MacBook Pro gets insane M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, gorgeous new design

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2021 MacBook Pro with M1 Pro, M1 Max
Order yours today.
Photo: Apple

Apple Unleashed event bug The lengthy wait for a major MacBook Pro refresh is over, and boy, was it worth it. Apple’s newest flagship notebook, unveiled Monday during the company’s big “Unleashed” event, features edge-to-edge Liquid Retina displays, insane M1 Pro and M1 Max chipsets, and all-new designs that bring back some important ports and features — including MagSafe charging.

The 2021 MacBook Pro lineup also bids farewell to the controversial Touch Bar, replacing it with a slightly revamped Magic Keyboard that goes back to physical keys (now full-size) for the function row. You can order yours today, with prices starting at $1,999.

Apple unleashes its most impressive MacBook Pro to date

The MacBook Pro was one of the first machines to get an Apple Silicon chip last November, but the custom M1 chipset graced only the 13-inch model. Apple was waiting for something a little more spectacular before rolling out an even bigger refresh that would also incorporate the high-end 16-inch option.

That refresh is finally here, and it delivers everything we wanted from a MacBook Pro upgrade and more, including a refreshed form factor that no longer forces you to use USB-C for everything, better Liquid Retina Pro XDR displays with beautifully slim bezels (and notches), and most importantly, Apple’s first pro chips.

2021 MacBook Pros: Better in (almost) every way
Better in (almost) every way.
Photo: Apple

“We set out to create the world’s best pro notebook, and today we’re excited to introduce the all-new MacBook Pro with M1 Pro and M1 Max — a game-changing combination of phenomenal performance, unrivaled battery life, and groundbreaking features,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, in a press release after the event. “The all-new MacBook Pro adds a breathtaking XDR display, more ports like MagSafe 3, an advanced 1080p camera, and a sensational six-speaker sound system, all in a stunning new design. The new MacBook Pro simply has no equal and is by far the best pro notebook we’ve ever built.”

Apple’s new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips

2021 MacBook Pro M1 Max features Apple's most spectacular custom silicon to date.
Apple’s most spectacular custom silicon to date.
Photo: Apple

If you thought the M1 chip was impressive (who didn’t?) you’re going to be blown away by the M1 Pro and M1 Max. They make the M1, which already pulled down the pants of competing mobile chips, look like an outdated slouch you wouldn’t want to look twice at. They’re that good.

M1 Pro

The M1 Pro is the slightly less impressive of the two. It features up to 10 CPU cores for as much as 70% faster processing performance, up to 16 GPU cores for up to 2X faster graphics, and a 16-core Neural Engine. It also can support up to 32GB of RAM, with 200Gbps memory bandwidth, and Thunderbolt 4.

M1 Max

The M1 Max kicks almost all of that up a notch. Apple calls it the world’s most powerful pro notebook chip. It also has up to 10 CPU cores, but you can pair them with a whopping 32 GPU cores for up to 4X faster graphics. M1 Max also pushes the RAM limit to 64GB, with twice as fast 400Gbps memory bandwidth.

Gorgeous new design with Liquid Retina Pro XDR

It’s not just better on the inside, either. The 2021 MacBook Pro also gets a brand-new, slightly boxy aluminum unibody enclosure that brings back MagSafe 3 for charging (it’s now faster than ever before), HDMI connectivity for external displays, and an SD card slot. It also brings back physical function keys.

2021 MacBook Pro Magic Keyboard: The Magic Keyboard changes again
The Magic Keyboard changes again.
Photo: Apple

That’s right, the LED Touch Bar is finally dead. MacBook Pro’s new Magic Keyboard comes with full-size function keys that sit above the number row, making it easier to change things like display brightness and volume. Plus, they will let Mac users access key features like Mission Control and Spotlight more quickly and easily.

New edge-to-edge Liquid Retina Pro XDR display

MacBook Pro’s new edge-to-edge Liquid Retina Pro XDR display — available in 14.2- and 16.2-inch options, with resolutions of 3024×1964 and 3456×2224, respectively — is faster than ever before, with ProMotion technology that allows it to reach refresh rates of up to 120Hz, like iPad Pro and iPhone 13.

The only downside? That new Liquid Retina display comes with a notch, just like iPhone.

Even better sound and camera

The MacBook Pro already packed impressive speakers, but Apple says they’re even better now — as are its “studio-quality microphones.” And when you’re tackling online meetings, you can pair those with a 1080p FaceTime HD camera with a new four-elements lens and f/4.0 aperture.

2021 MacBook Pro launch: ports are back, baby!
The ports are back, baby!
Photo: Apple

Despite all these improvements, and Apple’s fastest-ever chips, battery life on the new MacBook Pro is even better than before. The 14-inch model offers up to 17 hours of video playback, while the 16-inch model tops out at a whopping 21 hours between charges.

Order yours today

The 2021 MacBook Pro lineup goes on sale today, with prices starting at $1,999 for a 14-inch machine, and $2,499 for the 16-inch model. Silver and space gray color options are available, and they start shipping next week.