Apple M1X MacBook Pro 2021 14-inch, 16-inch: Release date, specs, rumours and everything we know so far

The next-gen MacBook Pros are tipped to bring more power to music producers. Here's what to expect.

Apple is expected to launch two new Apple Silicon MacBook Pros this year, redesigning its 14-inch and 16-inch models with M1X chips with 10 cores, more ports and other features that will bring more power to music producers.

In true Apple fashion, the Cupertino giant has kept details of the upcoming laptops under wraps. But that hasn’t stopped hawk-eyed analysts and fans from spotting clues and leaks from the Apple camp in the run-up to the release.

The two upcoming MacBook Pros build on Apple’s current generation of Apple Silicon iMacs, 13-inch MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini. These are the firm’s first steps away from Intel-based systems and feature an SoC (system-on-a-chip) design that’s already boasting impressive performance, particularly on native Apple apps such as Logic Pro.

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As we near closer to the launch of Apple’s MacBook Pro 2021 models, get up to speed with all the latest news, leaks and rumours.

Latest MacBook Pro 2021 news

Macbook Pro
Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

MacBook Pro 2021 release date

Apple is yet to announce an official release date of the upcoming MacBook Pros. However, the company is known to keep launches secret until the extravagant Apple Events that take place every autumn. It’s expected that Apple will announce MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch models alongside the iPhone 13, Apple Watch 7 and updated AirPods as early as September.

It’s rumoured that the Cupertino company will hold multiple events throughout autumn and will likely launch the MacBook Pro models on the two year anniversary of its previous high-end MacBook Pros in November. This aligns with news that Apple has scaled up production of its new MacBook Pros to hit 600,000 to 800,000 monthly shipments by the end of November.

What is the Apple Silicon M1X chip?

macOS devices were previously equipped with Intel processors until last year, when Apple announced it would end its 15-year partnership with Intel and manufacture its own processors. These ARM-based processors, dubbed Apple Silicon, began with the M1 chip in the 2020 models of the 13-inch MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini. We tested the M1 MacBook Pro in the context of music production and found the new processers delivered a seriously powerful performance, leaving previous systems for dust in almost all tests.

Apple’s new MacBook Pros are rumoured to feature an M1X chip, building on the previous design and capable of outperforming Intel’s most powerful processors. A leak on CPU Monkey earlier this year indicated that the M1X’s CPU will feature 12 cores with eight high-performance cores, along with a 16-core GPU. Speculations of the M1X chip were seemingly confirmed when a Twitter user spotted the meta tags “m1x macbook pro” and “m1x” in the Apple WWDC YouTube video.

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MacBook Pro M1

How many ports will the new M1X MacBook Pros have?

One gripe we had with the M1 MacBook Pro was the limited number of USB-C ports, proving as a hindrance to music producers and professionals who need to connect external hardware. To rectify this, Apple is reportedly reviving the MagSafe charging port found in older MacBooks and expanding the number of USB-C ports on the 2021 MacBook Pros, although the exact number is unconfirmed. Sources also note that the new MacBook Pros will omit the Touch Bar and the curved design, opting for a more flat-edged aesthetic, similar to the iPhone 12, along with a brighter display.

How much will the new MacBook Pros cost?

There is no news on the pricing of the 2021 MacBook Pro models. It’s expected that they will sit at a similar price point to their predecessors, given that Apple didn’t hike up the prices of the new generation of 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Airs, iMac and Mac Mini.

Apple’s previous 16-inch MacBook Pro model starts at £2,399. The projected price of a new 14-inch model remains a mystery but it’s possible that it will replace the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which starts at £1,299.

MacBook Pro
Image: Chesh / Alamy

Should you wait for the launch of the 2021 M1X MacBook Pro?

If you’re intending on purchasing a 13-inch or 16-inch MacBook Pro right now, we suggest holding out for at least a month and keep in the loop with new updates. Given the rumours of Apple’s M1X performance, your production workflow will certainly benefit from the power of the upcoming laptops. You’ll be able to run a higher number of powerful plug-ins, work on large projects with many tracks, and connect more external devices.

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