New MacBook Pro for Apple Spring Event hinted at in official database

Three new devices running macOS 12 have been registered by Apple for launch soon – let the deduction begin!

MacBook in shadow with white question mark over it
(Image credit: Future)

It's expected that Apple's Spring Event will happen soon, and anticipation for what might be announced has just been boosted by a second set of mysterious Apple products spotted in the Eurasian Economic Commissions regulatory database. There are three new entries, all of which are stated to run macOS 12, two of which are "personal computers" according to Google Translate, and one of which is a "portable personal computer", aka a laptop, aka a MacBook.

Updated: And now a new leak to MacRumors says that the laptop will be a 13-inch MacBook Pro with a new M2 processor.

The filings were spotted by Consomac (via MacRumors), and they mean that Apple is officially planning a launch soon of products that it identified only by a model code, but the need to list what software platform they run gives us some pretty big clues to what they are.

You might remember the EEC previously spilled the beans about an iPad and iPhone coming soon, which are almost certainly the new iPad Air and iPhone SE 3.

What will these Macs actually be? Well, that's the tough question. It's unlikely that the two desktop models are the new 27-inch iMac Pro, because all the latest leaks say that won't be ready until slightly later in the year. Assuming that's true, my money's on them being Mac Mini models with the M1 Pro and M1 Max processors used in the MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch (2021) models.

As for the potential laptop, at this point I'm going to guess that it's an entry-level 14-inch MacBook Pro designed to replace the current MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020). It would probably swap the mini-LED display for a regular IPS edge-lit panel, and would include the regular M1 processor instead of the M1 Pro. That could shave lots off the price, and would mean Apple has totally retired the older design of MacBook Pro. 

It would also leave a clearer difference between the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro from now: the Pro gives you a bigger screen, more ports, and probably a major step up in battery life. And the Air gets to stay focused on being thin and light.

M2 on the horizon?

There is another possibility, which is that Apple is ready to launch the M2 processor, and the products we're talking about are replacements for the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) and current M1 Mac Mini at the next event.

This seems unlikely: again, current leaks suggest that Apple is planning to launch the  MacBook Air 2022 with a full redesign later in the year, and I'd expect that to be the first machine we see with the M2 processor, since it's Apple's best-selling computer.

Update: Well, maybe I'm dead wrong about this. A leaker who proved reliable late last year has told MacRumors that the new laptop will be a MacBook Pro with the new M2 chip, which will feature more power (though still eight processor cores), and up to a 10-core GPU. Otherwise, it will be borderline identical.

This would probably mean that the desktop computers are Mac Minis with the M2 as well, rather than with the M1 Pro and M1 Max.

I still find this very odd. Surely this will put some people off the MacBook Air, since we'll know that an M2 version is coming… but reports say that it could be 6-8 months away. That's a long period of potentially reduced sales of Apple's most popular laptop for it to live with…

Original story continues: So I wouldn't put my money on this, but some will wonder about the model numbers of the new machines: A2615, A2686, A2681. They all start with 'A26'. The 2021 MacBook Pros with M1 Pro all start with 'A24'. The M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13-inch start with 'A23'.

So is the model number a hint of a new type of processor inside? Probably not: the 24-inch iMac (2021) and iPhone 13 used 'A24' model numbers – and, in fact, in some regions the iPhone 13 used 'A26' model numbers, so it seems to just be that Apple has decided to tick up the numbers, and someone didn't like 'A25'.

Matthew Bolton

Matt is T3's former AV and Smart Home Editor (UK), master of all things audiovisual, overseeing our TV, speakers and headphones coverage. He also covered smart home products and large appliances, as well as our toys and games articles. He's can explain both what Dolby Vision IQ is and why the Lego you're building doesn't fit together the way the instructions say, so is truly invaluable. Matt has worked for tech publications for over 10 years, in print and online, including running T3's print magazine and launching its most recent redesign. He's also contributed to a huge number of tech and gaming titles over the years. Say hello if you see him roaming the halls at CES, IFA or Toy Fair. Matt now works for our sister title TechRadar.