macbook 2021 release date australia

MacBook Pro 2021 bezel with notch

The 14-inch MacBook Pro 2021 was finally revealed at the October 18 Apple event alongside its larger sibling, the MacBook 16-inch 2021. Both offer a laundry list of upgrades that include more ports, better displays, and all-new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips that promise remarkable power.

We’ve got a full comparison of what the two models bring to the table in our MacBook Pro 14-inch vs MacBook Pro 16-inch face-off, but the 14-inch model is especially exciting, because this is Apple’s first-ever 14-inch MacBook Pro. 

After months of rumors, pretty much everything we expected turned out to be true. This is a redesigned 14-inch MacBook Pro with the same stunning mini-LED display as the iPad Pro 2021 (12.9-inch), and it’s now configurable with two more powerful variants of Apple’s incredible M1 chip: the M1 Pro and the M1 Max, two beefy new pieces of Apple silicon.

We’ve already heaped praise on the 13-inch , but the 14-inch MacBook Pro with Apple silicon appears to be even better. If it performs as well as Apple promises it will, it’s certain to win one of the top spots on our list. 

MacBook Pro 14-inch 2021 cheat sheet: What’s new

MacBook Pro 14-inch 2021: Specs

MacBook Pro 14-inch 2021: Price and release date

The 14-inch MacBook Pro 2021 is available for order right now from Apple’s website for a starting price of $1,999. It will begin shipping on October 25 and comes in two color variants: Silver or Space Gray.

The $1,999 entry-level model comes with an M1 Pro chip sporting an 8-core CPU, a 14-core GPU, 16 GB of unified memory, and a 512 GB SSD for storage.

If you want more power, you can pay $2,499 for an upgraded model that packs an M1 Pro chip with a beefier 10-core CPU, a 16-core GPU, 16GB of unified memory, and 1TB of SSD storage.

However, you can spend more to configure your 14-inch MacBook Pro with up to a new M1 Max chip with a 10-core GPU, a 32-core GPU, 64 GB of unified memory, and 8 TB of storage. Fair warning: this fully maxed-out model will run you upwards of $5,899.

MacBook Pro 14-inch 2021: Design

The 14-inch MacBook Pro has a 100% recycled aluminum chassis that’s been designed to deliver better airflow than previous MacBook Pros. It measures 12.31 x 8.71 x 0.61 inches thin and weighs 3.5 pounds, which is pretty light given what a heavyweight it is performance-wise.

Apple claims the bezels surrounded the 14-inch display are 20% thinner along the sides and 60% thinner along the top compared to the last generation of MacBook Pros. However, Apple’s left a little notch in the top bezel where the webcam sits, a new 1080p FaceTime camera with the image processing power of Apple silicon.

Atop the keyboard deck you’ll find a standard row of physical function keys, as Apple has ditched the Touch Bar entirely from its latest MacBook Pros.

Along the left side is a new MagSafe 3 charging port, marking the return of MagSafe charging to the MacBook Pro line. It’s now capable of fast charging too, and Apple claims you can charge up to 50% battery in 30 minutes.  

MacBook Pro 14-inch 2021: Display

Apple has embedded one of its new Liquid Retina XDR displays in the 14-inch MacBook Pro 2021. This is the same mini-LED display technology that we marveled over in the 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2021, but now it’s on a MacBook for the first time.

It’s a 14.2-inch mini-LED display that offers a 3024 x 1984 screen resolution, delivering 254 pixels per inch. It also incorporates Apple’s ProMotion adaptive display tech, allowing it to achieve refresh rates of up to 120 Hz. And like the iPad Pro 2021, Apple promises the 14-inch MacBook Pro’s display can achieve up to 1,000 nits of sustained brightness, or 1,600 nits of peak brightness — which, in our experience with the iPad’s mini-LED display, is very bright.

MacBook Pro 14-inch 2021: Ports

Like its larger sibling, Apple has built a variety of port options into the 14-inch Pro. We’re talking a total of 3 Thunderbolt 4/USB4 ports (which also support DisplayPort), 1 HDMI port, an SDXC card slot, and a headphone jack.

More notably, Apple has reintroduced MagSafe charging with a new MagSafe 3 charging port on the left side. This is a welcome return to form, though you can still charge the 14-inch Pro via its Thunderbolt ports if you have to.

MacBook Pro 14-inch 2021: Performance

We expected Apple to unveil this new MacBook Pro alongside a new piece of Apple silicon, but they unveiled two: the M1 Pro and the M1 Max.

The M1 Pro is the successor to Apple’s remarkably powerful M1 chip, and it offers more CPU cores, more GPU cores, a better Media Engine, and more memory bandwidth than the already incredible M1 chip. The M1 Max is even more powerful than the Pro, and Apple’s pitching M1 Max-equipped 16-inch Macbook Pros as the ultimate mobile video workstation.

Specs-wise, the M1 Pro has a 10-core CPU (8 performance cores, 2 efficiency cores) with a 16-core GPU and a 16-core Neural Engine. The M1 Max (which costs extra to put in your new 14-inch MacBook Pro 2021) offers the same 10-core CPU, put it has a 32-core GPU and twice the memory bandwidth of the M1 Max. It also offers 2 video encode engines and 2 ProRes encode/decode engines, which should make it a beast in the video editing bay.

We’ve got a full comparison between the two chips in our Apple M1 Pro vs M1 Max face-off, so check it out for more detail.

MacBook Pro 14-inch 2021: Webcam

There’s a new 1080p FaceTime camera embedded in the top bezel of the 14-inch MacBook Pro’s display. It offers the same Apple silicon-powered advanced image processing as the 1080p camera built into the Apple iMac 2021 (24-inch), so it should deliver clear, crisp, vibrant images and video quality.

It may also be a little more noticeable than most MacBook webcams, as Apple has gone ahead and trimmed back the top bezel around the webcam housing, leaving a little notch that occludes a small portion of the screen. It’s unlikely to cause any real usability issues, though it does give the MacBook Pro 2021 a more iPhone-like look.

MacBook Pro 14-inch 2021: Battery life

The new MacBook Pro 14-inch 2021 is advertised as lasting up to 17 hours on a single charge while watching video, which is a pretty bold claim. However, Apple has been more truthful than most laptop makers when it comes to battery life claims, so it’s likely you’ll get well over 10 hours of use out of this laptop when it’s new.

It also supports fast charging, and Apple claims it can deliver up to 50% of a battery charge in 30 minutes. The entry-level 14-inch Pro ships with a 67W USB-C power adapter, though you can pay $20 extra for a more powerful 96W adapter. If you configure your new MacBook Pro with an M1 Pro chip that sports at least a 10-core CPU and 14-core GPU, Apple will give you the more powerful 96W charger by default.

MacBook Pro 14-inch 2021: Outlook

Apple’s first-ever 14-inch MacBook Pro also looks like it could be one of the most powerful 14-inch laptops to hit the market this year. And now that it has one of Apple’s Liquid Retina XDR displays built in, it’s probably going to be one of the brightest and most eye-catching MacBooks we’ve ever seen.

But while the beefy new M1 Pro/M1 Max chips and mini-LED displays have us very excited to check out the new 2021 MacBook Pros, don’t overlook the small but welcome changes Apple has made to the design to make these MacBooks more usable. Gone are the troublesome Touch Bars, and in their place stand more useful (albeit more standardized) arrays of physical function keys. Now there’s a more useful array of ports, too, so media professionals should have an easier time moving photos and other assets back and forth between machines. And don’t overlook the promising battery life: 17 hours on a single charge is nothing to sneeze at, and Apple is more truthful than most when it comes to battery life promises.

Of course, we’ll have to wait to get some of these new MacBook Pros in for testing before we can confirm Apple’s claims and certify them as the best MacBooks yet. Stay tuned!