March is right around the corner, and that means our first good opportunity for Apple product launches in 2021 as the company frequently has significant launches in March or April each year. We’re hearing rumors about MacBook Pro, iMac, AirPods, and more, although many of these will be coming out at different times over the course of the year.
This week also saw a macOS update to address a significant issue with some of the latest MacBook Pro models when connected to certain USB-C hubs and docks, while our videographer Dan Barbera took a second look at the MagSafe Leather Wallet released alongside the iPhone 12 models. Read on for all of the details!
New MacBook Pro Models With HDMI Port and SD Card Reader Expected to Launch Later This Year
Last month, well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple plans to launch new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models in the second half of this year with brighter Mini-LED displays, a new design with a flat-edged top and bottom, the return of additional ports and a MagSafe charging cable, and physical function keys instead of the Touch Bar.
This week, Kuo got more specific about those additional ports, claiming that the two new MacBook Pro models will be equipped with an HDMI port and an SD card reader at a minimum.
If these rumors pan out, this may be one of the most significant overhauls to the MacBook Pro ever, with many fan-favorite features returning. There is also lots of anticipation surrounding next-generation Apple silicon chips given the already-impressive performance of the M1 chip in lower-end machines like the MacBook Air and base model 13-inch MacBook Pro.
Mini-LED backlighting could extend to a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro that is rumored to be released as early as March.
2021 iMac Said to Come in Five Colors, Apple Silicon Mac Pro to Resemble ‘Stacked’ Mac Minis
Apple’s next-generation iMac will be available in the same colors as the latest iPad Air, including Silver, Space Gray, Green, Sky Blue, and Rose Gold, according to leaker Jon Prosser of Front Page Tech.
Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman has previously reported that the new iMac will be redesigned with slimmer bezels and no metal chin below the display, and a flat rear shell similar to Apple’s high-end Pro Display XDR. This would represent the first redesign of the all-in-one desktop computer since 2012.
Gurman also reported that Apple is developing a smaller version of the Mac Pro with an Apple silicon chip, and Prosser this week claimed that this machine will look similar to three to four Mac minis in a stack. The design may be reminiscent of the Power Mac G4 Cube, released in 2000.
Third-Generation AirPods Possibly Shown in Leaked Image
Apple is rumored to be working on third-generation AirPods for release later this year, and an alleged image of the earphones and their charging case surfaced this week on Chinese website 52audio.
The new AirPods are expected to take design cues from the AirPods Pro by having a smaller stem and silicone ear tips, but they will reportedly lack high-end features such as Active Noise Cancelation, allowing for a lower price tag. The current AirPods are priced at $159 with a wired charging case and at $199 with a wireless charging case, while the AirPods Pro retail for $249.
Japanese website Mac Otakara has previously claimed that second-generation AirPods Pro are also planned for release in April. Apple is aiming to make the second-generation AirPods Pro more compact by eliminating the stem that sticks out from the bottom, resulting in a more compact design like Google’s Pixel Buds, according to Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman.
Apple Releases macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 to Prevent MacBooks From Being Damaged by Third-Party Non-Compliant Docks
A new macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 software update has been released for Mac users that prevents 2019 or later MacBook Pro and 2020 or later MacBook Air models from incurring damage when they are connected to certain third-party, non-compliant powered USB-C hubs and docks, according to Apple.
There have been several reports on Reddit from Mac users who have connected USB-C hubs and docks to their machines, resulting in the machine becoming non-functional. Affected Macs appear to go blank and unresponsive shortly after connecting the dock. Many of the users who experienced issues were using hubs and docks not purchased from reputable companies.
The new macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences.
Revisiting Apple’s MagSafe Leather Wallet After 3 Months
On our YouTube channel this week, MacRumors videographer Dan Barbera revisited Apple’s MagSafe Wallet for iPhone 12 models after using the accessory for three months, and his impressions were more favorable after this extended usage.
Dan initially disliked the MagSafe Wallet because he found it had a weak magnetic connection and could easily fall off the iPhone when placing the device in a pocket, but he has learned to adjust his usage habits in a way that has worked out better for him.
Each week, we publish an email newsletter like this highlighting the top Apple stories, making it a great way to get a bite-sized recap of the week hitting all of the major topics we’ve covered and tying together related stories for a big-picture view.