Apple could ship powerful new MacBook Pro models in Q3, featuring M1X

Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020)
(Image credit: Future)

It's been speculated for some time that Apple will shortly reveal a new MacBook Pro, built around a more powerful M1X (or perhaps M2) chip. Two potential unveiling timelines were suggested, with renowned Apple leaker Jon Prosser previously speculating that Apple would make an announcement at WWDC 2021 on June 7.

We obviously didn't see the new machines at the event, which leaves the rough estimate provided by Bloomberg, based on supply chain leaks that suggest that both the new MacBook Pro 14-inch and MacBook Pro 16-inch models will feature a mini-LED display. According to Apple supplier Global Lighting Technologies, those display components won't ship to the factories until Q3 of 2021 which will make a tight turnaround for the devices to hit the shelves during the same period.

A possible 2022 release

A paywalled DigiTimes report adds further weight to a Q3 release for the latest generation of MacBook Pro, though the phrasing in the article may only refer to the earlier mentioned components rather than the fully assembled units themselves. MacRumors provided snippets of the report, which reads "Apple is expected to roll out two new MacBook Pro models later in 2021, with shipments slated to kick off in the third quarter, according to industry sources".

If these shipments do only refer to components then there's a real chance we might not see the updated MacBook Pro models available to buy until 2022. All things considered though, it might be well worth the wait.

There are numerous predictions that the new MacBook Pro models will be powered by a more powerful sequel to the popular M1 SoC (system-on-a-chip). This anticipated upgrade, currently being dubbed the M1X or M2 chip, makes sense given the full updated Mac line and even the latest iPad Pro 12.9 2021 uses the existing M1 hardware.

As impressive as the M1 is, it makes no sense to give the most powerful products in Apple's lineup the same hardware as something like the MacBook Air 2021, with recent rumors flying that the M1X could give the RTX 3070 laptop GPU a run for its money which would make this a perfect buy for graphic designers and folk in the VFX industry.

The timeline to release both models of the new MacBook Pro could have been delayed due to the production of this new SoC given the ongoing global shortage of silicon. We will know soon enough when an official announcement is made, but take all rumors with a pinch of salt to avoid disappointment. 

Jess Weatherbed

Jess is a former TechRadar Computing writer, where she covered all aspects of Mac and PC hardware, including PC gaming and peripherals. She has been interviewed as an industry expert for the BBC, and while her educational background was in prosthetics and model-making, her true love is in tech and she has built numerous desktop computers over the last 10 years for gaming and content creation. Jess is now a journalist at The Verge.