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The new computer comes in two sizes – 14- and 16-inch – and includes the new M1 Pro and Max chips that Apple says are the most powerful ever to be put into a laptop.
That allows the 16-inch version of the computer to work many times faster than the previous version, which was released at the end of 2019. Apple said that with its more expensive and powerful M1 Max chip, the new MacBook Pro can undertake many tasks almost five times as quickly as the old Intel-based machine.
The new professional versions of the M1 are also much faster than the existing one, which had already drawn widespread praise for their speed and efficiency. The M1 Pro has up to 70 per cent faster CPU performance than the normal M1, it said, and the M1 Max adds even more GPU power to give it four times faster performance than its predecessor.
Apple made a whole range of similar claims about the world-leading performance of the new computer. It said that the screen, audio system and other features were the best in any notebook.
In many ways, the new MacBook Pro brings back old features. It gets rid of the Touch Bar that added a display to the top of the keyboard, and brings back the MagSafe charger that allows the computer to unplug if it is pulled away from its charger.
Rumours had indicated that Apple would take both steps in the new computer. They led to praise from some followers of the company, who argued that the introduction of the Touch Bar and the removal of ports such as MagSafe and the HDMI plug had left the computer worse than it was previously.
But the new MacBook Pro also adds whole new features and improvements, including a flat design that actually increases the size of the computer. It is now more flat and square than before, in line with the design of the iPad and iPhone.
The display is also vastly changed. It includes similar LED display technology to the new iPad Pro, and finally brings Apple’s ProMotion fast-refresh screens to the Mac – and it also goes all the way to the edges of the display, with a notch at the top to house the camera.
That camera has also been improved. Its resolution has been doubled to 1080p, and it has improvements that allow it to work twice as well in the dark, Apple said.
The sound has also been improved, for both microphones and speakers. Apple claimed the audio is much louder and deeper than the previous version.
Even with its additional performance, the computers are much more efficient than their predecessors, Apple said. The battery lasts for up to 21 hours on the larger version, depending on the task, and Apple says it is the longest battery life ever on a Mac.
Apple also noted that computers made by many of its competitors in the professional notebook market drop their performance when they are unplugged and running on battery. The new MacBook Pros are able to maintain the same speeds however it is getting its power, the company said.
The 14-inch Pro starts at $1,999, and the larger 16-inch starts at $2,499. They come in silver and space grey, and can be bought from next week.
All of them will include a version of the M1 Pro or M1 Max chips that Apple revealed during the same live streamed announcement.
Until now, Apple’s more high-powered computers relied on chips from Intel, even after Apple launched its own M1 chips last year. The new versions of the MacBook Pro are the first of the Apple Silicon Macs that focus on the truly professional end of the market, with Apple showing them off in a range of contexts including music production and film editing.