MacBook Pro 2021 launch nears — mini-LED display production date emerges

MacBook Pro 2021
(Image credit: Intel)

The MacBook Pro 2021 could be released in the fall, as DigiTimes has been tipped off that Apple supplier Global Lighting Technologies will start cranking out mini-LED components in the third quarter of this year. 

The report, flagged by MacRumors, cites industry sources and lends further credence that a redesigned MacBook Pro will arrive in the second half of 2021. However, the new MacBook Pro could be revealed at WWDC 2021 and go on sale later, if other leaks we've been hearing are legitimate. 

This new report flies in the face of a previous rumor that suggested the release of the MacBook Pro 2021 would get pushed back to 2022 due to challenges around mini-LED display supply. However, the volume of other leaks would suggest Apple will have a new MacBook Pro this year, and we’d be rather surprised if a mini-LED model isn’t announced. 

Apple revealed the MacBook Pro M1 last year, which took the exciting Pro laptop and added in the Apple M1 chip. This delivered very impressive performance and staggering battery life of over 16 hours, but the design of the MacBook Pro was arguably looking a little dated in the face of machines like the Dell XPS 15

However, a slew of leaks has the MacBook Pro 2021 set to get a mini-LED display, much like the 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2021. If you're just catching up, mini-LED uses thousands of tiny LEDs to illuminate a display, allowing for improved brightness and contrast over standard LED-backlit displays.

Given the boost in brightness and colors the new iPad Pro’s mini-LED display has over its predecessor, this screen tech in the next MacBook Pro could be a boon for creators working on video and photo editing. 

MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021 render

(Image credit: Antonio de Rosa)

We’re also expecting a new design for the MacBook Pro, with Apple tipped to be working on a 14-inch version as well as a MacBook Pro 2021 16-inch. The 14-inch model is likely to use the 13-inch footprint of the current MacBook Pro but fit in a larger display, thanks to narrower bezels.

Inside, the MacBook Pro 2021 is expected to feature a new Apple M2 chip (or M1X), which should provide even more CPU cores and graphics power. It should also create more distance between the MacBook Pro and new MacBook Air M1.  

While the past few generations of MacBook have opted for a USB-C only approach to ports, there are rumors that the next MacBook Pro could see the return of an HDMI port and SD card reader. We're also anticipating the return of MagSafe charging for the new MacBook Pro.

Apple’s keynote at WWDC 2021 will take place on June 7, so we’ve not got long to wait and see if the MacBook Pro 2021 will be revealed than. Either way we can expect to hear about a series of macOS updates that could hint at the future of MacBooks even if Apple reveals no hardware.

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.