Apple calls the MacBook Pro (2021) a game-changing laptop. It’s its most powerful pro laptop to date, for one. Secondly, it marks its biggest step forward in the transition from Intel to custom silicon on Mac. Building on the first-generation M1 system-on-chip—seen inside the existing 13-inch MacBook Pro—Apple is introducing two new chips, M1 Pro and M1 Max, designed specifically for ‘pro’ systems like the MacBook Pro. These are making their debut with the 2021 MacBook Pro.
M1 Pro and M1 Max
The M1 Pro is the second most powerful SoC that Apple makes today. The top-of-the-line M1 Pro has a 10-core CPU—eight high-performance cores and two high-efficiency cores—and 16-core GPU. Apple says it can deliver 70 percent faster CPU performance, 2x faster graphics, and 3x the bandwidth—200GB/s—of M1. The package also bundles a ProRes accelerator for video processing tasks.
The M1 Max—which is now Apple’s most powerful SoC—has the same 10-core CPU as M1 Pro but it doubles the GPU with 32 cores and memory bandwidth which is 400GB/s. Plus, it can support up to 64GB RAM. Apple is adding two ProRes accelerators to this package allowing users to edit “up to 30 streams of 4K ProRes video or up to seven streams of 8K ProRes video in Final Cut Pro” that’s “more streams than a 28-core Mac Pro with Afterburner.” An M1 Max-based system will let you grade colour in HDR on 8K ProRes 4444 video on battery, it claims.
So, what does all this mean for MacBook Pro 2021?
Apple is sharing some performance stats ahead of general availability of the new machines. The 14-inch MacBook Pro—which will be available in both M1 Pro and M1 Max configurations—can give you up to 3.7x faster performance in Xcode versus the previous-generation high-end 13-inch model. The 16-inch MacBook Pro can give you up to 2.1x faster performance in Xcode over its predecessor.
Cut to graphics, the M1 Pro 14-inch MacBook Pro can give you up to 9.2x faster 4K render in Final Cut Pro. This is up to 13.4x faster in the M1 Max-based model. The M1 Pro 16-inch MacBook Pro can give you up to 1.7x faster 8K render in Final Cut Pro. This is up to 2.9x faster in the M1 Max-based model.
M1 Pro-based MacBook Pro can connect up to two Pro Display XDR monitors at the same time. M1 Max bumps this up to three Pro Display XDRs and a 4K TV.
What about battery life?
The 14-inch MacBook Pro is rated for 17 hours of video playback. The 16-inch model can last for up to 21 hours on single charge.
Both models feature MagSafe 3 magnetic charging. Fast charging is also supported. Apple says you can charge the 2021 MacBook Pro to up to 50 percent in just 30 minutes.
What about cooling?
Apple has given its pro MacBook a new, more advanced cooling system which is claimed to move 50 percent more air than the previous generation, even at lower fan speeds.
More ports than ever before
That’s right. The 2021 MacBook Pro has three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an SDXC card slot, HDMI port, and headphone jack. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 are also baked in.
MacBook Pro design and display
There are big upgrades coming on the design and display sides as well. The ‘touch bar’ is gone. It is being replaced by a physical function row and a wider escape key. Phew. Rounding off the package is a Force Touch trackpad.
The bigger update is coming by way of the display. Down to the very core. To begin with, the 2021 MacBook Pro has a Liquid Retina XDR display with mini-LED technology last seen in the iPad Pro. Apple says it can deliver up to 1,000 nits of full-screen brightness, 1,600 nits of peak brightness, and a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. The display features a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate— ProMotion—and supports one billion colours.
The display itself is getting larger with slim bezels and an iPhone-inspired ‘notch’ that allows Apple to put 1080p FaceTime HD camera on the MacBook Pro although there is no Face ID, in case you’re wondering. The 16-inch model actually offers a 16.2-inch (7.7 million pixels) display. The 14-inch model gives you a 14.2-inch (5.9 million pixels) screen.
MacBook Pro speakers and audio
The 2021 MacBook Pro has a six-speaker sound system with two tweeters and four force-cancelling woofers. Spatial audio is supported. Apple is also updating its ‘studio-quality mics’ that now come with even lower noise floor for clearer calls and voice recordings.
MacBook Pro 2021 India prices and availability
The 14-inch MacBook Pro starts at Rs 1,94,900 for an M1 Pro-based version with 8-core CPU, 14-core GPU, 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD storage. Schools and students can get it cheaper, starting at Rs 1,75,410.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro starts at Rs 2,39,900 for an M1 Pro-based version with 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU, 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD storage. Schools and students can get it cheaper, starting at Rs 2,15,910.
The new MacBook Pro models with M1 Pro and M1 Max are available to order now on Apple Online Store with general availability starting from October 26.