Computing

New MacBooks will get ‘Pro Mode’ to boost performance, leak suggests

In recent years, Apple has gone all-in on the “Pro” tag to convince its more demanding users that it still cares about them. We’ve seen the iMac Pro, a revamped MacBook Pro 16 and, most recently, the all-new Mac Pro. After that onslaught of pro-level hardware goodness, it now looks like Apple is aiming to improve things on the software side too.

According to 9to5Mac, the latest MacOS Catalina beta (version 10.15.3) contains references to a “Pro Mode” that could potentially boost the performance of the machine it’s running on. The clues were discovered within code for the latest beta, although there’s been no official announcement of such a feature so far from Apple.

The code snippets revealed by 9to5Mac contain mentions of the expected results of enabling Pro Mode. For example, one line explains: “Apps may run faster, but battery life may decrease and fan noise may increase.” There is also a mention of “Fan speed limit overridden.”

Like other MacOS features such as Do Not Disturb and Night Shift, it appears that Pro Mode can be automatically disabled after a certain time period — in this case, it can be set to turn itself off the next day.

Apple has long prided itself on making performance computers that run almost silently. The indication that Pro Mode will override normal fan speed limits suggests that Apple is finally willing to compromise on this requirement in order to get more performance out of its machines.

There are no details yet regarding how much of a performance increase Pro Mode will allow, though. 9to5Mac claims it has found evidence that it will only with MacBooks, and then only with models that use latest thermal design as found in the MacBook Pro 16 (although if the outlet has indeed found such evidence, it hasn’t shared it). This implies that the performance increase could be substantial if it requires the much-improved cooling architecture of the MacBook Pro 16.

Recent leaks have suggested that Apple is working on a new MacBook Pro that will share the 16-inch model’s Magic Keyboard and thermal architecture. This upcoming model will likely be a 13-inch MacBook Pro, and could make an appearance in a few months’ time — perhaps in March, when Apple often releases new MacBooks. If that’s the case, Apple could well decide to launch Pro Mode at the same time as this new MacBook Pro.

Only time will tell, but pro-level MacBook fans could be about to get even more performance out of their treasured devices.

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