What Next for MacBook Pro? Four Upgrades We're Likely to See

With Apple's long-awaited new MacBook Pro now available, there are early signs of what we could expect from the MacBook Pro going forward as the company iterates on its major 2021 redesign.

14 16 inch 2021 mbps back to back feature orange
Following a major redesign year, the MacBook Pro has typically received smaller annual updates. For example, following 2016's MacBook Pro redesign, subsequent models introduced new processors, GPUs, tweaked keyboards, Bluetooth 5.0, the T2 chip, True Tone, and larger batteries.

At this early stage, there are at least four substantial upgrades on the cards for future MacBook Pro models.

Face ID

Although Apple executives recently claimed that Touch ID is more convenient on the MacBook Pro, the company is believed to have been working on Face ID for the Mac for some time. Apple purportedly originally planned to introduce Face ID for the Mac on 2021's 24-inch iMac, but the feature was apparently delayed for a later iteration of the machine.

macbook pro 2021 notch feature
‌Face ID‌ is believed to be coming to the Mac within "a couple of years." Now that the MacBook Pro has a notch, it seems that the groundwork is in place to add a TrueDepth camera array to enable ‌Face ID‌ in the future.

M2 Pro and M2 Max

"M2 Pro" and "‌M2‌ Max" will presumably succeed Apple's M1 Pro and M1 Max custom silicon chips. Just as the ‌M1 Pro‌ and ‌M1 Max‌ are scaled-up versions of the M1 chip, the ‌M2‌ Pro and ‌M2‌ Max will likely be based on the "M2" chip.

m2 feature
The ‌M2‌ chip is expected to debut in the 2022 redesigned MacBook Air. According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, the chip will have the same 8-core CPU as the ‌‌M1‌‌. It is expected to have additional GPU cores, with 9 and 10-core GPU options, up from the 7 and 8-core GPU options in the original ‌‌M1‌‌ chip. There may also be speed and efficiency improvements due to the chip being built on a smaller node.

Following the way that the ‌M1 Pro‌ and ‌M1 Max‌ built on the ‌M1‌ chip, the ‌M2‌ Pro and ‌M2‌ Max could feature the same number of CPU cores as their predecessors, but add GPU cores and benefit from overall speed and efficiency improvements.

A recent report from The Information laid out the alleged roadmap for Apple silicon in the coming years, and explained that Apple is working on successors to the ‌M1 Pro‌ and ‌M1 Max‌ chip that feature more cores and are manufactured with an enhanced version of TSMC's 5nm process.

Further in the future, those second-generation chips will apparently be succeeded by MacBook Pro chips with up to 40 compute cores that are fabricated using TSMC's 3nm process by 2023.

OLED Displays

Apple is said to be developing two-stack OLED displays for multiple future devices, including MacBook Pro models, that are up to two-times brighter.

Oled iPads and MackBook Pro Notch
An OLED display could come to the 16.2-inch MacBook Pro first, potentially launching as soon as 2022 according to one report. The panels may be manufactured by Samsung.

The 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models made the switch to mini-LED technology this year, so it would be unusual for Apple to change to another display technology within one iteration. Nevertheless, it seems that an OLED MacBook Pro is likely for the coming years, bringing higher brightness, improved contrast, and deeper blacks with no blooming effect.

5G Connectivity

Apple has apparently developed "underlying Mac support" for cellular connectivity, according to Gurman. While this rumor originated from a report about the next-generation MacBook Air, it seems inevitable that if the MacBook Air is set to get cellular connectivity, the feature will also come to the MacBook Pro.

Apple 5G Modem Feature Triad
Apple is in the process of rolling out 5G to its cellular-enabled devices, with the iPhone 12, iPhone 13, iPad Pro, and iPad mini now offering the next-generation connectivity. Apple currently relies on Qualcomm, but the company is believed to be working on its own custom modem that is set to appear in iPhones as soon as 2023. It is not unreasonable to speculate that this custom modem could also be the basis of 5G connectivity in the MacBook Pro within a similar timeframe.

Release Date

There is as yet no sign of when we could see an updated high-end MacBook Pro launch, but mid- to late 2022 or early to mid-2023 seem like reasonable guesses.

In previous years, Apple typically updated the MacBook Pro every year. Things have not been so clear-cut in recent times, however. The 16-inch MacBook Pro was announced in November 2019, and went without an update for a year and 11 months. The previous, 13-inch high-end MacBook Pro was updated in July 2019, May 2020, and then replaced by the 14-inch model last month.

Now that the MacBook Pro features Apple silicon, it is not clear if there will be a completely different launch timetable for the MacBook Pro. It is possible that since the 2021 MacBook Pro models appeared to have been delayed for several months, an updated model could be coming within less than a year. Apple is no longer reliant on Intel to update the processors in its machines, meaning that there could be a more regular update cycle akin to the ‌iPhone‌.

At the same time, the semiconductor shortage, backordered deliveries, and late-stage launch of the current model may push out the launch of a successor. The scale of the most recent redesign and the performance of the ‌M1 Pro‌ and ‌M1 Max‌ may also make the company more willing to keep the current machine around for longer.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro 14 & 16"
Related Forum: MacBook Pro

Top Rated Comments

chucker23n1 Avatar
30 months ago
Cellular is one of the few aspects of "how is this still not an option on MacBook Pros" remaining.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Your Royal Highness Avatar
30 months ago
Sorry but Micro LED is the future not OLED.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
blazerunner Avatar
30 months ago
Notchless display.

That thing is disgusting.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
andrewxgx Avatar
30 months ago
well im probably in minority but i would replace HDMI with another USB-C port
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dguisinger Avatar
30 months ago
unless they have major advancements in OLED, I really don't want that as an "upgrade".....
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
canadianreader Avatar
30 months ago

Notchless display.

That thing is disgusting.
Notch lovers will be heartbroken if Apple decided to remove it.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

Six Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Thursday February 22, 2024 4:20 am PST by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models concurrently, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different, and already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
iPhone Notch

Apple Explored These Notch and Dynamic Island Designs for iPhones

Friday February 23, 2024 2:05 pm PST by
With the iPhone 14 Pro models in 2022, Apple introduced the Dynamic Island, which can morph and expand to display system alerts, sports scores, and a variety of other information. The feature makes the space surrounding the front camera and Face ID sensors useful compared to the notch on older iPhone models. Apple explored a variety of ideas for the iPhone's notch area over the years before...
General Apps Messages

iOS 17.4 to Add This 'Groundbreaking' New Messaging Feature

Friday February 23, 2024 5:05 am PST by
With iOS 17.4, set to arrive in March 2024, Apple is bringing a new cryptographic security feature to iMessage called PQ3. This "groundbreaking" and "state-of-the-art" protocol provides "extensive defenses against even highly sophisticated quantum attacks," according to Apple. Let's break down what that means. Apple's iMessage service already supports end-to-end encryption, but security...
cracked glass vision pro

Handful of Apple Vision Pro Units Develop Identical Crack in Cover Glass

Friday February 23, 2024 4:46 am PST by
A small number of Apple Vision Pro owners have claimed that their headsets developed a hairline crack down the middle of the front cover glass, despite having never been dropped or mishandled. Photo of hairline crack in Vision Pro front glass (credit: Reddit user Inphenite) The first report was posted in the subreddit /r/VisionPro about 18 days ago, and several more have appeared in the last...
New Macs iPads iOS 17 4

What to Expect at Potential Apple Event in March: iPads, Macs, and More

Friday February 23, 2024 8:35 am PST by
Apple often holds its first media event of the year in March, so the company could be just weeks away from announcing new products. Below, we have outlined what to expect from a potential Apple Event this March. Past Apple Events in March Apple has held five events in March since 2015:Monday, March 9, 2015 Monday, March 21, 2016 Tuesday, March 27, 2018 Monday, March 25, 2019 Tuesday,...
iOS 17

When Will Apple Release iOS 17.4 for iPhones?

Friday February 23, 2024 11:56 am PST by
Apple has been beta testing iOS 17.4 for nearly a month now. Below, we explain when the update is likely to be released to all users. In its press release announcing major App Store changes in the EU, which were implemented in response to new regulations under the EU's Digital Markets Act, Apple confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released at some point in March:Developers can learn about these...
Next Generation CarPlay Porsche 1

Apple Launching Next-Generation CarPlay This Year With These New Features

Wednesday February 21, 2024 2:03 pm PST by
Apple recently updated its website to confirm that the first vehicle models with next-generation CarPlay support will debut "in 2024." This wording is shown on Apple's regional websites for the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries. The iOS 17.4 beta includes code-level references to eight new CarPlay apps:Auto Settings: This app will let you manage paired iPhones...