MacBook Pro Overview Updated March 18, 2021

MacBook Pro: The biggest and baddest Mac laptops

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861 'MacBook Pro' stories

August 2010 - April 2021

MacBook Pro has been the product name for Apple’s high-end laptop since early 2006 when the transition to Intel processors began. It has a storied history with many different models, and has lived through at least distinguishable generations. Here’s everything you need to know about the MacBook Pro at a high level, including a brief history and look at the most recent models.

MacBook Pro history

The aluminum build of the first generation models was significant, while the second generation took that innovation to the next level with a metal unibody. Then, the third generation MacBook Pro line introduced the famed Retina display, while the fourth generation brought the infamous Touch Bar and USB-C ports. The fifth generation models brought back the Magic Keyboard after years of Butterfly Keyboard madness, and the most recent sixth generation models brought the laptops into modern times with Apple Silicon.

Current generation 16-inch MacBook Pro

In November of 2019, Apple released a new high-end 16-inch MacBook Pro which replaced the 15-inch lineup. The model brings the return of the scissor switch mechanism with a ‘Magic Keyboard’, a six-speaker system, up to 8-core processor, and up to 64GB RAM.

In a statement, Apple VP Tom Boger described it as featuring a “larger display, blazing-fast performance, the biggest battery possible, the best notebook keyboard ever, awesome speakers and massive amounts of storage”.

The laptop brought a larger display, great performance, the biggest battery physically possible (literally — it’s the largest battery you can still carry on a plane), and high performance speakers. The keyboard is great, bringing back the inverted T arrow key.

While it’s not an Apple Silicon model (those are rumored to be coming later), Apple improved the thermal performance in the 16-inch model. The new models feature 6- and 8-core CPUs and up to 64GB RAM, and GPUs that offer up to 2.1 times faster graphics performance than the previous standard configuration.

Apple is claiming this is the first notebook in the world to offer an 8 TB option for internal storage. As standard, it now comes with 512GB SSD — double the previous generation. With the release of the 16-inch MacBook Pro, Apple discontinued the older 15-inch model.

16-inch pricing

There are two main base models for the 16-inch MacBook Pro: an i7 model with 512GB of storage and an i9 model with 1TB of storage. You can check Amazon prices below, or configure your own at Apple.

16-inch MacBook Pro i7 (Check Amazon)

  • 2.6GHz 6-core 9th-generation Intel Core i7 processor
  • Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz
  • AMD Radeon Pro 5300M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory
  • 16GB of 2666MHz DDR4 memory
  • 512GB of SSD storage¹
  • 16-inch Retina display with True Tone
  • Magic Keyboard
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports

16-inch MacBook Pro i9 (Check Amazon)

  • 2.3GHz 8-core 9th-generation Intel Core i9 processor
  • Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz
  • AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory
  • 16GB of 2666MHz DDR4 memory
  • 1TB of SSD storage¹
  • 16-inch Retina display with True Tone
  • Magic Keyboard
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports

Current-generation 13-inch MacBook Pro

Apple recently refreshed the 13-inch MacBook Pro, and with that refresh came one of the biggest changes to Apple’s lineup of laptops in quite some time: Apple Silicon. For right now, the difference between the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the 16-inch model are pretty major, and it all comes down to how the laptops fare in CPU performance. Both in raw performance and heat/battery consumption, the 13-inch models are better.

13-inch pricing

There are two main models for the 13-inch MacBook Pro: an M1 model with an 8-core CPU and 256GB of storage, and an M1 model with an 8 core CPU and 512GB of storage.

13-inch MacBook Pro 256GB (Check Amazon)

  • Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine
  • 8GB unified memory
  • 256GB SSD storage¹
  • 13-inch Retina display with True Tone
  • Magic Keyboard
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Force Touch trackpad
  • Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports

13-inch MacBook Pro 512GB (Check Amazon)

  • Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine
  • 8GB unified memory
  • 512GB SSD storage¹
  • 13-inch Retina display with True Tone
  • Magic Keyboard
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Force Touch trackpad
  • Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports

Differences between 13-inch and 16-inch models

In terms of size, the 16-inch is noticeably larger and heavier. In addition to the overall increase in footprint to accommodate the larger display, the 16-inch model is also around 1-pound heavier. You will notice slightly smaller bezels on the 16-inch model compared to the 13-inch. Here are all of the details:

Both the 13-inch and 16-inch are available in silver and space gray.

As mentioned, the biggest difference between the two MacBook Pro models sold by Apple is the CPU. Apple Silicon is a whole new ballgame, and until Apple launches a 16-inch model with the M1 or M2 chip, you might want to hold off on buying the larger one.

There’s also the display: the 16-inch MacBook Pro features a resolution of 3072×1920, which equates to a density of 226 pixels-per-inch (PPI). The 13-inch MacBook Pro features a resolution of 2560×1600, which equates to a density of 227 pixels-per-inch (PPI). Both displays feature things like Apple’s True Tone display technology for adaptable color temperature, a P3 color gamut, and more.

Perhaps a more apt comparison — apples to apples, no pun intended — would be the 13-inch MacBook Pro compared to the 13-inch MacBook Air. Both sport the M1 chip, and you can read about the differences here.

MacBook Pro Stories April 30, 2021

How much is your MacBook Pro worth right now?

The MacBook Pro is one of Apple’s most popular laptops, and for good reason. With the exception of some keyboard stumbles and minor issues throughout the years, it’s certainly one of the best computers for professionals of all kinds. But as is the case with any other device we own, there comes a time to sell it or trade it in for an upgrade. In this article, we’re going to help you understand which MacBook Pro you have and check on its trade in value…

MacBook Pro Stories April 28, 2021

2021 16-inch MacBook Pro will blow away the 13-inch model
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We’re expecting Apple to launch the 2021 16-inch MacBook Pro later this year, with Apple Silicon. It’s currently unclear whether Apple will label the chip an M1X or M2, but either way, we can expect some pretty dramatic performance improvements over the current M1-based 13-inch MacBook Pro (above).

Exceeding the performance of Intel’s high-end CPUs doesn’t look like much of a challenge, but matching or beating the high-end GPUs available in build-to-order versions of the Intel machines could take more work…

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MacBook Pro Stories April 22, 2021

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USB-C/Thunderbolt display options have really grown over the last couple of years. While Apple is making its own monitor again with the Pro Display XDR, it’s not the best fit for the majority of Mac users with a starting price of $5,000 (without a stand). Let’s take a look at some of the best USB-C/Thunderbolt displays available in the $400-$1,300 range.

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MacBook Pro Stories April 21, 2021

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We continue to learn more about what Apple has in store for the 2021 MacBook Pro update. As we detailed earlier, a hacker group called REvil is currently in the process of blackmailing Apple supplier Quanta. The group has released detailed documents showcasing the 2021 MacBook Pro logic board, including details and imagery of new ports.

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Update: The files also include an image that shows the I/O of a new MacBook Pro with USB-C, HDMI, and an SD card slot on the right-hand side of the machine.

A hacker group called REvil is currently in the process of blackmailing Apple supplier Quanta for about $50 million. The group claims to have thousands of leaked files that include information about upcoming Apple products.

9to5Mac has had a look at some of the files already released. The documents include technical specifications for Apple’s upcoming Apple Silicon MacBook Pro, with the codenames J314 and J316. These specs corroborates previous reports that the new MacBook Pro will feature MagSafe, HDMI and an SD card slot.

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MacBook Pro Stories April 20, 2021

Get cash in the best iPhone, iPad, and MacBook trade in deals for April 2021

It’s a new year, so perhaps you’re thinking about upgrading your suite of personal devices — or maybe you want to help a loved one do so. Whatever it is you’re planning to buy — a new iPhone, iPad, or other Apple device — it’s not an uncommon problem to not know what to do with the old devices you have laying around. Why not get some cash for them? The best trade deals for April 2021 below…

MacBook Pro Stories April 9, 2021

Brydge MacBook Vertical Dock review
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The Brydge MacBook Vertical Dock is the latest incarnation of what used to be Henge Docks. Brydge acquired the company back in 2019 and has continued to develop new models since then.

The concept of a laptop dock has been around for decades now. The basic idea is that you use the laptop as a standalone machine when mobile, then snap it into a dock when you return to your desk, to effectively turn it into a desktop computer. There are, though, two different takes on the idea …

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MacBook Pro Stories April 7, 2021

Intel shows off MacBook Pro in an ad for a processor Apple doesn’t use

Intel has been throwing a lot of shade at Apple since the company started the shift to its Apple Silicon chips with the first M1 Macs last fall. The most recent series of its “Go PC” ads even feature former “I’m a Mac” star Justin Long mocking the new M1 Macs. In an ironic move, Intel is now using the MacBook Pro in a new ad to promote “The world’s best processor on a thin and light laptop” that’s not found in any of Apple’s notebooks.

MacBook Pro Stories April 1, 2021

Defective Macs suffered from stage light pattern with backlight
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A federal judge has ruled that Apple is assumed* to have knowingly sold defective Macs, in response to an application for a class action lawsuit against the company. The lawsuit is over the MacBook Pro “stage light” fault, in which the backlight takes on the appearance of stage lighting at the bottom of the screen before later failing completely.

*Update: Legal commentators have pointed out that the judge has not ruled that Apple did so, but in deciding that there is merit to the case, he in law assumes the allegations to be true.

The judge said the court would also consider allegations that Apple deleted forum posts complaining about the issue …

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MacBook Pro Stories March 30, 2021

Apple patent describes configurable solid-state keyboard
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An Apple patent granted today describes a MacBook with a solid-state keyboard using an all-touch surface which can be reconfigured as the user desires.

A user working with numbers might opt for a large numeric keyboard, for example, while an artist might instead choose a large area for drawing …

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MacBook Pro Stories March 23, 2021

MacBook retractable keyboard patent
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Apple has long been on a mission to make MacBooks ever thinner, and a new patent granted today describes how a retractable keyboard could help.

Earlier patents suggest that Apple’s long-term goal is a completely solid-state keyboard, which uses electrostatic charges to allow users to “feel” keys so that touch-typing remains possible, and haptic motors to simulate key presses for the feel of a physical keyboard …

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MacBook Pro Stories March 22, 2021

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A judge has officially certified a class action lawsuit against Apple over its controversial butterfly keyboard design that plagued the MacBook lineup for years. As reported by the Verge, the lawsuit covers all of the MacBook models that feature a butterfly keyboard.

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MacBook Pro Stories March 19, 2021

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Intel has been getting quite aggressive in its recent campaigns against M1 Macs, as Apple is replacing the Intel processors in the Mac lineup with its own Apple Silicon chips. However, while trying to mock Apple, Intel showed exactly what we expect from the next generation MacBook Pro: an edge-to-edge display.

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MacBook Pro Stories March 11, 2021

How to factory reset your MacBook Pro before selling or giving it away

If you’re ready to sell or give away your existing Mac notebook or wipe it for another reason there are a few things you’ll want to do in addition to erasing the hard drive. Read along for how to factory reset your MacBook Pro and reinstall a fresh copy of macOS.

MacBook Pro Stories March 8, 2021

M1 MacBook Air vs Pro comparison
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Apple’s M1 MacBooks bring some major performance gains and at first glance, the new MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro seem quite similar. They have the same CPU/GPU, same ports, same FaceTime camera, and more. However, let’s take a closer look at the M1 MacBook Air vs Pro to see what differentiates the two to help you decide which to buy.

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MacBook Pro Stories February 25, 2021

16-inch MacBook Pro
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Apple impressed the industry with its M1 chip-based MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini last fall. Now we await an even more exciting round of professional hardware with the rumored 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro updates. Here’s everything we know so far.

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macOS custom app icons
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Apple has released macOS Big Sur 11.2.2. to the public today with a fix for MacBook Pro and MacBook Air users. Apple says the update “prevents” certain models from “incurring damage” when they are connected to third-party USB-C hubs and docks.

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Apple is expected to release a variety of new Apple Silicon-powered Macs this year, including new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros. A new supply chain report from Digitimes today backs expectations that the new 14-inch MacBook Pro will use mini-LED backlighting and be released in the second half of the year.

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MacBook Pro Stories February 23, 2021

2021 MacBook Pro ports dream or nightmare
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Based on recent supply-chain reports, the 2021 MacBook Pro ports could turn out to be either an IO dream or nightmare.

We today got a more detailed report about what to expect in terms of 2021 MacBook Pro ports, with noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo saying we should expect both an HDMI port and an SD card slot. Coupled to his earlier report of a new MagSafe power port, that’s a pretty dramatic change to the current models, which have just USB-C ports and a headphone socket.

But whether that’s an IO dream or nightmare depends on how Apple plans to implement the change…

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MacBook Pro Stories February 18, 2021

M1 MacBook Pro photo editing test
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An M1 MacBook Pro photo editing test found that the 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro running M1-optimized apps was faster than a ‘”beast” of a Windows desktop PC – despite the fact that the latter was specifically specced with photo editing in mind and had a massive 128 GB of RAM.

Professional photographer Andrew Hoyle said that he was “astonished” by the performance, and concludes that an M1 Mac is a safe bet for photographers looking to upgrade…

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MacBook Pro Stories February 10, 2021

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Alongside the release of macOS Big Sur 11.2.1 yesterday, Apple also launched a new battery replacement program for 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro users. Apple says the new program is valid for users who have MacBook Pro models that “have experienced an issue with the battery not charging past 1%.”

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MacBook Pro Stories February 9, 2021

MacBook Pro
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Following the release of macOS Big Sur 11.2.1 with fixes to a bug that prevented MacBook Pro battery from charging, Apple has just announced that the company will replace for free the batteries of 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro models that won’t charge past 1%.

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MacBook Pro Stories February 3, 2021

CalDigit’s new USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ‘Element Hub’ adds 7 ports to your MacBook

CalDigit is out today with an interesting new compact USB 4/Thunderbolt 4/USB-C dock. The Element Hub adds lots of I/O and bandwidth to connect your MacBook with new and legacy devices and 4K/8K displays.

MacBook Pro Stories January 28, 2021

Harber London leather backpack for MacBook Pro
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If Apple made a leather backpack for MacBook Pro models, I’m pretty sure it would look and feel a lot like the Harber London Slim Laptop Backpack.

Regular readers will know I’m a sucker for premium leather bags, and I’m an equal opportunity guy when it comes to different leather styles and finishes. But if you look at things like Apple’s leather sleeve for the MacBook Pro, it’s clear that the company favors extremely smooth and soft leather, at a price that reflects the quality – and that’s exactly what we get with this backpack …

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MacBook Pro Stories January 26, 2021

Apple patent describes titanium MacBook
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Apple already makes a titanium Apple Watch, but a patent granted today could pave the way for titanium MacBooks, iPads, and iPhones too.

The patent describes how Apple could overcome the challenge of giving titanium an aesthetically pleasing finish, and follows a patent granted last month regarding a method of making a true matte black MacBook

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MacBook Pro Stories January 25, 2021

Future of the Touch Bar?
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The future of the Touch Bar was thrown into doubt earlier this month thanks to separate reports from Ming-Chi Kuo and Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. The former said that the touch-sensitive strip was definitely being removed, while the latter said Apple was considering it.

There doesn’t seem to be any real consensus view of the Touch Bar, making it a tough call for Apple, but one Apple patent does describe a possible compromise approach that takes the company some way toward a fully dynamic keyboard …

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MacBook Pro Stories January 20, 2021

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Ming-Chi Kuo, a reliable supply chain analyst for TF International Securities, predicts a bold new class of MacBook Pros this year with MagSafe charging and I/O ports that won’t require dongles. What Kuo doesn’t forecast is a future for the Touch Bar, the strip of touchscreen panel Apple added to the MacBook Pro in 2016. Love or hate the Touch Bar, that’s a bad thing.

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MacBook Pro Stories January 19, 2021

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Popular Apple accessory maker TwelveSouth has announced its latest product for MacBook and iPad users. The new ParcSlope is an ergonomic stand designed with an 18-degree typing and sketching angle. It will be available directly from Apple via the Apple Online Store as well as Apple retail stores.

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MacBook Pro Stories January 18, 2021

check MacBook Pro display repair
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Apple has silently extended its worldwide program that offers free repair to 13-inch MacBook Pro models with display backlight issues. While the original program covered eligible laptops for four years after the first unit was sold, the company changed it today to five years.

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MacBook Pro Stories January 15, 2021

MacBook Pro
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We just got some exciting news from Ming-Chi Kuo and Bloomberg today about the next-generation MacBook Pro notebooks. While we already knew some of the details like 14- and 16-inch screen sizes and the move to Apple Silicon, an expansion of I/O beyond USB-C ports, the return of MagSafe, a new design, and more have now been predicted. What ports and features are you most interested to see return or arrive on the next-gen MacBook Pro lineup?

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2021 MacBook Pro render
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We’ve had a couple of reports today, each from solid sources, suggesting that we’ll see significant changes when the 2021 MacBook Pro models appear.

The two reports agree on most things, though there are some differences between them. Notably, Ming-Chi Kuo indicates that removal of the Touch Bar is a done deal, while Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman thinks it is merely being considered at this stage …

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Following a report from Ming-Chi Kuo offering a variety of new details on the 2021 MacBook Pro refresh, Bloomberg is out with its own report on the changes. The report adds additional details on the return of MagSafe, and teases a redesign for the MacBook Air.

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MacBook Pro Stories January 14, 2021

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Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo today released some interesting details about the upcoming MacBook Pro. Kuo describes this as the first major redesign of the laptop in five years, and will represent a significant upgrade over even the latest 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro. The new MacBook Pro will feature 14-inch and 16-inch sizes and feature ARM Apple silicon instead of Intel CPUs.

However, Kuo shares some much more surprising tidbits, namely that the Touch Bar will be gone in favor of physical function keys, the MagSafe charging connector returns along with more built-in IO ports that mean most users will not need to purchase additional dongles according to Kuo …

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MacBook Pro Stories January 7, 2021

2021 16-inch MacBook Pro concept image
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A new supply-chain report today says that we can expect to see a 2021 16-inch MacBook Pro with a miniLED screen. This is consistent with a recent report from noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Kuo said just over a month ago that we can expect to see two MacBook Pro models with an all-new form factor, as well as miniLED backlighting …

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MacBook Pro Stories December 23, 2020

check Universal macOS apps M1 support
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On the whole, Apple’s M1 MacBooks and Mac mini have been a hit with big improvements across the board. However, the improvements never end and Apple has been asking early M1 MacBook customers a list of questions in a new survey including what they would change about the new generation of computers. How about you, what would like to see with the next iteration of M1 MacBooks?

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MacBook Pro Stories December 7, 2020

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The M1 chip in the entry-level MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini lines already rivals high-end Intel CPUs. But a new report from Bloomberg indicates that Apple is confident it can fully leave Intel in the dust, as it works on next-generation Apple Silicon chips with higher power budgets.

Bloomberg says Apple is working on successors to the M1 with up to 20 CPU cores, made up of 16 high performance and 4-efficiency cores. In 2021, the company is expected to roll out ARM versions of the higher-end MacBook Pro, “both entry-level and high-end iMac desktops”. An ARM Mac Pro is scheduled to follow in 2022.

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MacBook Pro Stories December 4, 2020

A true matte black MacBook is hard to achieve
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If you’ve ever wished Apple made matte black MacBooks, a new patent shows that the company is at least considering the idea.

Apple begins by explaining the likely reason it hasn’t yet done it: it’s really hard to get a true black, rather than a dark grey …

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MacBook Pro Stories December 2, 2020

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Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is out with a new investor note today in which he focuses on Apple’s planned transition to mini LED display technology, as well as the possibility that Apple will release “2 or 3 new chargers in 2021.” Kuo reports today that the mini LED transition will happen faster than initially expected.

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MacBook Pro Stories December 1, 2020

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Has the transition from Intel to Apple silicon on the Mac surpassed all expectations? Watch our hands-on video as we discuss what makes Apple’s M1 MacBooks so special in our MacBook Air and MacBook Pro review.

Read more

MacBook Pro Stories November 23, 2020

Exterior design of M1 Macs
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Apple’s switch from Intel processors to Apple Silicon is the most significant change to the Mac lineup in many years, and yet the exterior design of M1 Macs has been left almost completely unchanged. A few function keys aside on the new MacBook Air, there is no clue that the new machines are radically different from the old ones.

Some believe this is a very deliberate move by the Cupertino company. I agree, but not for the reason that has mostly been suggested …

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MacBook Pro Stories November 19, 2020

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We continue to learn more about Apple’s new M1-powered MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. This afternoon, the folks over at iFixit have published their full teardowns of the new MacBooks, and things are incredibly similar to the Intel-powered predecessors.

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MacBook Pro Stories November 16, 2020

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Coming off record-breaking earnings for its fiscal Q3, Apple did it again for Q4. At the time, the company highlighted that new all-time records for Mac and Services were big factors in its September quarter success. Now we’ve got a look at how many Macs Apple may have shipped during its Q4 from Strategy Analytics.

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MacBook Pro Stories November 11, 2020

Apple's M1 chip
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A detailed analysis by AnandTech says that Apple’s M1 chip can indeed credibly claim to be the fastest laptop CPU in the world. Apple made the claim during yesterday’s Mac event.

While the piece does level a couple of criticisms at Apple’s presentation, it says that a comparison of A-series and Intel chip trajectories tell a very clear story: Apple has long been on-track to overtake the PC chipmaker, and has now done so …

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MacBook Pro Stories November 10, 2020

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Today Apple released its M1 chip for the 13-inch MacBook Air and Pro and Mac mini. Currently, for the MacBook Air, Apple is only offering the M1 chip starting at $999. But for the MacBook Pro and Mac mini, Intel processor models are still available from Apple for the time being.

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As Apple launched its new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro powered by its M1 custom Apple Silicon, we learned about the big performance gains to expect. Beyond processor and graphics performance, Apple says battery performance is seeing massive improvements giving them the “longest battery life ever in a Mac.” Here’s what Apple is rating battery runtime for the new MacBook Air and Pro.

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Apple has unveiled its first Macs with custom M1 chips. For its notebooks, those include the 13-inch MacBook Air and MacBook Pro and they come with what looks like some huge performance upgrades thanks to Apple’s custom M1 chip. While they also include improved FaceTime cameras, unfortunately, they’re still 720p.

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Here are all the best MacBook trade in values following Apple Silicon launch

The new MacBooks are here, and that means it’s time to trade in your old, clunky, slow computer! While we’re always keeping you in the loop on the best MacBook trade in deals in our roundups every month, here’s what we’re finding for trade in values for Macs all the way from older MacBook Air models to the new-ish 16-inch MacBook Pro…

Macbook Air
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After a long history of Intel-based Macs, top-tier computers from Apple running on Apple Silicon are finally coming. Regardless of which old Mac you have, moving to an Apple Silicon model will have its benefits — and if you are coming from an older model, it’s certain to be a huge performance upgrade. But what should you do about that aging Mac now that you’re planning to upgrade? Here’s how to trade in and recycle your old computer…

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