April 24, 2024

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Apple event live blog: MacBook Pro 2021, AirPods 3 and all the big news as it happens

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As we’ve heard from previous reports, this Twitter user reckons Apple will kill the divisive Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pros. We reckon they’re onto something as the Touch Bar never really became an essential part of the MacBook Pro experience. 

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Let’s talk of specs and pricing: we’d expect the new MacBook Pros to come with some seriously high-end options: say up to 2TB of SSD storage space and up to 64GB of RAM. But we’d also expect them to be expensive. 

Our hope is that the entry-level models are well-equipped and reasonably well-priced, as that’s an approach Apple has taken before with some MacBook Pro generations. 

Naturally, Apple has its own Twitter hashtag for the event: #AppleEvent. And taking a look at the chatter on Twitter, it’s clear that excitement is building for today’s showcase. It’s also a quagmire of speculation and dodgy leaks. 

Check out the one below; it’s about as solid as a chocolate teapot sitting on an active volcano, but is amusing to see nevertheless. Those images look like someone has tried to mix high-end Apple industrial design with a cheap Chromebook…

One of the things that’s not been cleared up in the various rumors we’ve seen, is whether there will be a major difference between the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros. As it stands, they’re tipped to have similar specs. 

If we were to guess, we’d expect the 16-inch version to be the more powerful of the two, thanks to having more space for cooling and perhaps some extra ports. The 14-inch model, meanwhile, will almost certainly replace the older 13-inch MacBook Pro; expect to find a few of those pop up in the best Black Friday deals as we head towards November. 

Speaking of tech, we’re expecting the new Mac machines to make use of the M1X chip, a boosted take on the Apple M1 chip. With more processor and graphics cores, the M1X is expected to deliver a big jump in performance over its predecessor. 

You might think the Apple M2 chip would be the next upgrade to expect, but that’s supposedly reserved for the next MacBook Air and is tipped to be more efficient still.

A half-opened MacBook Pro 2020 on a dark desk against a dark background. The screen shows a typical Apple desktop background

(Image credit: Apple)

The next-gen MacBook Pros are expected to have mini-LED displays, like the larger model iPad Pro 2021. This screen tech falls between LCD and OLED, offering better colors and contrast than the former but avoiding the risk of burn-in the latter can pose. 

You might also have heard about micro-LED, a technology Apple has seemingly yet to explore: see how the two display techs compare in our micro-LED vs mini-LED breakdown. 

Micro-LED vs Mini-LED

(Image credit: TCL)

If you want a more detailed breakdown of what we expect to see and what we don’t, then we have you covered: Check out our analysis of Apple Unleashed and the 3 thing we expect to see and the 3 we don’t. 

A new rumor has claimed the next MacBook Air could also sport a display notch, However, this one looks rather sketchy, with no images to back up such a claim or any sources referenced. We’re also not expecting to see a new MacBook Air this year, so take all of this with a pinch of salt. 

Concept art for an Apple TV stick

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide/Shutterstock)

We’re not expecting any Apple TV-related news at today’s Apple event, but one Tom’s Guide editor is hoping for a “one more thing” from Apple on it. Here’s Henry Casey on why an Apple TV Stick would make him very happy.

So what of the Mac mini M1X? Rumors suggest a new model could be shown off at today’s Apple event, although it’s far from certain. 

iDrop News, for instance, claims insider information from a person involved in Apple’s marketing that said the launch has been delayed in order to let the new MacBooks “shine.” 

However, the same report claims supply chain insider information, which has production for a new Mac mini ramping up. We’ll have to wait and see on this one.

New Mac mini just leaked — what you need to know

(Image credit: Jon Prosser & Ian Zelbo)

An alleged MacBook Pro 2021 photo leak shows a possible display notch for the display. It’s not clear why the new MacBook Pro would have a notch, but one rumor points to a sharper 1080p camera, which could take up more room. We have not seen any Face ID leaks for the new MacBook Pros but anything could happen. 

The rumored MacBook Pro notch

(Image credit: AnyTurtle99 / Weibo)

According to an investor note from Wedbush’s Dan Ives (via MacRumors), third-generation AirPods will likely be announced at the Apple Event. The third-generation AirPods have reportedly been manufactured and are ready to launch, according to Wedbush’s supply chain checks.

AirPods 3 design leak

(Image credit: @LeaksApplePro)

MacBook Pro 2021

(Image credit: Intel)

Well this is interesting. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the new MacBook Pro chips will be called ‘M1 Pro’ and ‘M1 Max.’ This could be instead of M1X. If we had to guess, the M1 Pro could be the base chip for the 14-inch MacBook Pro, and the M1 Max could be the chip for the 16-inch MacBook Pro. 

According to Gurman: “Both chip versions will have 10 CPU cores comprised of eight high-performance cores and two energy-efficient cores. The difference will be in graphics: One chip will have 16 graphics cores, and the other will have 32.” 

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