The 2021 MacBook Pro 16 may not be the performance upgrade we expect from Apple
It has been over a year since Apple released the 16-inch MacBook Pro, which heralded the end of the evergreen 15-inch model and ushered in the fifth generation of the series. According to recent rumours, the next MacBook Pro 16 will arrive this year and with a redesign that may include an HDMI port and an SD card reader. Additionally, Ming-Chi Kuo has reputedly informed investors that the next MacBook Pro models will have a flat design, likening it to the iPhone 12's.
The MacBook Pro 16 is also expected to make the switch to Apple Silicon, although perhaps not to a next-generation SoC. Instead, DuanRui asserts, Apple will utilise the M1 for the next MacBook Pro 16, currently found in the Mac mini, MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro 13. If that is the case, then we struggle to see how Apple could distinguish the performance of the next MacBook Pro 16 from the current MacBook Pro 13. While the most recent MacBook Pro 13 easily outperforms its Intel-based predecessor, little if anything separates it from the M1-based MacBook Air.
Moreover, DuanRui believes that the next MacBook Pro 16 'basically has the same appearance' as the current model. Seemingly then, adopting a flat design may be a subtle change from the MacBook Pro's current design language. Apparently, the new model will have a thinner bezel though, which may point to an overall smaller footprint.
Even so, a more compact 16-inch MacBook Pro may be a tough sell compared to the MacBook Pro 13 if it does not also offer superior performance. We would expect Apple to include a dedicated GPU at the very least, just to match the horsepower that the current model offers. According to Kuo, Apple will release new MacBook Pro models in the second half of 2021.