Apple's new 14-inch MacBook Pro to bring back MagSafe and plentiful ports, and drop the Touch Bar

At this rate, it'll come with a bag of puppies too…

MacBook Pro 16 inch
(Image credit: Future)

If you main issue with the new M1 MacBook Pro was that it was a bit too much like the old ones, then there's great news coming: the next 2021 MacBook Pros are going to bring a radical new design, and will bring back some lost features in a way that would make us very, very happy.

That’s according to noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in an investors’ note obtained by MacRumors. Kuo says Apple is about to make the most significant design update to the MacBook Pro in the last five years.

There will be two new MacBook Pros, a brand new 14-inch MacBook Pro and a new 16-inch MacBook Pro. They will have a flat-edged design that Kuo says is similar to the iPhone 12: the curves of the current model are no more. 

The divisive Touch Bar is getting the boot too: Apple is returning to physical function keys instead of the current context-sensitive touch screen. We’ll admit to being a bit nonplussed by the Touch Bar at first but some of us have grown to love it, so it’d be a shame to see it go. 

While the Touch Bar is gone, an old favourite is returning: according to Kuo, the MagSafe connector is coming back in these new Macs. We’re unsure what that actually means: MagSafe was purely for your Mac’s power supply, which is currently handled by the more flexible USB-C ports in the current MacBook Pro. Perhaps there will be the option to power it over USB-C or a new MagSafe connector depending on your needs.

More ports! More power!

On the subject of ports, the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021) will have more than the 13-inch, which currently has just two USB-C connectors. The promise from Kuo is that people won't need as many adapters, so perhaps that means the return of regular USB ports and an HDMI port. If you’ve moved to the M1 MacBook Pro from an Intel Mac as we have, you’ll share our enthusiasm for the idea of MacBooks that don’t leave you drowning in dongles to connect all your kit.

As you’d expect, these new Macs are going to run Apple Silicon. As we reported last week, Apple is working on more powerful M series processors and a 12-core MacBook Pro is expected to be launched in March with an M1X processor. The current M1 MacBook Pro has eight cores. Even more powerful processors are in development.

Apple is also working on the graphics processors in its Apple Silicon, and it is reportedly testing M series processors with 16 and 32 cores, with the prospect of 64 or even 128 graphics cores in 2022.

The future for Apple laptops is clearly very bright, and we can’t wait to get our hands on the new MacBooks – although we still reckon the M1 MacBook Air is going to be the best laptop for most people. But for pro users there’s no such thing as too much power or too many ports.

In the meantime, don't forget to check out our picks of the best lightweight laptops, best laptops for students, and best monitors for MacBook Pro.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (