The best business features on the new MacBook Pro

A photographer using the 2021 MacBook Pro with M1 Max chip
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple's latest MacBook Pros are here and boast an assortment of features to please the professional user. Two new models were revealed during the company's virtual 'Unleashed' event on Monday - 14in and 16in versions - with a new keyboard, M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, and more connectivity ports than ever before.

The changes addressed a number of complaints users have had with the company's flagship notebook over the last five years, with thinness and portability seemingly put above connectivity and user experience.

First port of call

The 2016 MacBook Pro left many users frustrated after it dropped a number of popular connections. The SD card reader and the HDMI port were two big losses for that year, but they've both made a return for 2021.

The new port selection on the MacBook Pro

Both the 14in and 16in MacBook Pro models feature three Thunderbolt 4 ports, a headphone jack, SD card reader and an HDMI port, making it one of the most port-heavy MacBooks to date. This is part of the reason why it is also a bit chunkier than previous years, but that's a good thing if it means you don't need to spend more to get your new Mac to connect to a TV or memory card.

Magnetic fast charging

Another welcome return is the MagSafe fast charger (MagSafe 3) which comes with a new design. This offers fast charging capabilities on a Mac for the first time, with up to 50% charge in just 30 minutes, according to Apple.

The return of the MagSafe charger on the MacBook Pro

Goodbye Touch Bar

The new MacBook Pro supports a black Magic Keyboard with elegant backlighting. It features 'double-anodised' keys with a full-height function row and physical function keys, such as a wider escape key, replacing the Touch Bar. This brings back the "familiar, tactile feel of mechanical keys that pro users love", according to Apple, which suggests that both the Touch Bar and butterfly switch keys might be gone for good.

Apple's new Magic Keyboard in its MacBook Pro

Super chips

The new MacBook Pros are the first to pack Apple's new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. The former features an up-to-10-core CPU with eight high-performance cores and two high-efficiency cores, along with an up-to-16-core GPU. This delivers up to 70% faster CPU performance than the previous M1 chip, Apple claims, and up to 2x faster GPU performance.

The M1 Max features the same powerful 10-core CPU as M1 Pro, and doubles the GPU with up to 32 cores for up to 4x faster GPU performance than the previous M1. Apple said that having this huge amount of memory available is "game-changing for pro workloads" as it allows pros to do things that were "previously unimaginable on a notebook".

A cooler MacBook

Both the 14in and 16in models have been designed to boost performance while remaining cool, according to Apple. They feature a new aluminium enclosure that optimises internal space to support a new thermal system. This can circulate 50% more air than the previous generation, even with lower fan speeds, Apple claims.

The aim of this is to sustain high performance while staying cool and quiet. What's more, Apple suggests that its cooling fans might not even have to be turned on for most tasks users perform every day.

Bobby Hellard

Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.

Bobby mainly covers hardware reviews, but you will also recognize him as the face of many of our video reviews of laptops and smartphones.