2021 MacBook Pro will ditch the Touch Bar and bring back MagSafe, say reports

Apple is planning a major MacBook Pro redesign for the third quarter of 2021, according to a research note written by TF International Securities analyst Ming-chi Kuo and reported on by MacRumors, 9to5Mac, and Apple Insider. Kuo calls it the first major redesign of the MacBook Pro since the introduction of the current generation in 2016. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has followed up with a report corroborating many of the same details.

The new MacBook Pro is said to have squared-off sides like the iPad Pro and the iPhone 12; the current laptop already has sharp edges, but it sounds like the top and bottom panels are going to be flatter than before as well. The new model will reportedly come in 14-inch and 16-inch sizes both featuring Apple-designed Arm processors, with no Intel options. Kuo says the laptops will use a similar heat pipe system to the current 16-inch MacBook Pro, giving more thermal headroom and enabling higher performance. Bloomberg reports that the new models will have “brighter, higher contrast” displays.

Perhaps most notably, Kuo believes the new Pro laptops will backtrack on some of the controversial changes Apple made with the current generation. The OLED Touch Bar, for example, is said to have been replaced altogether by physical function keys. Kuo also says that there’ll be a wider range of ports reducing the need for dongles, though he doesn’t get specific. And a MagSafe magnetic charging connector is also set to return. (It’s not clear whether it’ll have anything in common with the new MagSafe accessory system for the iPhone 12.)

A new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Apple’s M1 processor was just released in November, but that model otherwise had near-identical hardware to the existing Intel version. If Kuo is to be believed — and his track record suggests that he is — the next models could be a huge improvement.

Update, Jan 15th, 2.45PM: Added mention of Bloomberg’s subsequent report.

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