or November, when Apple often launches new MacBook models. The starting price is likely to stay at the current $1,299, following Apple’s recent trend of keeping the same price despite offering new features and upgrades.
A smaller update for the MacBook Pro 16
The MacBook Pro 16 has not received much attention of late, probably because most of the limelight has been hogged by its smaller sibling. It was last updated in December of 2019. That does not necessarily mean nothing will change with the larger laptop this year, though.
For one thing, it is a dead cert that Apple will outfit the MacBook Pro 16 with new Apple Silicon processors. These will likely be a step up from the M1 currently in the MacBook Pro 13, as the larger MacBook Pro is seen as Apple’s powerhouse laptop. We know Apple is working on chips with 16 high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores. If those are not ready for this year, the MacBook Pro 16 may come with eight or 12 high-performance cores. Either way, it will be a huge step up in power given the already impressive performance of the M1.
We could also see a return of MagSafe and greater port variety to keep it in line with the MacBook Pro 14. Do not expect much else to change, though, as the MacBook Pro 16 itself was a major redesign, featuring slimline bezels, a new keyboard, and a better cooling system. Speaking of which, the improved thermal architecture may not be necessary given how incredibly efficient Apple’s own chips are. The company may decide to replace it with a simpler system, which may in turn allow it to thin down the chassis. We have no confirmation of this, however, so take it as speculation for now.
One thing to look out for is the introduction of Mini-LED panels in the display. If the MacBook Pro 14 is going to get them, it makes sense that Apple’s top-end laptop would get the same treatment. Regardless of whether that comes to pass, the MacBook Pro 16 could well launch at the same time as its 14-inch sibling.
The MacBook Air gets even thinner
Like the MacBook Pro 13, the MacBook Air received no outward upgrades when it was kitted out with the M1 chip in 2020. On the inside, though, things were different, as the fan was removed, allowing for totally silent operation.
This year could be vastly different, though. According to reliable reporter Mark Gurman, Apple is planning a wide-ranging overhaul that would rival the MacBook Pro 14 in scope. Gurman believes the company is working on making the MacBook Air “thinner and lighter,” potentially by cutting the display bezels (but keeping the same 13-inch screen).
Like the MacBook Pro, MagSafe is due to return, paired with two USB 4 ports. This version will be marketed as a high-end edition of the MacBook Air, while the current model will be kept as an entry-level option, likely with the same $999 price. Gurman asserts Apple considered adding a 15-inch version of the MacBook Air, but that this will now be held back for a later update.
The MacBook Air upgrade will arrive in the second half of 2021 at the earliest, or early 2022 failing that. Given it is set to be a high-end option, it could replace the current $1,249 model.
The first iMac redesign in a decade
The iMac’s design is truly iconic, yet even the classics can start to wear a little thin. Luckily, Apple is planning its first major redesign of its desktop all-in-one in nearly a decade, with the curved back being replaced by a flat chassis, much like the MacBook Pro 14.
As we said in our review, the current iMac’s bezels are “absolutely massive” and wildly out of place in 2021. Thankfully, that is going to change, with the bezels brought down to size and the chin lopped off entirely, making the iMac resemble Apple’s Pro Display XDR from the front. A new 23- to 24-inch iMac is reportedly in the works, and we would expect this to replace the current 21.5-inch version with a version with thinner bezels (although this is not yet certain).
Like most new Macs coming out this year, the updated iMac will almost certainly come with an Apple Silicon processor inside. Mark Gurman has said Apple is working on 32-core chips for high-end desktop Macs, although this might be limited to the iMac Pro and Mac Pro instead of the regular iMac.
Elsewhere, Face ID is finally on the way to the iMac, but not until 2022, according to reports. This year’s model, though, could come in multiple bright colors to add a dose of nostalgia for the original iMac from 1998.
We do not know for certain when the 2021 iMac will launch, but it might be as early as this spring. Keep your eyes peeled.
A new, half-size Mac Pro
The final piece of the puzzle could be something completely new: A half-size Mac Pro. When it launched in 2019, the overhauled Mac Pro was a hugely powerful machine, but it was also huge in other ways, taking up gobs of space on your desk. Now, though, it seems Apple is working on a pint-sized version.
According to leaker Jon Prosser, it will look like “three to four Mac Minis stacked on top of each other” and be powered by an Apple Silicon chip. This backs up an earlier report from Mark Gurman, who likened the design to the Power Mac G4 Cube, which sounds broadly similar to Prosser’s assertion.
There is no timeline for this Mac yet, so it is possible it will not make an appearance before the end of the year. Apple is allegedly also working on a full-size successor to the 2019 Mac Pro that will continue to use Intel processors, although this too lacks a firm release date.
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