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New MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 2021: when will we get new Mac laptops?

We're expecting new Macs to debut before the end of 2021 with plenty of new features

We have been expecting new Apple laptops for some time now, as Apple continues transitioning its laptops and desktops to be based on its own hardware rather than Intel’s.

We saw the first results of this transition in November 2020 with a revamped MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro and Mac mini. Then there was a 24-inch iMac earlier this year. But we are expecting there to be further refreshes of the MacBook Pro especially, with a new 14-inch model to replace the 13 as well as an Apple Silicon-based 16-inch model to replace the 2019 version. There should also be a replacement for the larger iMac too. Currently, that model has a 27-inch display, but we expect a larger model to debut.

Whereas the first generation of these Apple Silicon devices used Apple’s fast M1 chip – based on ARM technology like the chips in iPhones and iPads – we’re expecting the new models to have upgraded chips known as M1X or M2. This chip may also appear inside an upgraded MacBook Air.

When will we get the new Macs?

We’re expecting the new Macs to debut in October and November and they’ll probably have their own launch event if Apple’s recent past is anything to go by. A couple of supply chain reports suggested that Apple will ramp up production of the new Macs in October, while a Back to School promotion on Macs in Europe is set to end on 11 October which could mean there's an event on 12 October. 

They’ll certainly be on shelves well in time for Christmas and indeed last year’s models got discounted for the first time at some major retailers in time for Black Friday even if some reports suggest there have been supply shortages, particularly with the new Mini LED display we're expecting to appear in the 14-inch MacBook Pro. 

If we get some new versions of the Air and Pro, certainly older models should receive hefty discounts over the coming models.

What else are we expecting from the new Macs

As well as the upgraded processor to the Apple M1X or M2, the laptops are also reported to have a new charging connector which will be magnetic – probably known as MagSafe like on older Macs and the iPhone 12.

The question is how the charging will work – will it still be compatible with the USB-C port or will there be a proprietary charging port again? The latter seems unlikely, but it’s possible of course.

There are some other changes, too – more ports have long been rumoured for the MacBook Pro and it sounds as though we might be getting an SD card port again (it got axed from last year’s iMac, though) and some rumours have even suggested that there will be an HDMI port, too.

The HDMI rumour will prove to be wide of the mark in our opinion, primarily because the existing USB-C/Thunderbolt ports support displays and there’s no reason to provide another specific port for display. However, in April some documents were seemingly taken from Apple supplier Quanta that suggest an HDMI port is indeed part of the plans - this confirmed earlier reports that also suggested the Touch Bar would be removed from the MacBook Pro at long last. It's been with us for five years now, but we still don't really use it...

We are also expecting a change in design this time around, too, with a flat-edge design to further reflect the design language we’ve seen from the iPad Pro and iPad Air as well as the iPhone 12. The current MacBooks are flat-edged of course, but the lid has a curve. This will go.