Apple reportedly plans to shake up the design of the MacBook Pro later in 2021. Sources in the company’s Asian supply chain assert that a 14-inch model is on the way, a first for Apple.
Just as importantly, it and an improved 16-inch MacBook Pro supposedly will be the first macOS notebooks with a mini-LED display, improving the look of the screen.
Quanta will assemble these devices and Radiant Opto-Electronics will make their LED backlight units, according to Digitimes.
Goodbye 13-inch and hello 14-inch MacBook Pro
Unconfirmed reports of a 14-inch MacBook Pro have been around since spring 2020, and there’ve been multiple followups.
None of the leaks mention a new 13.3-inch model. It seems this will be replaced by one with a larger display. The new devices will have an “all-new form factor design,” according to trusted Apple prognosticator Ming-Chi Kuo. There’s speculation that the 14-inch model will have very slim bezels so the chassis is about the size of the current 13.3-inch one.
Enter mini-LED screens
Both the 14-inch and the 16-inch MacBook Pro coming later in 2021 will have a mini-LED screen, according to Digitimes sources. This type employs thousands of small LEDs to provide the backlight, far more than the handful used in a standard LCD. That gives the computer much greater control over lighting, so some on-screen objects can be bright while others dim. mini-LED isn’t quite as beautiful as the OLED displays used in iPhone, but they cost less.
Apple is allegedly getting into min-LED in a big way. The 2021 iPad Pro is also expected to have this type of display when it debuts in March.
As for when the refreshed 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models will be out, no source has been able to pin down a date more accurate than sometime in the second half of 2021. The current MBP models debuted in November 2020.
Like their predecessors, the upcoming macOS devices are expected to run an Apple M-series processor. Whether that will be an improved version of the M1 or a new M2 is anyone’s guess.