M1X MacBook Pro may still be on track for 2021 as new clues emerge

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

Apple’s redesigned MacBook Pro models with what’ll theoretically be the new M1X chip might have just been spotted in a filing with the EEC (Eurasian Economic Commission).

Hardware being filed with the EEC is a potential indication that a product could be due for launch in the near(ish) future, but it’s not cut-and-dried that these fresh findings actually relate to the revamped MacBook Pros – although it seems a fair bet.

As flagged by French tech site Consomac (via 9to5 Mac), a raft of existing Mac models getting updates to macOS 12 Monterey have been filed with the EEC, but interestingly two of those model numbers do not represent an existing Apple computer.

They are ‘A2442’ and ‘A2485’, so the theory is that these could be the new MacBook Pro 14-inch and MacBook Pro 16-inch for 2021, but that is admittedly a leap – there’s no clear link there. Logically, however, these are the most likely candidates for upcoming macOS sporting products, as we’ll discuss momentarily in our analysis.

Apple’s all-new MacBook Pro models are expected to change the design to a flat-edged one rather than sporting curves, and could bring back MagSafe charging, as well as introducing a fancy Mini LED display, the latter of which has been one of the more persistent rumors around these laptops.

Analysis: A process of elimination

The latest we’ve heard from the grapevine – and trusted Apple source Ming-Chi Kuo – is that the new MacBook Pros are still on track for a late 2021 release. And as 9to5 Mac points out, Mark Gurman, another reliable Apple leaker, has indicated that more M1X-powered machines are due in the ‘coming months’.

Given that this is a pair of new MacBook Pros, as mentioned above it seems a solid prospect that the two new product codes which have appeared at the EEC would refer to these portables. Especially seeing as other refreshes from Apple aren’t believed to be arriving until next year.

Apple isn’t expected to refresh the MacBook Air until 2022, when it could get not just the M2 processor – the fully-fledged sequel to the current M1 – but also possibly Mini LED screens like the incoming Pros are supposedly going to be upgraded with.

As for the iMac, the next move for the all-in-one is a revamped 27-inch model again purportedly not due until 2022. The only other prospect is a new high-end (M1X-toting) Mac mini, but Gurman suggests that this will come ‘soon after’ what should be the MacBook Pro launches, so likely early 2022 at a guess (though admittedly, some previous rumors have hinted that the Mac mini might come alongside the MacBook Pros).

Drawing all these threads together, it seems the MacBook Pro refreshes are by far the most likely models that the EEC references pertain to, and with that now having been filed, this hopefully indicates that the new versions of Apple’s laptops are still on track for 2021.

That said, we can’t ignore some of the other speculation that has been drifting around regarding delays and component shortages, and question marks over Mac stock. So even if it is Apple’s intention to get the new MacBook Pros out in 2021, Tim Cook’s current plans might not pan out anyway.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).