The first wave of 2022 Apple products is expected to arrive at an event “on or near” March 8 and will include a new iPhone SE, iPad Air, and possibly a more premium Mac mini. Since Apple’s laptop won’t debut until later in the year, those hungry for M2-powered MacBooks will need to snack on rumors for a bit longer—don’t worry though, there is plenty to go around.
Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman, who reported on the March 8 event, anticipates Apple is planning a new entry-level MacBook Pro to replace the 13-inch M1 model released alongside the MacBook Air in 2020. The updated version will take after its premium siblings by dropping the Touch Bar—a move that would finally bury the divisive feature in the same graveyard as the Butterfly keyboard.
It won’t, however, gain the more advanced features found on the new 14-inch and 16-inch models. The 13-inch laptop will still be the “entry-level” MacBook Pro and will therefore forgo various upgrades, including a 120Hz miniLED ProMotion display, faster processors, and larger storage options. Instead, it will flaunt the same LCD screen at 60Hz and rely on an M2 processor, the successor to the M1, Apple’s speedy entry-level CPU.
It sounds like the 13-inch MacBook Pro will be a straightforward refresh, gaining an obligatory processor upgrade while removing the Touch Bar, a feature that was widely derided. It’s not clear whether Apple will do anything to its aging design, like slim down the bezels and add a notch, and we can only cross our fingers for MagSafe charging, an HDMI port, and an SD card slot—a trio of features that were revived on last year’s models.
If it doesn’t receive these updates, the 13-inch MacBook Pro will continue to lag behind the other “Pro” models and continue to be closer in specs to the MacBook Air, assuming the slimmer models receives the same processor update. The MacBook Pro 13’s LCD screen is dimmer and less vivid than the miniLED panels on the more expensive models, and its base M processor can’t keep up with the more powerful M Pro and M Max chips. The 13-inch laptop should remain more affordable than the larger models, but the gap in performance and features begs the question of whether this entry-level version is really all that “Pro.”
In other MacBook news, Gurman says Face ID, Apple’s facial recognition feature, will likely arrive on an iMac before it finds its way to laptops. The MacBook Pro 14 and 16 have notches, but Gurman says the technology doesn’t exist to fit Face ID onto a laptop bezel.
We don’t know when the new MacBook models are expected to arrive, but the second half of 2022 is the closest rumors get to a consensus. An endless stream of leaks and predictions will certainly fill the time, and we’re anticipating various new Apple products, with the first batch scheduled for early March.