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Report: New MacBook Pro models will have MagSafe, but not the Touch Bar

Two new MacBook Pro models are in development, and trusted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has shared a couple of significant design changes that Apple is working on. As reported by Macrumors, there will be new models in two sizes: 14″ and 16″. The MacBook Pro 14 looks like it will replace the current MacBook Pro 13 in Apple’s laptop lineup, with a release predicted during Q3 2021.

So, what’s new? Kuo says that this is the first major redesign of the series since 2016, and as expected, both models will be powered by Apple’s ARM-based processors—no Intel options here. Meanwhile, the upcoming MacBook Pro will reportedly have square-ish edges like the iPhone 12 and iPad Pro—Kuo calls this a “flat-edged form factor”.

What’s also really interesting is the prediction that the MagSafe charging connector is coming back to the MacBook Pro. Before Apple switched to USB-C PD charging on the MacBook Pro, the original MagSafe and MagSafe 2 chargers were very popular among users. I personally appreciated how the magnetically attached charging head would just detach if you tripped over the charging cable, so this is good news to me.

However, it isn’t clear if this would be a reversion to the MagSafe of old—or if it will have anything in common with the iPhone 12’s MagSafe setup. Meanwhile, Kuo says that Apple is ditching the OLED Touch Bar on the current MacBook Pro for a conventional row of physical function keys. Perhaps this is an admission that the idea hasn’t quite gained traction, or that it’s an outright failure, but again, I personally prefer physical function keys over touch-based alternatives.

Other changes include additional ports, although these aren’t specified. Still, Kuo says that most users won’t need to buy additional dongles or adapters—which might mean that we’ll see fully-sized ports such for SD cards, or even HDMI inputs. For some context, the MacBook Pro has only featured USB-C ports since 2016.

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Finally, Kuo says that the new models will use a heat pipe system that works in a similar way to the current-generation MacBook Pro 16—which supposedly allows for increased computing power, compared to the 13″ model. Of course, it’s worth noting that this is not official information from Apple, but Kuo is a reputable analyst with a proven track record of providing accurate Apple information.

However, even if the information is accurate, this doesn’t mean that the device predictions are final. Between now and the predicted Q3 2021 release date, there’s a high chance that Apple will continue to tweak some of the design and feature changes that we’re discussing today.

It’s worth remembering that the M1-powered MacBook Pro was only released towards the end of 2020. However, that model featured similar internals to the current-generation Intel-powered MacBook Pro. Now, we might see a wholly different, refreshed MacBook Pro in 2021.