Buyer’s Guide: Don't Buy a MacBook Pro Now

New MacBook Pro models are expected to arrive later this year with some of the biggest improvements to the product line to date, including some surprising changes, so now is not the best time to buy a new MacBook Pro.

Flat 2021 MacBook Pro Mockup Feature 1

With major upgrades expected to key features such as the chipset, display, Touch Bar, charging, ports, and design, customers eyeing a new MacBook Pro may be better off waiting for updated models to arrive later this year.

Most of the reliable rumors surrounding the new MacBook Pros are sourced from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who have established reputations for providing accurate insights into Apple's plans. Based on their reports, the 2021 MacBook Pro lineup is currently expected to feature:

  • New 14-inch model in place of current 13.3-inch model, facilitated by reduced bezels.
  • New, flatter design, said to be "similar to the iPhone 12."
  • More powerful next-generation Apple Silicon chips with up to 16 power cores and four efficiency cores instead of Intel processors.
  • Potentially a custom ‌Apple Silicon‌ GPU with 16 or 32-cores.
  • Updated thermal design for the 14-inch model, currently used by the existing 16-inch MacBook Pro, with a larger heat pipe, added thermal pads, and a 35 percent larger heat sink.
  • "Brighter, higher-contrast" display panels, with the possibility of a mini-LED option.
  • Additional ports to reduce need for dongles, including an SD card reader and an HDMI port.
  • MagSafe connector with faster charging speeds.
  • No Touch Bar, with physical function key row instead.

Design Changes

The 2021 MacBook Pros are expected to come in 14 and 16-inch sizes, with the new 14-inch model replacing the current 13.3-inch model. It is likely that the 14-inch MacBook Pro will retain a very similar footprint to the 13.3-inch model by reducing the bezels around the screen.

iphone12truedepth

Both models are expected to receive a flat-edged design that is "similar to the ‌iPhone 12‌." While it is possible that the overall look may still be quite similar to current models as Gurman suggests, Kuo says that Apple will eliminate the slight curvature on the top and the bottom, resulting in a slimmer, flatter appearance.

Internal Upgrades

Following the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro, which gained an ‌M1‌ chip in November last year, all 2021 MacBook Pro models are expected to sport ‌Apple Silicon‌ chips, with Intel processors being phased out entirely, to deliver significantly better performance and power efficiency.

new m1 chip

The higher-end MacBook Pro models are highly likely to feature ‌Apple Silicon‌ chips that are more powerful than the ‌M1‌, and Apple is believed to be developing options with as many as 16 power cores and four efficiency cores. Apple is also working on custom GPU technology with 16 and 32-core options, which may be used in the new MacBook Pros.

The 14-inch MacBook Pro is believed to adopt the improved thermals of the current 16-inch MacBook Pro model, with a larger heat pipe, added thermal pads, and a 35 percent larger heat sink. This would likely increase the machine's performance potential and allow it to run at cooler temperatures.

Display Improvements

The MacBook Pro is expected to receive a "brighter, higher-contrast" display panel. In addition, there have been multiple suggestions that the updated machines will be the first Macs to feature mini-LED displays, marking a significant improvement in display quality, with an improved wide color gamut, higher contrast and dynamic range, and truer blacks.

Restored Features

Apple is also expected to backtrack on several of its controversial design decisions that were first made with the 2016 MacBook Pro. For example, the 2021 models will reportedly gain more ports to reduce the need for dongles. Prior models from 2012 to 2015 included a ‌‌MagSafe‌‌ connector, Thunderbolt ports, USB-A ports, an HDMI port, an SD card reader, and a 3.5mm headphone jack, before being reduced to just four USB-C ports and a headphone jack in 2016.

2021 mbp sd slot feature2

Likely in addition to its current selection of USB-C ports, Gurman has said that the SD card reader will be among the restored features. Kuo has since supported this, saying that the SD card reader will be returning, alongside an HDMI port.

‌MagSafe‌ charging is also expected to return to the MacBook Pro this year. ‌‌MagSafe‌‌ connectors were used for MacBook Pro models from 2006, allowing users to easily connect and disconnect the power cable with magnets, before eliminating the feature for USB-C charging alone in 2016.

MagSafe 2021 MacBook Pro Mockup Feature

Both Kuo and Gurman expect the new MacBook Pro models to be equipped with a ‌‌MagSafe‌‌ connector for charging, which is also expected to achieve faster charging speeds than via USB-C.

Finally, Apple is looking to remove the Touch Bar and restore the physical function key row. Apple introduced the Touch Bar on the 2016 MacBook Pros, providing a small OLED touchscreen strip along the top of the keyboard to offer customizable controls and different functions on a per-app basis, but the Touch Bar never seemed to catch on with consumers.

touch bar close up

Gurman has confirmed that Apple has tested versions of the MacBook Pro that do not have a Touch Bar, and Kuo has gone one step further, saying that the Touch Bar will be removed entirely on the 2021 MacBook Pro models, to be replaced by physical function keys.

What About the M1 MacBook Pro or Air?

In November last year, Apple revealed a 13-inch MacBook Pro with an ‌M1‌ ‌Apple Silicon‌ chip, so some customers may feel compelled to buy this fairly new MacBook Pro now. However, it is important to note that this model is the lower-end MacBook Pro, indicated by the fact that it has only two Thunderbolt ports. Apple still offers high-end four-port MacBook Pros with Intel processors, and it is these more powerful machines that are expected to be updated this year.

The ‌M1‌ MacBook Air is very similar to the ‌M1‌ MacBook Pro in both features and performance so should be considered if you are looking to buy a machine right now.

Release Date

Multiple sources have placed the new MacBook Pro's launch timeframe in the second half of 2021, with Kuo zoning in on the third quarter of 2021. This means that we could see the updated MacBook Pros arrive as soon as July.

MacBook Pro customers can therefore expect to have to wait just five to seven months for the new models. Considering the scale of the update, which looks to drastically affect almost every aspect of the MacBook Pro, it certainly seems to be worth the wait.

We have more on the current MacBook Pro models and the upcoming redesigned MacBook Pro models in our dedicated 13-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro roundups.

Related Forum: MacBook Pro

Top Rated Comments

Zen_Arcade Avatar
13 months ago
Still, if you need one now, buy one now.

If not, wait.

Same advice as always.
Score: 55 Votes (Like | Disagree)
baryon Avatar
13 months ago
Apple's strategy:

* Design good feature, sell it for a high price
* Remove the feature, increase the price
* Re-add the feature, increase the price
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
arn Avatar
13 months ago

Writing a "buyer's guide' predicated on nothin more than rumor, is irresponsible, in my opinion. That kind of reporting doesn't save people money.

That’s the whole premise of https://buyersguide.macrumors.com/
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
arn Avatar
13 months ago

I get this site is rumor based and I have no problem with that. I do have a problem with misleading clickbait reporting that doesn't actually accomplish the stated goal.


I stand by this advice. There is no reason to buy a MacBook Pro right now. This is the advice I’d give to my family and friends.

The 13” MacBook Air is cheaper and functionally the same as the 13” MBP. And if you need more performance, you should wait.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
arn Avatar
13 months ago

The low end 13 inch M1 MacBook Pro is the perfect consumer notebook in my opinion.
Why not the 13” MacBook Air over the 13 MBP? It’s effectively the same and cheaper.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Apple_Robert Avatar
13 months ago

Be thankful Macrumors is looking out for you. They are definitely saving you $$$. This article is very helpful for others. Who would want to feel ripped off???
There is nothing wrong with Macs being sold now. If the article were speaking of vetted facts with specify of design, hardware and capability, that would be a different matter all together.

Writing a "buyer's guide' predicated on nothin more than rumor, is irresponsible, in my opinion. That kind of reporting doesn't save people money.

This article is not really a buyer's guide. It is clickbait.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

2021 mbp hdmi slot 3d

2021 MacBook Pro Leaks Confirm Returning MagSafe and Ports

Friday May 14, 2021 3:06 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming MacBook Pro models are expected to feature a number of major changes such as larger display options and powerful new Apple silicon chips. Among the more surprising updates to this year's MacBook Pro models is the return of three ports that have been missing from the machines for over five years. Expected to come in 14- and 16-inch sizes, the 2021 MacBook Pro models are...
Apple new macbookpro wallpaper screen 11102020

Apple Isn't Done With the 13-Inch MacBook Pro Yet

Saturday June 5, 2021 1:21 am PDT by
Despite expectations that Apple was looking to focus on redesigned 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models later this year, it now seems that Apple still has plans for the smaller, entry-level MacBook Pro. The 13.3-inch MacBook Pro was last updated in November last year with the M1 chip. This model is the entry-level MacBook Pro in the lineup, with the more expensive Intel models, last updated in ...
new macbookpro wallpaper screen

Apple Planning to Discontinue High-End 13-inch MacBook Pro

Monday March 22, 2021 3:25 am PDT by
Apple may discontinue the 13.3-inch high-end MacBook Pro, following rumors that the machine will be replaced with a redesigned 14-inch model later this year. While Apple appears to be committed to the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro for the time being as an entry-level model, having updated it with an M1 Apple silicon chip in November, the high-end 13.3-inch MacBook Pro has not been updated since May...
2021 mbp sd slot feature2

MacBook Pro to See the Return of an SD Card Reader in 2021

Wednesday February 10, 2021 2:04 pm PST by
After removing the feature in 2016, much to the disappointment of photographers and videographers, Apple is finally looking to restore the SD card reader on its new 2021 MacBook Pro models. A concept of a modern MacBook Pro with an SD card reader Last month, reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlined his surprising expectations for the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro set to arrive models...
16 inch macbook pro m2 render

At Least One New MacBook With Apple Silicon 'Likely' at WWDC, Says Morgan Stanley Analyst

Friday June 4, 2021 7:50 am PDT by
We're just three days away from Apple's annual developers conference, WWDC, but rumors are still divided as to whether new MacBook Pro models with Apple silicon will be announced at Apple's opening keynote on Monday. Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty weighed in on the matter in a research note shared with MacRumors today, claiming it's "likely" that Apple will announce at least one new...
MagSafe 2021 MacBook Pro Mockup Feature

Why Is Apple Bringing Back This Old MacBook Pro Feature?

Thursday June 3, 2021 3:05 am PDT by
Apple is expected to bring back the MagSafe connector on this year's redesigned MacBook Pro models to facilitate a number of useful features, including faster charging speeds, according to recent reports. ‌MagSafe‌‌ first debuted in January 2006 when Apple launched the first-ever MacBook Pro. The ‌‌MagSafe‌‌ port featured a rectangular design with five holes, which corresponded to an ...
Flat 2021 MacBook Pro Mockup Feature 1

New MacBook Pro Expected to Copy Familiar iPhone Design

Thursday February 4, 2021 8:12 am PST by
Apple's upcoming 2021 MacBook Pro is expected to take design cues from the iPhone 12, according to well-respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. With the MacBook Pro being rumored to get a major overhaul this year, speculation about what, if any, design changes will come to the new machines has begun. In a recent note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained: In terms of casing design, the ...
2021 mbp hdmi slot 3d

HDMI Port Returning to MacBook Pro This Year

Tuesday March 9, 2021 2:18 am PST by
Apple is planning to release two new MacBook Pro models equipped with an HDMI port and SD card reader in the second half of 2021, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a research note obtained by MacRumors, Kuo recently explained that 2021's MacBook Pro models will feature the return of an SD card reader and an HDMI port: We predict that Apple's two new MacBook Pro models in 2H21 will...

Popular Stories

Upcoming Products 2022 Feature

Gurman: Apple Preparing 'Widest Array of New Hardware Products in Its History' for Fall

Sunday January 23, 2022 10:32 am PST by
Apple is working on a number of new products that are set to launch this fall, and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says that it will be "the widest array" of new devices that Apple has introduced in its history. In his latest "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explains that Apple is working on four new flagship iPhones (iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max), an updated low-end Ma...
Questionable Design Decisions

Apple's Most Questionable Design Decisions in Recent Memory

Sunday January 23, 2022 2:59 am PST by
Apple has always emphasized the depth of thought that goes into the design of its products. In the foreword to Designed by Apple in California, a photo book released by the company in 2016, Jony Ive explains how Apple strives "to define objects that appear effortless" and "so simple, coherent and inevitable that there could be no rational alternative." But every once in a while even Apple...
macbook pro 14 16 2021

Three Months After Launch, Apple Still Struggling to Meet Demand for Redesigned 14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pro

Monday January 24, 2022 7:12 am PST by
Three months after their launch, the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros continue to experience high demand and seemingly short supply, with shipping dates for both models stretching into multiple weeks in several of Apple's key markets. In the United States, the baseline 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro chip is estimated to ship in three to four weeks, promising an arrival by at least...
att gigabit internet

AT&T Bringing $180/Month 5-Gigabit Internet to 70 Cities

Monday January 24, 2022 9:20 am PST by
AT&T today announced the launch of upgraded AT&T Fiber plans, which support speeds of up to 5 Gigabits for some customers. There are two separate plans, one "2 GIG" plan and one "5 GIG" plan, available to new and existing AT&T Fiber subscribers. According to AT&T, the new plans are available to nearly 5.2 million customers across 70 metro areas including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, San...
airpodsinear 1

AirPods Save Woman's Life With Feature Everyone Should Know

Friday January 21, 2022 2:13 am PST by
Apple's AirPods have been credited with saving a woman's life after a potentially fatal fall, People reports. When a 60-year-old florist in New Jersey tripped and hit her head in her studio, she lost consciousness and awoke heavily bleeding. With nobody around to call for help, she realized she had her AirPods in, and used a "Hey Siri" command to call 911. An operator was able to stay on the ...
AirPods Pro Gen 3 Mock Feature ugly yellow

AirPods Pro 2 Could Beat AirPods Max Sound Quality

Monday January 24, 2022 2:15 am PST by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro could deliver higher fidelity audio than the AirPods Max over-ear headphones, despite being comparatively small in-ear buds, recent reports have suggested. In a recent note to investors, seen by MacRumors, TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that the second-generation AirPods Pro will offer improved audio quality thanks to support...
iCloud Bug Feature Green

Developers Unhappy With Bug Causing iCloud Unreliability

Monday January 24, 2022 10:15 am PST by
A number of developers are upset with an increasingly problematic iCloud server issue that is causing some apps that have implemented iCloud support to fail to sync properly. As outlined on the Developer Forums and on Twitter, there are CloudKit connectivity issues that have been occurring since November. Some users of apps that have iCloud support built in are seeing the following message:...
top stories 2022jan22

Top Stories: Spring Apple Event Rumors, Apple Opposes Sideloading, and More

Saturday January 22, 2022 6:00 am PST by
As we roll into the latter half of January, we're starting to hear more about a potential spring Apple event, which is likely to take place in March or April. There are a number of potential announcements on deck, so an event would be a good opportunity for Apple to get them all out there. We've also been going back and forth on some iPhone 14 rumors, and we've taken a look at a number of...