14-inch MacBook Pro
Last updated: 1 week ago
While Apple has updated its 13-inch MacBook Pro with Apple Silicon, there are still rumors about a future refresh. Since the 15-inch MacBook Pro saw a screen size increase to 16 inches, it is believed that the smaller one will see a similar increase. The latest revision occurred in November 2020, and rumors point to a potential 2021 release of this updated model.
● Announcement and release in 2021
● New 14.1-inch Retina Display
● Micro LED could be introduced
● Apple Silicon
● Magic Keyboard
Apple's smallest professional computer is nearing its inevitable redesign after the 16-inch MacBook Pro received a screen-size update in late 2019. A new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Apple Silicon released in November, putting into question when a 14-inch MacBook Pro could potentially launch in 2021.
14-inch MacBook Pro Potential Features
Rumors about Apple's unreleased products continually churn, but usually provide some insight into what may be released next. With the recent update to the 13-inch MacBook Pro, very little is known about what could come for the 14-inch refresh beyond the screen size update.
Apple's custom processors have powered iPhone and iPad for years, and now they are being used in the Mac. The entry-level models of the late-2020 13-inch MacBook Pro use the Apple-made M1 chip, which improves performance over the 10th-generation Intel chips in the early-2020 equivalents. The version of the M1 in the new MacBook Pro has an eight-core CPU and an eight-core GPU. Apple says the new notebook is up to 2.8x faster with 5x faster graphics than its early 2020 counterpart.
The 14-inch MacBook Pro would likely include either a higher-powered M1 chip or new Apple Silicon updated for 2021.
After years of the butterfly keyboard's increased failure rates and reported stickiness and repeating keys, Apple finally found a suitable replacement in the 2020 MacBook updates. The Magic Keyboard uses a new scissor-switch mechanism, which has 1mm of travel and is thought to be more resilient than its predecessor.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro finally received this new keyboard in its early-2020 refresh, and Apple retained the mechanism for the late-2020 MacBook models. It would return in the 14-inch model in 2021.
As with the other Touch Bar MacBook Pro, the 14-inch model is expected to have the physical escape key. User frustration over a digital escape key, one without tactile feedback that could disappear during use, must have been heard loud and clear.
Each device with a Magic Keyboard has keys that are spaced slightly further apart for better ergonomics. There is a distinctive click to the keyboard but is not as loud as the 2016 butterfly mechanism.
A much-desired change to the arrow keys has also been applied to the Magic Keyboard. The inverted-T arrangement with half spaced left and right arrow keys makes it much easier to find keys when touch typing. The up and down keys take up the space of a single key but are distinguishable by feel.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro gained extra inches and extra pixels. If the 13-inch MacBook Pro will be upgraded to a bigger display, then a higher resolution is likely as well.
Rumors point to a 14.1-inch Retina Display. This is the size you would get from slightly extending the screen into the current bezel space of the 13-inch, which provides a more immersive experience without affecting the physical size of the MacBook Pro itself.
Since the other specifications of the 16-inch screen did not change, it is unlikely the 14-inch will either. 500 nits of brightness with a P3 color gamut is still well placed in a professional laptop, however.
Some rumors point to a 2020 MacBook Pro refresh with Mini LED. The 14-inch MacBook Pro that is expected in May could have such screen technology, alongside a refreshed 16-inch, but it is unlikely. Mini LED could still show up in 2021 across several Apple product updates.
Other 14-inch MacBook Pro updates
The microphones are likely to get the same treatment as the other Apple laptops. Apple introduced three "studio-grade" microphones positioned about the keyboard for better capture without the need for an external mic.
The current 13-inch MacBook Pro has two or four Thunderbolt 3 ports depending on the processor configuration, with the higher-specification variant having more ports. This may change with the newer model or could continue being limited.
Due to the latest Thunderbolt 3 specs brought by new Intel processors, it will be able to drive displays up to 6K, including the Pro Display XDR.
Regulation filings with China and Korea show that Apple is preparing a new battery for a MacBook Air sized machine. The new battery could be used in the 14-inch MacBook Pro as well.
Common 14-inch MacBook Pro questions
When will Apple release the 14-inch MacBook Pro?
Apple will likely release the re-designed MacBook Pro in 2021 according to Jon Prosser. The new model was expected originally in 2020, but the spring and fall updates to the 13-inch MacBook Pro pushed that back.
How much will the 14-inch MacBook Pro cost?
The 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,299 and will be replaced by the new 14-inch model when it launches. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that Apple Silicon chips might make future models more expensive. However, this was not the case with the first wave of M1-equipped Macs.
Will the 14-inch MacBook Pro use Intel or Apple Silicon?
Apple launched the first Macs with Apple Silicon, and the company will complete the transition over the next two years. As the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro uses Apple Silicon, the upcoming 14-inch model will as well.