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

Top Rated Comments

chucker23n1 Avatar
11 weeks 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
11 weeks ago
Sorry but Micro LED is the future not OLED.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
blazerunner Avatar
11 weeks ago
Notchless display.

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

Notchless display.

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

Related Stories

macbook pro lineup

Apple Ditches Intel Chips for MacBook Pro With Lineup Featuring M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max

Monday October 18, 2021 12:25 pm PDT by
Apple has nixed all of the Intel MacBook Pro models from its MacBook Pro lineup, with the prior-generation Intel i7 and i9 machines now discontinued. All of Apple's MacBook Pro models now feature M-series chips as the company continues to phase out Intel chips. That means Apple's entire portable notebook lineup (the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro) is Intel-free and running Apple-designed chips. ...
maxresdefault

Video Comparison: M1 MacBook Pro vs. M1 Pro MacBook Pro

Friday November 5, 2021 12:05 pm PDT by
If you're unsure whether you should purchase a MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro chip or if an M1 machine will best suit your needs, our latest YouTube video is for you. We've compared the 14-inch base MacBook Pro with M1 Pro chip to the 13-inch base MacBook Pro with M1 chip to give our readers an idea of how they measure up to one another. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. ...
maxresdefault

M1 Pro vs. M1 Max: Real-World Performance Test

Wednesday November 3, 2021 12:38 pm PDT by
Now that the new MacBook Pro models have been available for a week, we've been able to do more in-depth testing. In our latest YouTube video, we pit the entry-level 14-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 Pro chip against the high-end 16-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 Max chip to see just what you're getting with the upgrade to the M1 Max. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. ...
16 inch macbook pro m2 render

Don't Buy a MacBook Pro Right Now

Friday October 15, 2021 2:18 am PDT by
New MacBook Pro models are expected to be announced on Monday at Apple's "Unleashed" event, bringing some of the biggest improvements to the product line to date, including some surprising changes, so any prospective MacBook Pro buyers should wait for the new devices to come out. According to our full feature breakdown aggregated from our coverage from a wide range of sources, including...
maxresdefault

Review: M1 Max MacBook Pro After Three Months

Wednesday January 19, 2022 11:30 am PST by
It's now been a few months since the M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro models launched in October, and MacRumors video editor Dan Barbera has been using one of the new machines since they debuted. Over on the MacRumors YouTube channel, Dan has shared a three month review of his MacBook Pro to see how it has held up over time and how it's changed his workflow. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube ...
macbook pro 14 16 inch

Apple Unveils Redesigned MacBook Pro With Notch, Added Ports, ProMotion Mini-LED Display, M1 Pro or M1 Max Chip, and More

Monday October 18, 2021 10:32 am PDT by
Apple today announced its long-awaited major redesign for the MacBook Pro, featuring configurations with the M1 Pro and M1 Max chip, a mini-LED display with ProMotion, an HDMI port and SDXC card reader, charging with MagSafe 3, a notch housing a 1080p webcam, and more. The MacBook Pro features a new design and is available with 14.2-inch and 16.2-inch display sizes. The 14.2-inch model is...
macbook pro 13 inch banner

Apple Could Discontinue the 13-Inch MacBook Pro – Here's Why

Friday November 26, 2021 2:20 am PST by
Following the launch of Apple's long-awaited 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro, there are early signs that the company could discontinue the entry-level 13-inch model, which is starting to look like an outlier in the product lineup. Last updated in November 2020, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is now an anomaly in the Mac lineup, being the only device with the Touch Bar. With no rumors of a 13-inch...
m1x feature dark blue

Shaky Rumor Claims Redesigned MacBook Pros Will Feature 'M1X' Chip and Remove the Front Logo

Friday May 21, 2021 7:27 am PDT by
A questionable report is today claiming that Apple's next-generation MacBook Pro models will feature an "M1X" chip and remove the "MacBook Pro" logo from below the display. The report from 9to5Mac says that "a source with a decent track record," iOS developer Dylandkt made the claims. According to Dylandkt, "Apple's planned name for the MacBook Pro chips" is the "M1X."The M1X is an extension ...

Popular Stories

maxresdefault

Review: M1 Max MacBook Pro After Three Months

Wednesday January 19, 2022 11:30 am PST by
It's now been a few months since the M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro models launched in October, and MacRumors video editor Dan Barbera has been using one of the new machines since they debuted. Over on the MacRumors YouTube channel, Dan has shared a three month review of his MacBook Pro to see how it has held up over time and how it's changed his workflow. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube ...
iphone se 2020 top

New iPhone SE Likely to Launch in April Based on Production Timeframe

Wednesday January 19, 2022 6:44 am PST by
Apple suppliers will begin producing display panels for the third-generation iPhone SE this month, with final assembly of the device likely to start in March, according to information shared by display industry consultant Ross Young. Based on this production timeframe, Young believes the third-generation iPhone SE is likely to launch in the second half of April, or perhaps in early May at...
AirPods 3 New Firmware Feature

Apple Updates AirPods 3 Firmware to Version 4C170

Tuesday January 18, 2022 11:46 am PST by
Apple today released a new 4C170 firmware update for the AirPods 3, an update from the prior 4C165 that was made available in December. Apple does not offer details on what's included in new firmware updates for the AirPods‌, so we don't know what improvements or bug fixes the new firmware brings. There is no standard way to upgrade the ‌AirPods‌‌ software, but firmware is...
iPad Air Feature 2 green

New Apple Products Filed in Regulatory Database, Likely Including New iPhone SE and iPad Air

Tuesday January 18, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Apple today filed unreleased iPhone and iPad models in the Eurasian Economic Commission database, as spotted by French blog Consomac. The filings likely represent the rumored third-generation iPhone SE, fifth-generation iPad Air, and potentially more. The unreleased iPhone models have the identifiers A2595, A2783, and A2784, while the unreleased iPad models have the identifiers A2588, A2589, ...
iphone 5g mmwave

U.S. Airlines Warn of 'Catastrophic' Crisis With Impending 5G Rollout, AT&T and Verizon Agree to Delay Around Airports

Tuesday January 18, 2022 10:35 am PST by
Verizon and AT&T's upcoming rollout of new C-Band 5G technology could cause chaos and lead to widespread delays of passenger and cargo flights, major U.S. airlines said on Monday in a letter sent to the White House National Economic Council, the FAA, and the FCC (via Reuters). "Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the traveling and shipping public will essentially...
microsoft office icons

Microsoft Releases Office for Mac Update With Full Apple Silicon Support in Excel

Tuesday January 18, 2022 4:15 am PST by
Microsoft has released a new version of its Office for Mac productivity suite that includes an updated Excel app with 100% native support for Apple silicon machines. According to the release notes accompanying version 16.57, Excel will now run natively on Macs powered by Apple's M1-series processors without having to use the Rosetta 2 translation layer, which means anyone using a Mac with an ...
appleeducation

Apple's US Education Store Now Requires Institution Verification to Buy Discounted Products

Wednesday January 19, 2022 2:22 am PST by
Apple is now requiring that customers in the United States verify that they're active students, teachers, or staff members at an educational institution in order to access education discounts on products. Previously, little verification was needed for customers to purchase products through Apple's education store in the United States. Apple's education stores offer models of the iPad and Mac ...
iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole thumb

ProMotion Now Expected to Remain Exclusive to iPhone 14 Pro Models, Not Expand to Entire Lineup

Sunday January 16, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Continuing the tradition set with the iPhone 13 Pro, only the highest-end iPhone 14 models will feature Apple's ProMotion display technology, according to a respected display analyst. Ross Young, who on multiple occasions has detailed accurate information about Apple's future products, said in a tweet that ProMotion will not be expanded to the entire iPhone 14 lineup and will remain...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID

Rumored iPhone 14 Pro Feature Delayed Until Next Year

Wednesday January 19, 2022 3:00 am PST by
Apple's long-rumored under-display Face ID technology will not be coming to the iPhone 14 Pro, according to recent reports. Based on the latest rumors, it now looks unlikely that the 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max will feature Face ID technology under the display as several reports claimed over the past year. Display industry consultant Ross Young, who often reveals ...