The rumored upcoming MacBook Pro 2021 could get a feature that'll be a serious boon for professional photographers and video editors in the form of an SD card reader with high-speed UHS-II support.
That's according to an Apple Track (opens in new tab) report, which claims a "trusted source" has tipped it off about the speedy SD card reader. It also notes that the next-gen MacBook Pro could sport an illuminated Touch ID button and have a maximum of 32GB of RAM.
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While we can't verify the veracity of the Apple Track report, it does tease some interesting nuggets of information for the MacBook Pro 2021, which is expected to come in 14-inch and 16-inch sizes.
Let's start with the UHS-II SD card reader. We've heard previous rumors that Apple plans to bring back an SD card reader to the new MacBook Pros, after it dropped the slot in favour of USB-C connections in 2016.
That's good news for creative professionals, like photo and video editors, as it makes transferring files from a camera a simple process of popping the SD card into the laptop, rather than relying on cabled connections and slower transfer speeds.
However, a traditional SD card reader can only offer speeds as high as 100 mb/s, whereas a UHS-II reader boosts that figure up to 312mb/s, provided you have a compatible card to go with it. The readers are backwards compatible, too, though using a UHS-I SD card means you miss out on the speed boost.
This would clearly be a killer feature for the 2021 MacBook Pro, assuming the information is accurate, especially for creative professionals. Video and image files are notorious for having large file sizes, and a three-fold boost to speeds would make life a lot easier when trying to work while on location, for instance.
MacBook Pro 2021 RAM and Touch ID
Apple Track also reported that the next-gen MacBook Pro will get up to 32GB of RAM. This would be an upgrade over the 16GB of RAM the MacBook Pro M1 offers with its Apple M1 chip, However, it contradicts a Bloomberg report suggesting a 64GB option might be on the way.
When it comes to tasks such as manipulating large RAW photo files or 4K videos, more RAM is better. And while 32GB is nothing to be sniffed at, it may not be quite the amount some MacBook Pro fans would be after.
The MacBook Pro 2021 is expected to come with either the Apple M2 chip or M1X slice of Apple Silicon. Both chips have been touted as more powerful takes on the impressive M1 chip, so pairing them with more RAM could make them proper professional powerhouses; we'll just have to wait and see which rumor proves to be accurate.
Speaking of rumors, it's has also been claimed the next-gen MacBook Pro could get a mini-LED display to boost screen brightness and contrast over the standard LCD panels found in current MacBooks. Such improvements could be a boon for creative professionals after color-rich and bright displays.
Given the iPad Pro 2021 has a mini-LED display, bringing the tech to MacBooks isn't a huge leap in imagination. We just hope that Apple opts for slimmer display bezels so the MacBook Pros maximise display real estate without bulking up their bodies.
Finally, Apple Track's report claims the MacBook Pros will feature a Touch ID button which will be illuminated and backlit for the first time. There aren’t many details on this, though it’s claimed that the sensor will be illuminated by “multiple dedicated LEDs." That's hardly a huge upgrade, but it lends credence to the idea that the next MacBook Pros will have a proper redesign, rather than a specs refresh.
With the new MacBook Pros slated for a fall reveal, we've not got too long to wait before we see which rumors come to fruition. Of course, chip shortages could throw a spanner in the works, and the fall could just see the reveal of the iPhone 13, leaving the MacBooks to arrive in 2022. As ever, time will tell.