Last-Minutes Guesses for Today’s ‘Unleashed’ Event

All of these are purely guesses, based on rumors and my sense of which way the wind is blowing in Cupertino. I could well be wrong about most of these. I started a thread on Twitter with most of the following guesses — feel free to chime in with your guesses and wishes there. We need to do something for the next 90 minutes, might as well speculate.

New MacBook Pros:

  • Slightly thicker bodies.
  • Slightly raised feet for cooling.
  • No notch.
  • SD card slot + HDMI port. (I think an SD card slot is more likely than HDMI though — HDMI is so damn thick.)
  • USB-A port: nope.
  • New MagSafe connector.
  • Touch Bar? I hope they replace it with something new, Touch Bar 2, not just a return to dumb F-keys. F-keys would be easier though, and would satisfy the Touch Bar haters. I just can’t shake the feeling that the Touch Bar was a wonderful idea but the first crack at it wasn’t good enough. People need to feel keys — your eyes are on the display, not the keyboard.

CPU performance we can kind of extrapolate from the state-of-the-art A15 chips and from the existing M1’s. We know they’re going to be fast, and we know that adding more high-performance cores will be game-changing for many pro workflows. But I think a big part of the story will be sustained performance, not just peak performance. Let these chips actually get warm — hence my guess that these MacBook Pros might be slightly thicker than the Intel-based models they’re replacing. We know from the late great iMac Pro that Apple can engineer incredible cooling systems that run nearly silently. Do it for pro MacBooks now.

What I think might prove shocking is the GPU performance of these chips. Particularly performance per watt. The hitch: apps will need to embrace Metal APIs to take advantage of them. Very interested to see which, if any, third-party developers got advanced access and get demo time during the show.

New large-display iMacs with pro-level performance? I’d love to see it. Feels due. But the rumor mill is very dry on this front. Would be fun if they’re ready to go and Apple has kept them under wraps.

New standalone sanely-priced Apple display? Again, nothing from the rumor mill, but I’d love to see it. People want standalone displays for their MacBooks and Mac Minis. People don’t want to spend $5,000 on a Pro Display XDR. Third-party display makers clearly are not capable of or willing to serve the Mac market. So why not get back in the prosumer display game with a $1,500 iMac-quality standalone display?