More Apple Silicon MacBooks are coming — but it’s a long wait

Apple MacBook Air M1 (late 2020) review
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The next generation of Apple Silicon-wielding MacBooks won't arrive until the second half of 2021, skipping Apple's usual Mac refresh window in spring.

This comes from Ming-Chi Kuo, writing in a research note seen by MacRumors, who claims we can expect 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros in Q2/Q3. So perhaps this new rumor means we're most likely to see the new Apple laptops with upgraded M-series chips in Fall 2021.

These models will apparently feature a new design, and based on previous claims by Kuo, could see an upgrade of the 16-inch MacBook Pro in 2019, with a much-rumored 14-inch MacBook Pro coming to potentially replace the 13-inch model.

What chip these new MacBooks will use isn't clear. We'd imagine that Apple will have worked on an upgrade to the M1 chip it recently debuted, come the second half of 2021. But such an upgrade may only be a modest one, as Apple chip upgrades tend to be iterative rather than huge steps up in performance. Therefore we could perhaps see the chip named the M1X (similar to how Apple names the upgraded A-series chips in the iPad line), if not simply the M2.

The new MacBook Air M1 and 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 have been warmly received for their power and battery life, as well as their effective support for apps still designed to run on the Intel chips Apple used to use. Our only criticisms in our MacBook Air review were its old, large bezel design and just a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports. Both of these could easily be addressed by a new design, as Kuo seems to suggest.

In addition to the MacBook Pros, we can also expect a new Apple Silicon edition of the larger, 24-inch iMac all-in-one PC, as well as a new smaller version of the Mac Pro tower PC. Outside of the Mac line of products, Kuo is also claiming late 2021 will be when we see a new cheaper iPad, assumedly a basic iPad or iPad Mini, and the AirPods 3.

Kuo also mentions the Apple Watch achieving sales success thanks to "innovative health management functions and improved form factor design." This sounds like it could be referring to the Apple Watch 6's replacement, likely the Apple Watch 7. However it's also possible that Kuo is talking about the Series 6's new case colors and blood oxygen monitoring features, rather than ideas the next Apple Watch will focus on.

We've got some 12 months or so before to go we see if these rumors and Kuo's predictions bear fruit. But 2021 could be an interesting time for Apple's Mac lineup. 

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.