Apple has unveiled a redesigned MacBook Pro with a 14-inch screen, Apple’s new M1 Pro and Max chips, a notch, and more ports than the standard Thunderbolt ones — the HDMI port and SD card reader have been restored, and a MagSafe 3 charging connector has been added (though you can also charge it with the Thunderbolt ports if your house is littered with USB-C power bricks). It costs $1,999 and can be ordered: “right now.”
It boasts a 14.2″ 120Hz ProMotion MiniLED display dubbed “Liquid Retina Pro XDR” by Apple. It has thinner bezels than the previous version, but it also has a notch that holds a 1080p webcam but not Apple’s FaceID system. The 14-inch variant has a resolution of 3024 by 1964 pixels and can provide 1000 nits of steady brightness and 1600 nits of peak brightness.
Apple’s new M1 Pro or M1 Max CPUs can be used in the 14-inch MacBook Pro. Both have 10 CPU cores, with the Pro having a 14- or 16-core GPU and the Max having 24- and 32-core GPUs. The new MacBook Pro comes standard with 16GB of RAM, but you can upgrade to 32GB or 64GB with the M1 Pro or M1 Max.
In comparison to its 13-inch cousin, the 14-inch MacBook Pro adds a third Thunderbolt port to its list of new (or returning) connectors. The Thunderbolt ports have been upgraded from Thunderbolt 3 on prior models to Thunderbolt 4.
The update is the first substantial overhaul of Apple’s pro laptop portfolio since 2016 when the company introduced the ill-fated butterfly keyboards, the Touch Bar, and Thunderbolt 3 as the lone port type (with the exception of a headphone jack, of course).
It also marks the return of Apple’s mid-size 14-inch display, which hasn’t been seen on a laptop since the iBook G4 in 2005. However, this laptop appears to be an about-face by Apple, as the ports were removed in the 2016 makeover, and now they’re back. In 2016, Apple introduced the Touch Bar, which has since been replaced by a series of function keys.
It’s wonderful to see Apple distinguishing the smaller MacBook Pros more clearly. For the previous three years, the lineup has been a little confusing – the two-port MacBook Pro and four-port 13-inch machines were awkwardly jumbled together, although they were very different systems with different processors and costs. The screen size difference now makes the distinction clear: those searching for portability can get the Air or 13-inch Pro, while those looking for greater horsepower can have the 14-inch Pro.