Apple’s New 14-inch MacBook Pro Brings Back the Ports You’ve Missed

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Apple began a major architecture shift last year with the debut of the ARM-based M1 chip for its laptops. That same chip has since appeared in the iPad Pro, but Apple is not slowing down. If the original M1-based MacBook Pros weren’t powerful enough for you to leave Intel behind, the new and improved MacBook Pro 14 could do it. This device comes with the new M1 Pro and Max chips, a better display, more ports, and a display notch. Yes, really. 

The centerpiece of Apple’s new laptop is the revamped M1 chips, which come in two variants. The M1 Pro and Max both have up to 10-core CPUs on the Pro and an automatic 10-core on the Max. Up to eight of these are for speed and two for efficiency. The Pro has a 16-core GPU, and the Max offers a 32-core GPU, along with support for more memory capacity and bandwidth. Apple says these chips are more powerful and efficient, but that’s expected. What you might not expect is for Apple to admit it was wrong on ports. 

A few years back, Apple was among the first to jump into the USB-C era with both feet. While its phones still have the proprietary Lightning port, its computers have been shipping with only USB-C ports, forcing owners to live the dongle life to connect their peripherals. With the new 14-inch MacBook Pro, the ports are coming back. You still get three USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support, but Apple has added a MagSafe 3 port for charging. You can still charge via the USB-C ports, but MagSafe will ensure your laptop doesn’t go flying if the cable gets caught on something. 

More interesting for long-time MacBook users is the return of the HDMI-out and an SD card reader. Those ports are both on the right edge of the laptop. The SD slot will make it faster to pull data from an SD card, and does away with the need for a dongle. Likewise, the HDMI port lets you connect an external monitor without an adapter. If you want to connect more than one display, you’ll have to use the Thunderbolt ports. The touch bar has also gone the way of the Dodo, replaced with a new Magic Keyboard sporting full-height function-row keys. There is still a touch ID in the right-hand corner, though. 

The new keyboard lacks a touch bar, but there’s still a Touch ID sensor.

These design changes are all positive, but the screen might be divisive. It’s been years since Apple made a 14-inch laptop, and this panel will no doubt look amazing with a resolution of 3024 x 1964 and support for a 120Hz refresh rate. However, there’s a display notch similar to the one on the iPhone. It’s right in the middle of the top, and there’s no Face ID sensor in there like you might expect. It’s just a cut-out for the laptop’s improved 1080p webcam. It’s a bit of an eyesore, but we’ve managed to ignore the notch on the iPhone, so maybe it’ll fade into the background on a larger display, as well. 

The new 14-inch MacBook Pro is available for pre-order today, but it’s not cheap. It starts at $1,999, and that model has just 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. Add a few extras, and you’ll easily hit $3,000.

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