A few days ago, I tripped over my 2017 MacBook Pro’s power cable, pulling the computer to the floor which it greeted with a loud crash. As the images of all the important data I have on there flashed in front of my eyes, I wished that this new machine still had the MagSafe connector like my ancient MacBook Pro from 2011.
This dream could become a reality in future MacBooks. According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors), Apple is working on two new MacBook Pro laptops, one with a 14-inch and the other with a 16-inch display. Kuo says these new laptops will have a flat-edged design — think iPhone 12 and its flat sides — and will be powered by Apple’s new M1 chips, with no Intel-based options available.
But in a move that’s largely unprecedented, Apple will back down on several of its decisions and restore many beloved features which have been removed from new MacBooks. One of them is the MagSafe connector, a nifty magnetic port that makes sure your laptop doesn’t get pulled when you trip over the power cable. MagSafe is one of those cool, unique Apple innovations that made the company’s products special, and many users — me included — were sad to see it gone.
Kuo says the MagSafe charging connector design is “restored,” implying that the new design will be similar to the old one. Apple had two styles of MagSafe adapters: the T-Style and the L-Style; there’s no saying on which design gets resurrected, though in my experience both worked quite well. It’s worth noting that iPhone 12 has its own MagSafe connector, which is a circular, magnetic wireless charging pad and — besides the magnetic part — has little to do with the old MagSafe.
That’s not all. Apple will also remove the Touch Bar and replace it with physical function buttons. This is hard to believe, even when it comes from Kuo. Touch Bar was an important selling point for MacBook Pro machines, and one of the features that distinguishes them from MacBook Air. Personally, I don’t hate it, but I don’t use it much, either, and I reckon the sentiment is similar across Apple’s user base. But for Apple to completely remove this feature without offering some sort of replacement (a touch screen comes to mind) would be odd.
Kuo also claims the new MacBooks will have more input/output connectors, though he doesn’t specify which ones. This would also be a big step forward. Dongles, which have become a fact of life for most MacBook owners, are still annoying, and having certain features built-in, such as a memory card reader, an ethernet port, or a USB-A connector, would surely be beneficial for most users.
It’s hard to understate the importance of these changes. For years, Apple has been removing ports from its MacBook Pro, making it slimmer but also annoying a portion of its users in the process. Should the company really make these changes, it could mean that it’s once again committed to cater to the needs of professionals, making the “Pro” part of the MacBook Pro’s name meaningful again.
We can expect to see these new MacBooks in the third quarter of 2021. We are very eager to see whether his predictions are correct.
UPDATE: Jan. 15, 2021, 12:56 p.m. CET Bloomberg has a report that’s very similar to Kuo’s. Some additional details: Bloomberg says the new MagSafe connector will allow for faster charging, and will be similar to the “elongated pill-shape design” of the old MagSafe. The report also claims Apple is working on a redesigned MacBook Air, but it will come much later than these new MacBook Pro laptops.