In January, Ming Chi Kuo thrilled fans of Apple’s professional laptops with the news that the 2021 MacBook Pro would feature a new design, Apple Silicon, and the return of MagSafe and more IO ports.
The analyst followed up on that report today to be a little more specific: He expects Apple’s MacBook Pro 2021 models to have an HDMI port and an SD card slot. As a reminder, the current 16-inch MacBook Pro only features Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports and a headphone jack in terms of connectivity.
When Apple released the new style of MacBook Pro with the 2016 revision, the idea was that offering four Thunderbolt USB-C ports would be enough for everyone. Thunderbolt 3 ports are high-bandwidth and multipurpose – they’re high-bandwidth data transfer ports and can even transmit power and act as display outputs.
However, to connect to most peripherals, users would need dongles or adapters that would convert USB-C to HDMI or even traditional rectangular USB-A to support their existing legacy peripherals. Even four years later, the dongle problem is still a problem for many MacBook Pro customers. Many users turn to carrying multi-function USB-C adapters with them and hang all their accessories on it.
It looks like Apple is willing to admit it jumped the gun slightly, as indicated by the restoration of dedicated HDMI ports and an SD card slot for transferring photos off cameras.
It is unclear what the full line of IOs will be on the new MacBook Pros. It doesn’t seem likely that Apple will add two ports in addition to the four USB-C ports, but Kuo doesn’t detail the exact breakdown. Remember also that these laptops are also expected to have a MagSafe port for charging.
For comparison, the ‘old’ 2015 MacBook Pro sported MagSafe, two Thunderbolt ports, USB-3 and a headphone jack on the left side and another USB-3 port, HDMI and SD card slot on the right side of the machine. This came to a total of 8 I / Os on Apple’s professional workstation laptop. The 16-inch today only has 5 ports, 4 USB-C and a headphone jack. Even if the four USB-C ports are more versatile and technically capable, many people yearn for the ability to just connect a lot of things without having to worry about dongles.
The new MacBook Pro line is expected to launch in the fall. The machines are highly anticipated not only because of the changes to the form factor, but also customers will be able to experience how well Apple’s silicon performs in high-end CPU and GPU products.
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