Apple plans to unveil new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro versions with Mini-LED-backlit screens in the second half of the year, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese supply chain book DigiTimes. The report asserts that Radiant Opto-Electronics are the exclusive supplier of the Mini-LED backlight units, while Quanta Computer is supposedly tasked with final meeting of the laptops.
The report lines up with information shared with renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who anticipates fresh 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro versions to start in the second half of the year with brighter Mini-LED screens, Apple silicon chips, a new layout using a flat-edged top and bottom, an HDMI port and SD card reader, classic MagSafe charging with a magnetic power cable, and bodily function keys rather than the Touch Bar.
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has also corroborated many of these details, and he was first to report that an SD card reader would be returning to the MacBook Pro.
Similar to the way the 16-inch MacBook Pro replaced the 15-inch MacBook Pro in 2019, the 14-inch model would probably replace the Intel-based 13-inch MacBook Pro that Apple currently sells, with slimmer bezels around the display allowing for the 14-inch MacBook Pro to have just a slightly larger footprint than the 13-inch model.
If all of these rumors pan out, it would be a substantial overhaul to the MacBook Pro, with many fan-favorite features coming. There's also lots of anticipation surrounding next-generation Apple silicon given the already-impressive functioning of the M1 chip in lower-end machines such as the MacBook Air and foundation version 13 MacBook Pro.
Since 2016, the MacBook Pro has only been equipped with Thunderbolt ports and a headphone jack, forcing users to buy adapters or docks to gain access to an HDMI port, SD card reader, USB-A interfaces, and other connectivity offered on older MacBook Pro models. Apple touted its "thinnest and lightest MacBook Pro ," but the decision was criticized by many users and became known as "dongle hell".
It's unclear exactly when Apple would announce the new MacBook Pro models. The "second half of 2021" timeframe could refer to a fall unveiling in September, October, or November, but the new MacBook Pro models could also be announced at WWDC in June and then begin shipping in July, which falls over the second half of this year. The interval given by Kuo is simply too broad to pinpoint an exact launch at the moment.
Apple is also widely rumored to be planning a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro using a Mini-LED screen for release in the first half of 2021, with some reports having promised that the device could be announced as early as March.