Are they going or not? Business-class Apple users are eagerly anticipating that the company will showcase a new generation of Macbook Pro based on M-series processors at Apple’s WWDC online event next week.
Why does that make sense
Apple didn’t reveal its intention to install its own processors in Macs until WWDC 2020. A year later, you’ll find these chips in the MacBook Air, Mac mini, the all-new and colorful iMac, and the 13 inches. Macbook Pro. That leaves only two Mac models without an M-series chip: the Mac Pro and the larger 16-inch. Macbook Pro. (Apple is also expected to add a 14-inch MacBook Pro to the lineup.)
Even the iPad Pro now has an Apple chip, which means the company is running ahead of its initially advised two-year transition schedule – just in time for its World Developer Conference (WWDC).
Of course, Apple wants to tell developers more about the migration. It makes sense that he presents a new professional product for this professional audience to reinforce this message.
Towards a new language of silicon
Be forewarned, as of now there is speculation the new Macs may not be available immediately. This is not a bad thing; Apple could quite easily use a first public appearance as a way to evangelize its achievements in chip design, especially if it is already preparing to introduce a second-generation M-series processor. This chip is most likely referred to as the M1X. because it is an iterative evolution of the design.
What to expect from the chip?
Remember the previous speculation when we learned of the existence of a 3.2 GHz chip with 16 GB of memory, 8 processor cores and 16 GPU cores with support for 64 GB of RAM running at a power impressive 45 watts. Since then, Bloomberg said one can also expect a GPU configuration 32 cores.
When discussing these processors, don’t overlook the nuances. We know Apple is heading towards 3nm Mac chips, but we also know that the industry is reaching a point where processor evolution will be replaced by on-chip technical advancements to drive future power and performance gains. once it becomes impossible to further miniaturize silicon.
In this regard, check the references to improvements in memory architecture, bandwidth, latency and multithreaded performance, as well as improvements to the capabilities of various systems (neural engine, CPU, GPU) included on the chip.
As an iPhone user, I have been slightly spoiled and now expect about a 20% improvement in overall performance each year. As we watch the evolution of the M-series, I can’t help but wonder if that’s what’s happening to Macs ?
What to expect from the new MacBook Pro
According to current speculation, Apple is planning both a 16-inch. and (maybe) 14 inches. configuration. The latter looks unusual given the 13-inch. The MacBook Pro M1 is less than a year old, but I’m willing to bet that any increase in size will be made possible by thinner bezels and a design similar to the new iPad Pro.
What about the battery life?
The current 16 inch. the model offers up to 11 hours’ wireless web; while the 13-in. M1 gives up to 17. I predict battery life will increase on the strength of a MacRumors report saying that the batteries for both models will be on par with their existing counterparts.
However, we are aware of the Intel chip used inside the 16 inch. MBPs consume significantly more power than M-series processors, so longer battery life, brighter screens and exceptional performance per watt will be on the agenda. These Macs will be quiet except when playing music through the much improved six-speaker sound system.
What about the display?
Apple is expected to introduce mini LED screens in these Macs. This would result in brighter and more energy efficient screens. However, there has been a lot of speculation that these screens may not be available in sufficient quantities at this time. (Remember how limited the iPad Pro with Mini LED has become.)
Keep in mind, however, that the latest Digitimes Report suggests that mini LED screens may be available in larger quantities later this year, perhaps a few weeks after WWDC. Apple may not be showing mini LED displays this year, but if it does, Macs could ship a few weeks later than the Developer Show.
What about the webcam?
Last month, developer Dylandkt made waves by claiming that M1X-powered MacBook Pros will feature a 1080p webcam. Finally.
What about the touch bar?
Everyone thinks the TouchBar will be abandoned. It seems a shame given the usefulness it promised to be. You will always have Touch ID.
And the interconnections?
Expect an SD card reader, three Thunderbolt USB-C ports, an updated MagSafe port, and an HDMI port. Considering the cost of these Macs, many of us will be excited to see the return of the Port Guard MagSafe connector.
One more thing…
We keep hearing that Apple could offer a redesigned high-end Mac mini equipped with the M1X processor. This one is believed to be thinner than the existing model, may offer additional Thunderbolt / USB 4 slots, and possibly deploy a MagSafe connector similar to the one used in the 24-inch. iMac.
If this speculation is correct, then this Mac mini setup will be a very good value for money Mac.
The existing Mac mini M1 is a truly exceptional machine that handles everything I throw at it. Apple keeps all of the promises it made with the M series and I’m confident its new pro machines will deliver the performance business users need to get things done.