New MacBook Pros finally get popular features back

Apple has introduced new laptops for professional users. For the first time in years, these are devices that really deserve the name “Pro”.

The new MacBook Pros have a lot to offer. Not only does Apple install its new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, which are many times faster than the already powerful M1. The company also relies on a new design with significantly larger 14.2- and 16.2-inch displays. The mini-LED panels even support HDR and ProMotion with 120 hertz. But what’s particularly impressive is that Apple has listened to its users – and is bringing back features it actually banned from the MacBook Pro five years ago.

1. MagSafe

MagSafe was found in MacBooks between 2006 and 2017 and was a minor charging port revolution at launch. While virtually all manufacturers used round power ports, Apple had developed a square and magnetic variant. The practical thing about it: if you accidentally trip over the cable, you don’t tear the whole laptop off the table with it. Instead, the cable simply pops off. In 2016, MagSafe had to make way for charging via USB-C port – a decision for which Apple received a lot of criticism.

MagSafe comes back to the MacBook
MagSafe comes back to the MacBook Photo:

But the return of MagSafe is already on the horizon. In 2020, the iPhone 12 got a MagSafe-branded wireless charging dock. Now, in 2021, the port is also returning to the MacBook Pro – and better than ever. MagSafe 3 supports up to 140 watts of charging power, up to now a maximum of 96 watts was possible. This allows the new MacBook Pros to charge up to 50 percent in just 30 minutes. In addition, MagSafe 3 is once again magnetic, just like its predecessors. So the laptops no longer fly when you trip over the charging cable.

2. function keys instead of Touch Bar

Part of the new MacBook Pro generation of 2016 was also the Touch Bar. The small, touch-sensitive screen above the keyboard was supposed to provide more options for displaying context-based buttons, such as for scrolling through the timeline in Final Cut Pro. However, the function keys, which were essential for many professional users to call up shortcuts in programs, had to give way for this. The Touch Bar never really caught on and therefore no longer has a raison d’ĂȘtre.

The new MacBook Pros are therefore almost an apology for the past five years. Not only does Apple do away with the Touch Bar for good. No, the new function keys now return in full height, making them feel like they are on a large keyboard. This move was foreshadowed when the ESC key moved from the Touch Bar back to its own key last year. Still, it’s a welcome change for all MacBook Pro users who were fed up with the useless Touch Bar.

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3. HDMI port and SD slot

Many creative people – such as photographers and filmmakers – still use SD cards because they are inserted in their cameras or microphones and have a practical format. However, the MacBook Pro no longer has a corresponding slot since 2016, so a dongle is necessary every time you want to transfer pictures and videos. The alternative via cable is often possible, but this also has to be carried around all the time and may transfer data slower.

Apple has finally realized this and is therefore bringing back a full-sized SD slot. But not only that, an HDMI port can also be found in both the 14-inch and 16-inch models. Apple even had to make the cases a bit thicker for this – but it is all worth it once.

The new MacBook Pros have HDMI port and SD slot again.
The new MacBook Pros have HDMI port and SD slot again. Photo:

Of course, how could it be otherwise, Apple pats itself on the back for offering so many important ports in the presentation of the MacBook Pros. Still, it seems a bit strange, after all, it was Apple itself that dropped the ports in the first place.

4. more RAM for Pros

For a long time, the MacBook Pro was a pioneer among professional laptops, as it could be equipped with up to 16 gigabytes of working memory (RAM) back in 2011. However, that has not been the case for a long time. Since 2018, nothing has changed in terms of the MacBook Pro’s maximum configuration. You could equip the laptop with up to 32 GB of RAM. That is not enough for many who use their MacBook Pro professionally.

This is finally changing with the new models. Both the 14-inch and 16-inch models can be equipped with up to 64 GB of RAM. However, this requires the more powerful M1 Max chip. The M1 Pro is still limited to 32 GB.

The new MacBook Pros are expensive – and that’s a good thing

The prices of the new laptops speak for themselves. The 14-inch model starts at 2249 Euros and that only applies to a slimmed-down version of the M1 Pro. If you need the full 10 CPU cores and 16 GPU cores, you’ll have to pay at least 2749 euro for it. The 16-inch model with a full-fledged M1 Pro also costs 2749 Euros. With full equipment, which means M1 Max, 8 terabytes of storage and 64 GB of RAM, the 14er costs 6659 euros. The 16 is only slightly more expensive at 6839. That is pleasing, because the bottom line is that you no longer pay for the size of the device with the new MacBook Pros, but only for the inner workings.

These sums may seem excessive – but they aren’t. Because it is true: If you pay pro prices, you should also get corresponding pro devices. With the new MacBook Pros, this could finally be the case again. For those who do not use MacBooks professionally, there is still the MacBook Air with M1. Apple also still sells the 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1 for 1449 Euros – 800 Euros cheaper than the new 14-inch model.

But those who really need professional features like SD slot, HDR, ProMotion and the corresponding performance will find worthy candidates in the new MacBook Pros. Finally, Apple no longer tries to sell professional devices to normal consumers (so-called “prosumers”). Not only do consumers get away with it more cheaply. The “pros” can also be happy about finally being able to enjoy features that are important for their everyday work.