At the Keynotes event today (Oct 19), Apple unveiled a lineup of Macbook Pros—part of their two-year plan to completely transition from its Intel-based Macs to ones containing their own Apple Silicon chips.
The M1 chips, which have been put into the current 13-inch Macbook Pro, Macbook Air and Mac Mini lineup, have received rave reviews for their efficiency and processing speeds when it was first launched in November 2020. Obviously, when it comes to the Macbook Pro range, which is due for a refresh, we expected a lot—but Apple definitely delivered.
Two new chips
For months, people had been speculating that the chip that will form the core of the Macbook Pro lineup would be named “M1X”, inadvertently setting expectations that there was going to be just one upgraded M1 chip. But at the unveiling, we were treated to two chips instead — the M1 Pro and M1 Max.
These chips feature a unified memory, which in simple terms is the memory that both the GPU and CPU access. Traditionally, both the GPU and CPU have independent memory, which requires a back and forth transfer of data between the GPU and CPU to process them. Having a unified memory means better efficiency—allowing for less power consumption and freeing up memory for graphic-intensive workflows.
The M1 Pro features a new 10-core CPU and performs 70 percent faster than the M1 chip. It can be configured up to 32Gb of fast unified memory, allowing you to take on more graphic-demanding processes with ease.
The M1 Max is the fastest chip that Apple has created. It also has the same 10-core CPU as the M1 Pro but with a whopping 32-core GPU for faster graphics processing. With its efficient processing, Macbook Pros fitted with the M1 Max chip consume less power (yay better battery life!), which in turn requires less cooling from the fans. This means the laptops will now run quieter. The M1 Max is configurable with up to 64Gb of unified memory.
MagSafe’s back, alright
A feature we’ve all been missing—MagSafe—returns to the Macbook Pro with an updated design. The new Macbook Pros feature fast charging for the first time, allowing you to charge up to 50 percent of the battery in just 30 minutes.
For years, users have been lamenting the lack of ports and having to lead the #donglelife but that’s all about to change with the new Macbook Pros. Along with the MagSafe3 charging port, the Macbook Pros also feature three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an SD card slot, an HDMI port, as well as a headphone jack. This means you’re able to connect external screens (up to three with Macbook Pros that are fitted with the M1 Max chip), transfer videos and photos from your camera and connect various other peripherals without the need for a dongle or external card reader.
New camera and screen
Apple finally upgraded the camera systems on the Macbook Pros. Formerly at just 720p, the cameras are now 1080p, with better resolution and low-light performance.
The screens are fitted with the Liquid Retina XDR display with the mini-LED technology as seen on the iPad Pro. It has incredible dynamic range and contrast and features ProMotion—the adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz, just like the latest iPhone 13 Pro series.
The bezels are now smaller and extend around the camera, giving you that familiar camera notch like the iPhones. However, the MacOS integrates this notch into their menu bars, making them invisible when in Night Mode.
Related article: Everything You Need To Know About The New iPhone 13, iPad, iPad mini and Watch Series 7
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With its power-efficient M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, you can expect better battery life with the new MacBook Pros. The 14-inch model delivers up to 17 hours of video playback, up seven hours from its predecessor. The 16-inch model gives you up to 21 hours of video playback, 10 additional hours compared to the precious 16-inch version. The MacBook Pro delivers the same level of performance whether it is plugged in or not—unlike other Pro PC notebooks that lose performance when they are not plugged in.
The new 14-inch MacBook Pro model starts at $2,999, and the 16-inch MacBook Pro model starts at $3,749.