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MacBook Pro 2021 just tipped for serious price hike — here’s why

MacBook Pro 2021
(Image credit: Intel)

New MacBook Pro 14-inch and MacBook Pro 16-inch laptops are expected to hit the market in the fall of 2021 with a slew of upgrades, including an improved version of Apple's remarkable M1 chip. Now, a leaker who's been right about Apple a few times before says both sizes of the new Pro will arrive sporting the same M1X chip.

If this report proves true, it will be a significant change from the way Apple has sold Pro laptops in the past. When they were all sold with Intel CPUs, only the 16-inch MacBook Pro could be configured with the most powerful CPU and GPU options. If you prefer the smaller size of a 13-inch Pro, you had to content yourself with a lower limit on how powerful it could be.

According to a recent tweet from leaker and iOS developer Dylandkt, that won't be the case with the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros. Instead, they claim that both sizes of Pro "will have the same chip and the same performance", clarifying in a follow-up tweet that "I am referring to the 16 and 14 inch pros both having the same M1X [chip]".

Given the impressive speed and battery efficiency of M1-equipped laptops like the MacBook Air with M1 and the 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1, it's a safe bet that a 14-inch MacBook Pro with an improved M1X chip would deliver unexpectedly high performance for its size. However, Dylandkt also says the new MacBook will be pricier than its predecessor, claiming that we should "expect a notable increase in price for the 14 inch over the 13 inch" MacBook Pro.

MacBook Pro 2021 rumors: MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021 render

This render gives us a glimpse of what a 2021 MacBook Pro might look like. (Image credit: Antonio de Rosa)

How much of a potential price increase remains to be seen. The current 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro's price starts at $1,299, while the older Intel-based model starts at $1,799. While it was reasonable to imagine a redesigned 14-inch MacBook Pro with Apple silicon wouldn't cost much more than the 13-inch M1 model, it now sounds like we should expect the price of a 14-inch MacBook Pro with M1X to start much higher than $1,299 — though it's hard to imagine it getting anywhere near the same range as the current Intel-equipped 16-inch MacBook Pro, which starts at $2,399.

Of course, a steeper asking price would be worth it if all the rumors we've heard about the upgrades Apple is making prove true. In addition to an improved M1X chip, the 14-inch MacBook Pro is rumored to be slimmer with a redesigned screen that may make use of the same mini-LED display technology that Apple used in its eye-catching 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2021.

Plus, the 14-inch Pro will reportedly have MagSafe charging again (at last!) and sport more ports than the 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro, including an HDMI port and an SD card reader. An Ethernet port may also be coming back. Last but not least, the new MacBook Pro 2021 could get a big webcam upgrade, finally addressing one of the line's long-standing weak points.

Alex Wawro

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. He currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.