The MacBook 16-inch 2021 was finally unveiled at the October 18 Apple event alongside its new smaller sibling, the MacBook 14-inch 2021. Both offer a laundry list of upgrades that include more ports, better displays, and all-new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, and we've got a full comparison of the two models in our MacBook Pro 14-inch vs MacBook Pro 16-inch face-off.
After months of rumors, pretty much everything we expected turned out to be true. This is a redesigned 16-inch MacBook Pro with the same stunning mini-LED display as the iPad Pro 2021 (12.9-inch), and it's now configurable with two more powerful variants of Apple's incredible M1 chip: the M1 Pro and the M1 Max, two incredibly beefy new pieces of Apple silicon.
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As great as the 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 has proven to be, nothing quite beats the joy of working on a larger screen, so it's exciting to see Apple finally shipping its M1 Pro and M1 Max 16-inch MacBook Pros. Here's a quick rundown of all the new features confirmed at Apple's MacBook-centric event.
MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021 cheat sheet: What's new
- All-new 100% recycled aluminum enclosure with improved cooling
- Weighs in at 4.7 pounds and 0.66 inches thin
- Touch Bar has replaced with physical function keys
- MagSafe charging is back, though you can still charge via the Thunderbolt ports too
- The MacBook Pro now supports fast charge, so it can charge to 50% in 30 minutes
- Now sports 3 Thunderbolt 4/USB4 ports, 1 HDMI port, an SDXC card slot, and headphone jack
- Screen bezels are reportedly 24% thinner, with a 60% thinner top border — not counting the cutout notch, which houses the new 1080p FaceTime camera
- 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display, a mini-LED display just like that on the eye-catching iPad Pro 2021
- 3456 x 2234 screen resolution, 1.8 million more pixels than before
- Display offers ProMotion adaptive refresh rate, up to 120Hz
- 1,000 nits of sustained brightness, 1,600 nits of peak brightness
- New 6-speaker sound system, featuring 4 tweeters and 2 woofers and support for spatial audio
- New M1 Pro/M1 Max chips deliver up to 2x CPU performance over old Core i9 16-inch Pros
- M1 Pro graphics are 2.5x faster than the M1, while M1 Max graphics are 5x faster
- Apple promises 21 hours of battery life during video playback, 10 more than before
- The 16-inch MacBook Pro 2021 has a starting price of $2,499, and you can pre-order today (in silver or space gray) before it becomes available next week
MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021 specs
|14-inch MacBook Pro 2021||16-inch MacBook Pro 2021|
|Screen||14.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display (3024x1964 pixels, 254ppi)||16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display (3456x2244 pixels, 254ppi)|
|Processor||M1 Pro (8-core CPU, 14-core GPU or 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU), with optional M1 Max with up to 10-core CPU and 32-core GPU||M1 Pro (10-core CPU, 16-core GPU) | M1 Max (10-core CPU, 32-core GPU)|
|Battery life (claimed)||Up to 11 hours of web surfing over Wi-Fi||Up to 14 hours of web surfing over Wi-Fi|
|Storage||512GB to 8TB||512GB to 8TB|
|Memory||16GB to 64GB||16GB to 64GB|
|Ports||Thunderbolt 4 (x3), HDMI, MagSafe 3, headphone jack, SD memory card slot||Thunderbolt 4 (x3), HDMI, MagSafe 3, headphone jack, SD memory card slot|
|Webcam||1080p FaceTime HD camera||1080p FaceTime HD camera|
|Wi-Fi||802.11ax Wi-Fi 6||802.11ax Wi-Fi 6|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 5.0||Bluetooth 5.0|
|Dimensions||12.3 x 8.7 x 0.6 inches||14 x 9.8 x 0.7 inches|
|Weight||3.5 pounds||4.7 pounds (M1 Pro) | 4.8 pounds (M1 Max)|
MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021 price and release date
The 16-inch MacBook Pro 2021 is available for order right now from Apple's website at a starting price of $2,499. It will start shipping October 25. As usual, you get two color options: Silver or Space Gray.
The $2,499 entry-level model ships with an M1 Pro chip packing a 10-core CPU, a 16-core GPU, 16 GB of unified memory, and a 512 GB SSD for storage, though you can bump that up to a 1 TB SSD for $2,699.
If you need more power, there's also a $3,499 model that comes with Apple's new M1 Max chip, the most powerful piece of silicon Apple's ever put in a MacBook. It packs a 10-core CPU, a 32-core GPU, 32 GB of unified memory, and a 1 TB SSD for storage.
MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021 design
As was long rumored, the 16-inch MacBook Pro 2021 has gotten a subtle but significant redesign.
The 100% recycled aluminum chassis offers better airflow than the old 16-inch Pro did, and Apple claims to have trimmed the bezels flanking the screen by 20%. The top bezel has been cut back roughly 60%, but that doesn't count the new notch Apple has left in place surrounding the webcam. That's right: the MacBook Pro now has an iPhone-like notch in its display, just like the rumors said.
Gone is the controversial Touch Bar along the top of the keyboard, replaced by a far more traditional row of function keys. Beneath the keys is an all-new 6-speaker setup, with 4 tweeters and 2 woofers that support spatial audio.
In terms of size, the new 16-inch Pro weighs in at 4.7 pounds and measures 0.66 inches thin. Apple has reintroduced MagSafe charging to the MacBook Pro with a new MagSafe 3 charging port. More importantly, the new laptop supports fast charging, with Apple claiming it can charge to 50% capacity in 30 minutes.
MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021 display
As predicted, Apple has mounted one of its new Liquid Retina XDR displays in the 16-inch MacBook Pro 2021. This is the same mini-LED display technology that we marveled over in the 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2021, but now it's on a MacBook for the first time.
It's a 16.2-inch mini-LED display that offers a 3456 x 2234 screen resolution, with Apple's ProMotion adaptive refresh rate of up to 120 Hz. And just like the iPad Pro 2021, Apple promises the 16-inch MacBook Pro's display can achieve up to 1,000 nits of sustained brightness, or 1,600 nits of peak brightness -- which, in our experience with the iPad's mini-LED display, is very bright.
MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021 ports
Apple has listened to feedback and expanded the port options on the 16-inch MacBook Pro. Now there's a total of 3 Thunderbolt 4/USB4 ports (which also support DisplayPort), 1 HDMI port, an SDXC card slot, and a headphone jack.
More notably, Apple has reintroduced MagSafe charging with a new MagSafe 3 charging port on the left side. This is a welcome return, though you can still charge the MacBook via its Thunderbolt ports if you prefer the old ways.
MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021 performance
We expected Apple to unveil this new MacBook Pro alongside a new piece of Apple silicon, but Apple surprised us by showing off two chips: the M1 Pro and the M1 Max. (Note that the rumored M1x name is a no-go.)
The M1 Pro is the successor to Apple's remarkably powerful M1 chip, and it offers more CPU cores, more GPU cores, a better Media Engine, and more memory bandwidth than the already impressive M1. The M1 Max is even more powerful than the Pro, and Apple's pitching M1 Max-equipped 16-inch Macbook Pros as the ultimate mobile video workstation.
Specs-wise, the M1 Pro has a 10-core CPU (8 performance cores, 2 efficiency cores) with a 16-core GPU and a 16-core Neural Engine. The M1 Max (which costs an extra $1,000 to put in your new 16-inch MacBook Pro) offers the same 10-core CPU, put it has a 32-core GPU and twice the memory bandwidth of the M1 Max. It also offers 2 video encode engines and 2 ProRes encode/decode engines, which should make it a beast in the video editing bay. Clearly, that's the model to get if you work with graphically-demanding applications.
The M1 Pro is capable of supporting two external XDR monitors, while the M1 Max can add a third monitor plus a 4K TV to the mix. For a full comparison between the two chips, take a look at our Apple M1 Pro vs M1 Max face-off.
MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021 webcam
There's a new 1080p FaceTime camera embedded in the top bezel of the 16-inch MacBook Pro's display. It offers the same Apple silicon-powered advanced image processing as the 1080p camera built into the Apple iMac 2021 (24-inch), so it should deliver clear, crisp, vibrant images and video quality.
It may also be a little more noticeable than most MacBook webcams, as Apple has gone ahead and trimmed back the top bezel around the webcam housing, leaving a little notch that occludes a small portion of the screen. It's unlikely to cause any real usability issues, though it does give the MacBook Pro 2021 a more iPhone-like look.
MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021 battery life
Expect the new MacBook Pro 16-inch model to last a long time thanks to the improved power efficiency in the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. Both processors promise great performance per watt than both the standard M1 and comparable laptop chipsets.
That should translate to 21 hours of video playback, Apple says. That's 10 hours more than the 16-inch MacBook Pro this model replaces.
MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021 outlook
The MacBook Pro 16-inch is a big jump forward, thanks largely to the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips driving performance. Apple is clearly positioning this as the laptop of choice for creative professionals with heavy power demands, while the return of features like MagSafe and a full keyboard instead of a Touch Bar seem like acknowledgements that Apple is listening to what power users want.
We'll need to get our hands on the 16-inch MacBook Pro to fully see if the new laptop delivers on what Apple promises, but from what we've seen so far, we're excited about our M1-powered future.