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MacBook Pro 2021 release date leak — we have bad news

MacBook Pro concept
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

We expected two new MacBook Pros to arrive this year — a new 14-inch MacBook Pro 2021 and a 16-inch MacBook Pro 2021 — both with mini-LED displays and other upgrades. But that date may need to be changed to next year. 

According to a paywalled article from Digitimes, volume production of the new MacBook Pros "may have to get postponed to the fourth-quarter of 2021 or first-quarter of 2022." And based on this production schedule, the new MacBook Pros reportedly won't be released until 2022.

The new MacBook Pro release date was previously tipped for the second half of this year. 

One factor is that there's been a "sudden surge" of COVID infections in Taiwan, according to Digitimes' sources. But supplies for mini-LED displays also seem to be tight. 

The iPad Pro 2021 is the first mobile device in Apple's lineup to feature a mini-LED display — a feature that has multiple benefits. The 12.9-inch panel leverages 10,000 LEDs to deliver up to 1,000 nits of full-screen brightness along with a 1 million-to-1 contrast ratio. 

Presumably, the 14-inch and 16-inch displays on the new MacBook Pros will offer similar benefits, especially for photography and video editing, but it's possible that both models are getting pushed back to next year.

Digitimes' says that the production for the 12.9-inch mini-LED iPad Pro started one quarter later than its original schedule due to issues with supply from Ennostar. Apparently, the lated start for the iPad Pro has "deferred support" for the new MacBook Pro. 

According to Digitimes, small volume production of the 14-inch MacBook Pro will begin in the third quarter of this year and volume production won't start until the fourth quarter. The 16-inch MacBook Pro wouldn't see volume production until the first quarter of 2022. 

Those aren't the only upgrades on tap for the new MacBook Pros. Previous reports point to the return of MagSafe charging on the MacBook Pro, as well as an HDMI port and SD Card slot. These are welcome enhancements for those who have despised dongle life for the past few years.

On the inside, the new MacBook Pros are said to feature Apple's new Apple M2 chip with serious power. Made using a 4nm process, the M2 chip is tipped to come with 12 CPU cores, four more than the current M1. There would be eight cores for high-performance tasks and four cores for less demanding ones. 

Plus, the 7- to 8-core GPU of the M1 chip will be increased to a hefty 16 cores on the M2. This should result in much more graphics power and likely very impressive gameplay on mainstream titles.

What's not clear at all from this preliminary report is whether Apple will delay the laptops altogether or simply hold back from rolling out mini-LED displays this year. Because of Digitimes' mixed track record on rumors, we would not write off a mini-LED MacBook for this year.

We'll check out the publication's full report tomorrow and report back on anything new we learn. 

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Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for nearly 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.