Friday, January 15, 2021

The Best Mac Rumors in a Long Time

Juli Clover (via Paul Haddad, Hacker News):

According to Kuo, Apple is developing two models in 14 and 16-inch size options. The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as “similar to the iPhone 12" with no curves like current models. It will be the most significant design update to the MacBook Pro in the last five years.

There will be no OLED Touch Bar included, with Apple instead returning to physical function keys. Kuo says the MagSafe charging connector design will be restored, though it’s not quite clear what that means as Apple has transitioned to USB-C. The refreshed MacBook Pro models will have additional ports, and Kuo says that Most people may not need to purchase dongles to supplement the available ports on the new machines.

Mark Gurman (tweet):

Beyond the more powerful chips, Apple is also planning to step up the displays in its new MacBook Pros with brighter, higher-contrast panels, the person said. The new Macs will look similar to the current versions, albeit with minor design changes. Apple is aiming to launch the new MacBook Pros around the middle of the year.

This sounds way better than I expected. If it’s not the plan, it should be. If true, I guess it takes about five years to turn the ship. Can we throw in a smaller trackpad, too?

With the speed of the M1, I would love to switch back from an iMac to a MacBook Pro—if only there were a reliable, reasonably priced external Retina display.

Jeff Johnson:

Now if we can just get matte screens again...

Colin Cornaby:

Real 2x resolution would be nice

Tytus Suski:

reasons I left Apple ecosystem start to look like Michael Corleone’s TODOs

Mark Gurman (tweet):

The new [iMac] models will slim down the thick black borders around the screen and do away with the sizable metal chin area in favor of a design similar to Apple’s Pro Display XDR monitor. These iMacs will have a flat back, moving away from the curved rear of the current iMac.


Apple is also working on a pair of new Mac Pro desktop computers, its priciest Mac machines that don’t come with a screen included, the people said. One version is a direct update to the current Mac Pro and will continue to use the same design as the version launched in 2019. […] The second version, however, will use Apple’s own processors and be less than half the size of the current Mac Pro.


As part of its revived Mac desktop efforts, Apple has started early development of a lower-priced external monitor to sell alongside the Pro Display XDR.

Mr. Macintosh:

My take on the “Dark Era” Macs 2013-2019


If the current rumors are true, this could mark a huge shift.

I don’t think the damage that the 2013 Mac Pro & 2016 MacBook Pro is fully realized.

$5000 desktop with that’s not expandable? = Move to PC

$2500 Laptop with horrible reliability & bad keyboard design = Move to PC


Saw it real-time, live, while it happened. BEYOND ME how no one at Apple had foreseen it, or seemed motivated to fix it.


Update (2021-01-18): Raymond Wong (Hacker News):

Clearly, actual creatives and professionals disagree with Apple’s soul-searching because if all of these rumors come to fruition, Apple will be returning to what was already considered the MacBook Pro’s zenith. Coupled with Apple Silicon and Apple could experience Mac growth that it ceded to PC laptops during these past years of stumbling.

As someone totally in love with my M1 MacBook Air — the performance and battery life still astounds me every day — I am beyond excited for these new MacBook Pros. I’ve missed MagSafe dearly, pleaded for Apple to kill the Touch Bar more times than I can count, and curse under my breath every time I can’t find my SD card dongle for my MacBook.

Update (2021-01-22): Mark Gurman (tweet, 9to5Mac, MacRumors, 2, 3):

The company is planning to bring back an SD card slot for the next MacBook Pros so users can insert memory cards from digital cameras.


Apple has also developed underlying Mac support for both cellular connectivity — the ability for Macs to connect to the internet via smartphone networks — and Face ID, the company’s facial recognition system. But neither feature appears to be coming soon. To that end, Face ID had originally been planned to arrive in this year’s iMac redesign, but it’s now unlikely to be included in the first iteration of the new design.

Update (2021-03-15): Joe Rossignol:

Apple plans 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, who outlined his expectations in a research note obtained by MacRumors.

Joe Rossignol:

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.

Update (2021-04-22): Juli Clover:

Schematics stolen from Apple supplier Quanta Computer outline Apple’s plans for the next-generation MacBook Pro models that are expected in 2021, and clearly confirm plans for additional ports and a return to MagSafe.

14 Comments RSS · Twitter

So the rumor mill is telling us that everything everybody wants in a Mac is coming true? Yeah, I'll believe it when I see it.

Next you're going to tell me they're going to look at my radars and fix the bugs.

Kuo and Gurman have a pretty decent track record when it comes to rumors, so even if I feel like I should be sceptical just not to get disappointed it seems like it might just come true.

I'm apparently one of the few who really likes the TouchBar. Together with BetterTouchTool it's super important for workflows & automation. Would hate to see Apple remove it. It should be an option imho.

[…] problem was fixed; the former decision still feels like a compromise too much of the time. The excitement for these rumours seems telling. You’ve got to wonder what ports would be added; I […]

I for one am not looking forward these rumors coming true. The return to MagSafe would mean throwing out all of my third party chargers and battery pack. I far prefer USB-C for charging over a proprietary standard. And when I am charging my Mac, there is virtually always other connections -- external monitor, backup drive, etc. What's the point of one magnetic connection when all the other cables are not magnetic? This will be even more true with a M1 computer with long battery life -- if used away from the desk, no power is needed.

I don't want any non USB-C ports (other than audio jack). Dongles and hubs are cheap, I have plenty of them now. If Apple wants to add more ports they should just add more USB-C/TB ports. I'm using all 4 of my ports right now - power, display, backup drive, and usb-a hub, an Anker hub with 4 USB-A ports, which are all in use for webcam, external mike, scanner, etc. The Anker hub was $17 and works great, which was never my experience with USB hubs before USB-C. So one or two USB-A ports wouldn't cut it for me anyway. Side question -- will USB-C hubs ever be a thing?

The touch bar I don't feel strongly about. I'd prefer to keep it, but it doesn't matter that much. Most of my typing is on an external keyboard anyway, as I use my laptop docked about 95% of the time. My external keyboard has function keys that I never use. I'm a fast touch typist, took typing in high school (on manual typewriters!). I can touch type alphabetical but not numbers, and definitely not the function keys. So having to look at the touch bar doesn't bother me. But I rarely use the touch bar also since it is off to the side. The touch bar is pretty great for video editing though.

What I would really like to see from Apple is: Apple Silicon, 32/64 GB memory, all USB-C/TB4 (I'll happily take more than 4), more storage, and a reasonable 5k monitor.


Yay! I resemble that comment!

Now we can only hope Apple delivers. The rumors are great, though I doubt we’ll see Intel-based MacBook Pro models, for little technical reason (on Apple’s behalf)… and I’m sorry but I still need Intel compatibility for the next few years. Looks like I’ll be stretching my 2012 MBP to the limits of Mac endurance.

But if Apple brings back MagSafe while preserving Type-C charging, I’ll *know* SOMEBODY at Apple gained a brain.

> I far prefer USB-C for charging

I would assume that Apple would do the same thing many PC manufacturers do: ship a proprietary charger, but also support charging over USB-C.

>I don't want any non USB-C ports

Why in the world not? The Ethernet port, the full-size HDMI port, and the USB-A ports are the three kinds of ports I use the most on my notebook when it's not at my desk, so just having them on the device means I don't have to carry a dongle. And when I'm at my desk, I can still just plug in the Type-C dongle.

1. Bring Back old Scissors, the much better typing experience.

2. Smaller Trackpad.

Or you know what, just give me a MacBook Pro 2015 with M1 and WiFI 6E.

> Looks like I’ll be stretching my 2012 MBP to the limits of Mac endurance.

If you want to upgrade, I anticipate selling my 2013 mbp once my M1 Air arrives in 2-3 weeks. ;)

All of these upgrades sound great. It's hard to get excited about the monitor without more details. I wouldn't be surprised if Apple tries selling it for $1,500+

I'm not sure how much I care about the port situation, but I'm not keen about going back to MagSafe for charging. I like having options for chargers and cables that aren't apple's expensive and fragile embarrassments.

The Touch Bar could be good, but they half-assed it. It should be more like the magic trackpad, with haptic feedback (including "ridges" between the control positions) and some amount of pressure sensitivity. Of course, the haptic feedback would push the cost up more, or they could offset it with the intel tax they're saving.

@eas I can’t imagine that charging wouldn’t still be possible via USB-C. MagSafe would just be an addition and would no longer waste one of your Thunderbolt ports.

Why in the world not? The Ethernet port, the full-size HDMI port, and the USB-A ports are the three kinds of ports I use the most on my notebook when it’s not at my desk,

Same, but none of those would fit in the current design (USB-A, perhaps, barely). Ethernet especially would either mean they make them significantly thicker (the previous 2012 design also didn’t fit Ethernet), or they’d make some kind of mini-Ethernet (at which point they might as well just use USB-C), or they’d make some clunky, failure-prone trap-door mechanism. The original Air had it for all ports, and I know someone who used to have a Samsung laptop which had it specifically for Ethernet.

I recently learnt third-party USB charging cables with a charging light do in fact exist, so while I think Apple made a mistake by not shipping one themselves, at least this aspect can be remedied rather cheaply. (One might question, of course, why we have to buy remedies on top of $2.5k laptops, but this has been discussed to death.)

The Touch Bar could be good, but they half-assed it. It should be more like the magic trackpad, with haptic feedback

I think the biggest and most puzzling mistake is that they never added the Taptic Engine to the Touch Bar, to give you a simulated feel of whether you’re near the edge of a virtual key. Maybe they prototyped it and it didn’t work well?

It's so sad, that a list of seemingly obviously desired features look like too good to be true.
Hopefully an improvements that M chips bring will free room inside an updated mac portables. Coupled with some magic return to senses and plain business interest and we will have a new ideal macbooks.
It's not impossible or technically not doable, it just takes real courage.
Maybe a new era of post Jony Ive is upon us.

>or they’d make some clunky, failure-prone trap-door mechanism

That's what my Windows convertible has. I'm sure that statistically, these are more likely to fail than a regular port. I'm pretty sure USB ports most commonly fail when they detach from the motherboard due to the strain put on them, and perhaps these popout USB ports offer less strain relief. But the fact that they might fail a bit more often doesn't really mean that they're failure-prone. If these were a real issue, I think we'd hear more complaints about them, given how common they are on Windows devices.

I'm pretty sure the primary reason Apple doesn't put them on their notebooks is that they harm the devices' elegant unblemished lines.

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