What the next MacBook Pro needs to knock it out of the park

Macbook Pro With M1 Chip using the trackpad
Macbook Pro With M1 Chip using the trackpad (Image credit: iMore)

Our team at iMore considers the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) the best MacBook of the year (for now). Despite this call, I still favor my 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1, 2020), which has been largely overshadowed by the cheaper Air model when both were released at the end of last year. Unlike some long-time MacBook users, I like Touch Bar, which is one of the only differences between the two well-reviewed laptop models.

In the coming weeks, Apple's expected to announce radical changes to the MacBook Pro lineup. Among the many things I hope to see from the next MacBook Pro lineup is more distance between it and the MacBook Air.

Over the years, especially with the 13-inch MacBook Pro, there have seemed like fewer "Pro" reasons to choose Apple's more expensive laptop over the MacBook Air and even the now-discontinued MacBook.

The many rumors suggest Apple has finally recognized the concerns and plans to correct them by introducing an all-new 14-inch MacBook Pro and second-generation 16-inch MacBook Pro before the end of the year.

Here's a look at the features I hope we'll be seeing on these most anticipated new models.

No Touch Bar, then what?

The new MacBooks Pros are expected to ditch the long-criticized Touch Bar component, which Apple introduced in 2016, but never seemed to embrace. Love it or hate it, Touch Bar was one of the ways one could tell the difference between the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models.

With no Touch Bar, Apple's going to have to bring something to the table to continue to justify the price differences between the two types of MacBooks. Cupertino will likely achieve this by introducing a successor to the M1 SoC, which has been on every Apple silicon-based Mac to date, including the current MacBook Air and entry-level version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

That successor, the "M1X," is also certainly coming and will serve a starring role in both new MacBook Pro models. With a better SoC in place, the new laptops should also have more RAM and internal storage at the entry-level. These three advances should be more than enough to make us forget Touch Bar.

They're all Pro, Apple

I like the idea of an all-new 14-inch MacBook Pro being added to the MacBook Pro lineup. I'm assuming that eventually, it will replace the 13-inch model, although I expect them both in the lineup in the foreseeable future. With that being said, I hope the only thing differentiating the 14 and 16-inch models, at least on an entry-level basis, is the display size.

Some folks don't want or need a larger display, and there's no reason to penalize those folks for going small. This means both models should feature the same number of ports, colors options, and, yes, the same version of Apple silicon.

Speaking of colors

It wasn't that long ago when you could get an iPhone or iPad in any color — as long as it was silver and space gray. That's no longer the case across various Apple product lines, even the 24-inch iMac is available in multiple color choices.

Over at the MacBook Pro, unfortunately, we're still left with the same silver and space gray we've grown to accept, if not love. I don't expect $3,000 MacBook Pros suddenly to be offered in Pacific Blue or Midnight Green. And yet, I don't think it's asking too much for Apple to at least add one or two new colors to the lineup. A good starting point: how about an all-black MacBook Pro model?

More and cheaper storage

The 16-inch MacBook offers storage of up to 8TB, while the current 13-inch version maxes out at 4TB. I don't know anyone who needs more than 8TB of internal storage on a laptop. And yet, it's probably time for Apple to at least offer more for those who want. And yet, I'm also hoping the company decides to lower the price for storage upgrades to more reasonable levels.

Consider the entry-level 16-inch MacBook Pro currently starts at $2,399, which gives you 512GB of SSD storage. Increasing this number to the maximum of 8TB adds $2,400 to the final price. We can't blame this one on inflation since the 16-inch MacBook Pro came out in 2019. Instead, pure profit is what's driving the outlandish prices Apple and many others charge for additional storage. It wouldn't be asking too much for Apple to even-so-slightly lower the price of storage on its new MacBook Pro models and give buyers a break.

Celebrate the ports

Assuming the rumors are correct, Apple's going to correct an unfortunate wrong by re-introducing non-USB-C ports on the new MacBook Pro models. There's not much I can say on this point except that it's about time.

Long live the many ports!

Move past Intel, now

Last year, I was among the first to experience an Apple silicon-based Mac, the previously mentioned 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1. This entry-level model comes with an 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, and 8GB of unified RAM. Besides being a beautiful device, it completely blew away my older laptop, which has a 2.2 GHz 6-Core Intel Core i7 with 16GB of RAM.

Understandably, a laptop that's two years newer will perform very well against an older one, often no matter the internals. And yet, there's no denying, in this case, I was putting an entry-level $1,300 computer against one that cost three times as much as a mid-priced selection. That's impressive, no?

With that being said, Apple would be wise to get past Intel across its entire Mac lineup sooner rather than later. This means ditching the 13-inch MacBook Pro versions that support Intel during the upcoming refresh.

Having an all-Apple silicon lineup will go a long way in showing would-be buyers just how much better MacBooks with Apple internals are versus the Intel-based competition over at HP, LG, and the other companies offering Windows-based machines.

Your thoughts?

We'll know Apple's plans very soon. The iPhone maker is expected to announce new products as early as next month. What would you like to see on the next MacBook Pro models? Speak up and let us know in the notes below.

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.