Apple is predicted to release two new MacBook Pro models sporting an "all-new design form factor" and a multitude of hardware changes in the third quarter of 2021, according to noted TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Kuo in a note to investors on Friday said he expects Apple to launch MacBook Pro variants boasting 14- and 16-inch displays, both of which will sport a new "flat-edged" look that is more in line with the company's modern design language. The first of those angular devices was the 2018 iPad Pro, with last year's iPhone 12 series closely following suit.
The next-generation MacBook Pro models are anticipated to resurrect MagSafe for Mac and ditch the much-maligned OLED Touch Bar in favor of physical function buttons, according to the analyst. Some users laud the Touch Bar's flexibility, but the component's utility has not been fully realized as only a handful of developers incorporate dynamic controls in their respective apps.
It appears Apple is listening to calls for more connectivity options in its high-end laptop lineup, as Kuo says the upcoming devices will feature a wider variety of ports. Exact specifications were not shared, though the analyst believes most users will no longer need to tote around converter dongles.
According to Kuo, Apple will move the new models to heat pipe thermal designs similar to the current 16-inch MacBook Pro, enabling more headroom for high-performance, high-heat chips.
Intel versions of the upcoming MacBook Pro models are not expected, meaning Apple will rely on the M1 chip or a more powerful version that has not yet been announced.
MacBook shipments are predicted to grow 25-30% year over year to hit 20 million units in 2021, with the redesigned models accounting for 60-70% of all shipments, according to Kuo.