Apple plans to unveil new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with Mini-LED-backlit displays in the second half of this year, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese supply chain publication DigiTimes. The report claims that Radiant Opto-Electronics will be the exclusive supplier of the Mini-LED backlight units, while Quanta Computer is said to be tasked with final assembly of the notebooks.
The report lines up with information shared by well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who expects new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models to launch in the second half of this year with brighter Mini-LED displays, Apple silicon chips, a new design with a flat-edged top and bottom, an HDMI port and SD card reader, classic MagSafe charging with a magnetic power cable, and physical function keys instead of the Touch Bar.
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has also corroborated many of these details, and he was first to report that an SD card reader would be returning to the MacBook Pro.
Similar to how the 16-inch MacBook Pro replaced the 15-inch MacBook Pro in 2019, the 14-inch model would likely replace the Intel-based 13-inch MacBook Pro that Apple currently sells, with slimmer bezels around the display allowing for the 14-inch MacBook Pro to have only a slightly larger footprint than the 13-inch model.
If all of these rumors pan out, it would be a significant overhaul to the MacBook Pro, with many fan-favorite features returning. There is also lots of anticipation surrounding next-generation Apple silicon given the already-impressive performance of the M1 chip in lower-end machines like the MacBook Air and base model 13-inch MacBook Pro.
Since 2016, the MacBook Pro has only been equipped with Thunderbolt ports and a headphone jack, forcing users to purchase adapters or docks to gain access to an HDMI port, SD card reader, USB-A ports, and other connectivity offered on older MacBook Pro models. Apple touted its "thinnest and lightest MacBook Pro ever," but the decision was criticized by many users and became known as "dongle hell."
It's unclear exactly when Apple would announce the new MacBook Pro models. The "second half of 2021" timeframe could refer to a fall unveiling in September, October, or November, but the new MacBook Pro models could also be announced at WWDC in June and then begin shipping in July, which falls within the second half of the year. The timeframe given by Kuo is simply too broad to pinpoint an exact launch at this time.
Apple is also widely rumored to be planning a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro with a Mini-LED display for release in the first half of 2021, with some reports having claimed that the device could be announced as early as March.