Apple today confirmed its upcoming special event on Monday, October 18, at which the company is expected to unveil its new generation Apple Silicon chip with newly redesigned MacBook Pro models. However, contrary to what some think, the new M1X MacBook Pro is unlikely to replace current entry-level models with the M1 chip.
The M1 is the first ARM architectural chip designed specifically for Macs, and runs the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, Mac mini and 24-inch iMac.
When Apple announced the M1 in November 2020, the company made it clear that, although more powerful than Intel processors, this chip is focused on laptops and home computers due to low power consumption — which is why there is still a part of Intel Macs available even after the introduction of the M1 Mac.
This time, however, it is rumored that Apple will introduce the “M1X chip”, which will be the first variant of the M1 with a more powerful 16-core GPU. As a result, the M1X should deliver faster graphics, making it ideal for more expensive Macs like the 16-inch MacBook Pro and 27-inch iMac.
What the rumors say
According to rumors, the new MacBook Pro M1X will be available in two sizes: 14 inches and 16 inches. It is expected to get a refreshed design, HDMI port, SD card slot, MagSafe, 1080p webcam and Mini-LED screen.
Rumors also suggest that both the 14-inch and 16-inch models will be available in the same configurations, starting with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. This is not surprising because the M1 chip is basically the same among all Mac (and iPad) models based on it, with only a few minor variations.
Although Apple has never introduced a 16-inch MacBook Pro with the Apple Silicon chip, there is already a smaller MacBook Pro with the M1, which has led some people to believe that an update next week will come to these models as well. However, you probably shouldn’t expect this, so here’s why.
Current MacBook Pro line
Apple currently sells three different versions of the MacBook Pro. There is a 13-inch version with M1, a 13-inch version with Intel and a 16-inch version with Intel.
While the M1 MacBook Pro is more than capable of doing the hard work, Apple has kept the more expensive 13-inch MacBook Pro models with Intel processors for people who need things the M1 Macs can’t offer. This includes operation with two or more external displays and availability with up to 32 GB of RAM or a 4 TB SSD (M1 models are limited to 16 GB of RAM and a 2 TB SSD).
Considering the more powerful chip and features like the Mini-LED screen (which is significantly more expensive than a regular LCD screen), it is likely that the new 14-inch MacBook Pro M1X will only replace the more expensive Intel models.
New MacBook Pro line
But does Apple make sense to keep two different smaller MacBook Pro models (not to mention a 16-inch model)? In fact, so has Apple already done it.
Back in 2016, when Apple redesigned the MacBook Pro, there were two different versions of the 13-inch models: one with the Touch Bar and the other with function keys. However, that was not the only difference between them. Models with function keys also had less powerful hardware, and that’s what I think will happen with the release of the new M1X MacBook Pro next week.
In short, this is how I imagine what the new MacBook Pro line will look like:
- 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro
- 14-inch M1X MacBook Pro
- 16-inch M1X MacBook Pro
I also think Apple could keep at least one 16-inch Intel MacBook Pro model on offer, again due to hardware limitations. We don’t know for sure whether the M1X chip will be able to handle two or more external screens or up to 64GB of RAM, and those could be reasons to keep Intel’s model a little longer.
I can also see how Apple will update the initial MacBook Pro next year with an M2 chip (which may have a better CPU, but not necessarily more powerful graphics than the M1X) and still with a regular LCD screen to make the price more affordable.
What do you think about this? Will Apple discontinue the 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 next week or will the company keep it as an initial option? Let me know in the comments below.
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