On 4 May 2020 Apple updated the MacBook Pro for 2020 - adding 10th generation processors and more RAM to the superior models and increasing the storage in the entry-level options. However, the company may not be done with the MacBook Pro for 2020. But the mid-range 13in MacBook Pro models that were updated in May 2020 may still have some changes to come if rumours that Apple will be addressing the design to allow for larger 14in screens.
In this article we will look at the rumoured 14in MacBook Pro said to be in the works at Apple.
New 14in MacBook Pro release date
The rumoured 14in MacBook Pro could appear at the same time as the eagerly anticipated Apple Silicon update to the entry level 13in MacBook Pro model, so we may see this in October as well. However it's possible that the 14in MacBook Pro won't appear until 2021 so prepare yourself for disappointment.
Ming-Chi Kuo had suggested that the 14in MacBook Pro would be here by the end of 2020, but in recent months he has suggested that Apple's plans had been pushed back to 2021 because it was hoping to use mini-LED displays in the new models.
Twitter user L0vetodream and Jon Prosser both seem to agree that the 14in MacBook Pro will come in 2021:
100%— Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser) May 11, 2020
When the 16in MacBook Pro launched in November 2019 (16in MacBook Pro reviewed here) it benefited from a bigger screen made possible by reduced bezels (you can see the difference in the image above: the old model is on the left). Following the arrival of that model there have been rumours that Apple might replace the current 13in MacBook Pro with a model with a bigger screen.
This doesn't mean that the dimensions of the current 13in model will change - the thinking is that Apple could produce a 14in MacBook Pro by reducing the bezels around the display. It's worth noting that the 13in MacBook Pro actually measures 13.3in.
However, it's possible the 14in MacBook Pro may never transpire. Apple's Phil Schiller, when asked about the likelihood of a larger display for the 13in MacBook Pro back in November 2019, told YouTube personality Jonathan Morrison: "I wouldn't draw any extrapolation from [the 16in MacBook Pro] to anything else."
Despite what Schiller said, we do think it's possible that the 13in MacBook Pro will gain a bigger display like the 16in MacBook did, but there could be even more in store for the new display. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has suggested that Apple will add a Mini-LED display to the MacBook Pro (and various other products it makes, including the iPad Pro).
Kuo suggested in a March 2020 investor note that Apple will replace its 13in MacBook Pro with a 14.1in model with mini-LCD display.
However, that new display technology might not arrive until later in 2020 or even 2021. Kuo had previously suggested that a 16in model with mini LED could launch in the fourth quarter of 2020, but he later noted that Coronavirus related delays might mean that the change to mini-LCD displays might slip back to 2021.
Another thing we'd love to see on the MacBook Pro is a touch screen. We discuss why it is time for Apple to change its mind and start offering Macs with touch screens here: Why Apple needs a touch screen Mac. One key reason why we need touch on the Mac: the fact that the Apple Silicon transition should make it possible to use iOS apps on the Mac and iOS means touch...
New Features & Spec
Whether there is a design overhaul or not it is likely that there will be changes on the inside in terms of processor and potentially storage options. Below we will look at the specs we expect to see inside the new MacBook Pro models.
There were some design changes in the inside of the 16in MacBook Pro that could translate to the new 13in models. There were changes to the internal thermal management - larger heat sink and changes to the fan design, rearranged logic board for better heat dispersal. Probably necessary in part to accommodate the larger 100W battery and the extra 12W power.
To recap, right now you'll find the following:
13in MacBook Pro
- 1.4GHz Quad-core i5 8th-generation (TB 3.9GHz), Iris Plus Graphics 645, 8GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 RAM, two Thunderbolt ports. 256GB - £1,299/$1,299, 512GB - £1,499,$1,499
- 2.0GHz Quad-Core i5 10th-generation (TB 3.8GHz), Intel Iris Plus Graphics, 16GB 3733MHz LPDDR4X RAM, four Thunderbolt ports. 512GB - £1,799/$1,799, 1TB Storage - £1,999/$1,999
16in MacBook Pro
- 2.6GHz Six-core i7 9th-generation (TB 4.8GHz), AMD Radeon Pro 5300M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory, 16GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory, four Thunderbolt ports: 512GB, £2,399
- 2.3GHz Eight-core i9 9th-generation (TB 4.5GHz), AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory, 16GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory, four Thunderbolt ports: 1TB, £2,799
Apple's revealed that future Macs will run in Apple Silicon - the name it is giving to its home-made processors. Read more about Apple's processor plans here.
If Apple also launches 14in MacBook Pro later this year or early in 2021 it is likely that it will offer an Apple Silicon processor. We have examined what Apple Silicon could bring and how it will compare to Intel here: Apple Silicon vs Intel.
The current 2.0GHz MacBook Pro offers Intel Iris Plus Graphics, which are integrated with the Intel processor. Apple's hinted that it will be integrating its own GPU onto the new Apple Silicon processor and it says we can expect "higher performance GPUs" inside these new Macs.
In a developer document Apple said: "The integrated GPU in Apple processors is optimized for high performance graphics tasks".
Apple is expecting the move to Apple Silicon to open the door to more powerful games on the Mac.
The 2.0GHz 13in MacBook Pro on sale now offers 16GB RAM as standard.
We wouldn't expect the RAM option to change from that in the new 14in model.
Speakers & Microphone
The 16in MacBook Pro has improved speakers with deeper bass and a noise-cancelling microphone. Will the 14in models gain the same update at some point?
Possibly we may see an improvement, although not on the same level. The improvements in the 16in may not be possible in the limited space of the smaller model: there are three speakers on each side of the 16in MacBook Pro (two of which are woofers). The smaller model may simply be unable to accommodate this: even if the screen is 14in the size of the Mac is unlikely to change significantly.
As for the microphone, the 13in model probably doesn't need the three-mic 'studio' array required by professional creative users.
The 16in MacBook Pro has a 100W battery (which is the biggest battery allowed in laptops before they would be banned from planes). This bigger battery means the 16in model now offers 11 hours of use.
The 13in model has a 58.2W battery in the entry-level 1.4GHz models and a 58W battery in the 2.4GHz models. Both offer 10 hours use.
It's possible that Apple Silicon will make it possible for Apple to achieve more battery life from the smaller models: The MacBook Air, for example, offers 12 hours battery life with a 49.9W battery, so it must be possible.
Face ID and Webcam
We'd love to see a better FaceTime camera on the MacBook. The MacBook Pro still offers a 720p camera. As a comparison the FaceTime camera (aka Selfie camera) on the iPhone 11 range offers 1080p HD video recording and a 12MP camera. Apple really needs to up its game with this camera, something that has become very apparent in this age of video conferencing.
The iPhone 11 camera is TrueDepth, so it also offers Face ID - something we'd like to see appear on the MacBook range. It looks like we might indeed get Face ID on the Mac - the Big Sur beta contains code that hints that the TrueDepth camera is coming to the Mac.
Another thing that the iPhone 11 range offers is 802.11ax WiFi 6. As yet this hasn't appeared on any Mac laptop or desktop. This is something that we'd like to see but it seems unlikely that the smaller MacBook Pro model would get it before the 16in model.