New MacBook Pro models with Apple’s custom-designed silicon and Mini LED displays are coming this fall, according to a new report from Taiwanese news publication DigiTimes.
Last summer, Apple announced that it would transition the entirety of the Mac product lineup from Intel’s CPUs to Apple’s own, custom-designed silicon within a two-year timeframe. The first Macs to make the move were the MacBook Air and the low-end configurations of the Mac mini and 13-inch MacBook Pro. Earlier this year, Apple introduced a 24-inch iMac as well. All of these Macs had the M1, the first Apple Silicon SoC for Macs. (The M1 was also used in the most recent refresh of the iPad Pro.)
But all those Macs have something in common: they’re on the low end, with limitations like fewer ports than the more expensive systems the company makes. All the higher-end Macs still have Intel chips. Given that WWDC 2021 (which took place in early June) marked one year since Apple first announced the transition, a lot of people expected some of those high-end Macs to move to Apple Silicon at that event—us included. But it didn’t happen. Some supply chain sources seemed to indicate that Mini LED display production was a key bottleneck.
Components used in those Mini LED displays were the subjects of DigiTimes’ new report. It claims that Apple has validated two new suppliers—Zhen Ding and Tripod—for Mini LED backlights appropriate for new MacBook Pro computers. The report also says that those suppliers are gearing up for shipments late in the third quarter of this year. That could mean that the new MacBook Pro models will debut around the same time as the new Apple Watch and iPhone are expected to—sometime in September, perhaps.
Prior reporting from Bloomberg has said that there will be two new MacBook Pro models: an updated 16-inch version, and a 14-inch version to replace the existing 13-inch MacBook Pro. Apple is working on two chips for these computers, codenamed “Jade C-Chop” and “Jade C-Die.” Both would feature eight high-performance CPU cores and two efficiency CPU cores, compared to the M1’s four performance cores and four efficiency cores. They would also have a new neural processing unit for faster machine-learning tasks.
According to the Bloomberg story, the distinction between Jade C-Chop and Jade C-Die would be the GPU—one would have 16 cores, and the other 32. For comparison, the M1 has either a seven-core or eight-core GPU, depending on the device. And among other things, the new chips would allow for more ports, more RAM, and more external monitors than the M1.