Apple Silicon in 2021

In the last few days, we’ve had rumors from both Ming-Chi Kuo (via 9to5 Mac) and Mark Gurman concerning the planned Apple silicon Macs (hopefully) for 2021. It looks like lots of interesting Macs are on the horizon.

14” and 16” MacBook Pro
There are two new rumored MacBooks Pro. The 14” design to replace the higher end 13” MacBook Pro has been rumored for years. These will likely get a souped-up version of the M1 with more cores and processing speed. It sounds like a new design and possibly a new screen technology. That part is expected. There are a few more tidbits I didn’t expect:

  • Demise of the Touch Bar. I’m actually starting to appreciate the Touch Bar. However, it may be going away with these new Macs.

  • New I/O. One rumor is that Apple will support additional connections. I find that one hard to believe. At best, I’d imagine an SD card slot, but we’ll find out soon enough.

  • There is also a rumored return of MagSafe for laptops. That would be amazing.

There are no rumors to this effect, but I would bet we’ll also get a second-tier Mac Mini (in a space gray case) with the same silicon as the new MacBooks Pro when they release.

The rumors are that we’ll get something similar to the look of the Pro Display XDR with a flat design on the front and back and removal, finally, of the iMac chin. It sounds like there will be two sizes, but they may both be bigger than this generation’s iMacs. It also isn’t clear whether these iMacs will get different Apple silicon than the iMacs Pro or not. There is also a rumored external monitor that will be more affordable than the Pro Display XDR.

This isn’t in the rumors, but I’d speculate that there will be two performance levels of the big new iMac, and the iMac Pro will go away.

Mac Pro
The prevailing rumors on this are that the existing Mac Pro will continue for the meantime to support Intel and the third-party ecosystem and peripherals around Intel.

The interesting secondary rumor is that Apple will make a separate smaller Mac Pro that will have a design similar to the G4 Cube. That Cube had a bunch of problems, but it was also a thing of beauty. I remember visiting a friend and lusting after his G4 Cube back in the day. With Apple silicon and its low thermals, I think it would be easy to build one in a cube. It would be a great capper to this Mac renaissance for Apple to make a cube Mac Pro.

Either way, it looks like we are going to have a lot of great options available to us once all this rolls out. I know it is against Apple’s DNA to share details ahead of time, but I really wish they would provide a product roadmap on this stuff. Many folks need to plan for buying new Macs (and Apple will most certainly sell a lot of them in the next few years). If we knew generally what’s coming, it’d be a lot easier to make intelligent decisions.