Welcome back SD card slot: Apple launches new Macbook Pro lineup

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Apple has announced new 14" and 16" MacBook Pro models, which bring with them the most substantial redesign to the popular macOS laptops since the introduction of the Touchbar Macbook Pro in 2016.

Image: Apple
Image: Apple 

The new models feature new M1 Pro and M1 Max chipsets, a step that removes Intel chips from the company's computers and promises to be 70 per cent faster than its M1 predecessors, according to Apple.

But it's the addition of new Liquid Retina XDR displays, the (welcome) addition of an SD card slot and HDMI port, and the absence of the Touchbar, now replaced with Apple's standard function key array, that are likely to be of most interest to photographers. 

On the inside, the chips include 10 total CPU cores, up from the eight in the M1 chip. Both the M1 Pro and M1 Max should offer better graphics performance too, as they come with 16 and 32 graphics cores, respectively. That’s up from the seven or eight-core options offered with the M1 Macs.

Image: Apple
Image: Apple

In real terms, Apple says M1 Max is as much as four times faster than the earlier M1 chip, while the M1 Pro is twice as fast, and a whopping 13 times faster than earlier Intel models. Memory also gets a boost, with the M1 Pro supporting 32 gigabytes of memory, while the M1 Max has up to 64 gigabytes. That’s up from 8GB or 16GB offered with the M1.

The new model comes in both 14.2-inch and 16.2-inch screen sixes, with both displays using colour accurate miniLED panels. The 14" has a resolution of 3024 x 1964 pixels, while the 16.2" display has a resolution of 3456 x 2234 pixels.

The screens have a bigger fooprint too, with 24 per cent thinner borders on the side and a 60 per cent thinner border at the top thanks to a new cutout that makes the display look more like the one on an iPhone. Speaking of the bezel, it's home to a 1080p camera.

Image: Apple
Image: Apple

Always a divisive feature, Apple has abandoned the Touch Bar on the new models, instead replacing it with a fingerprint scanner and function keys. Apple has also restored the HDMI port, an SD card slot and MagSafe charging.

The addition of MagSafe is a welcome one that should mean the new laptops disconnect from the charger if knocked rather than stay connected and potentially tumble onto the ground. However, it does mean another charging cable variant for those who have got used to using USB-C in recent years.

In terms of battery life, the 16-inch model can reach an impressive 21 hours of battery life when watching video, with the 14-inch maxing out at 17 hours. There's also a new fast-charge feature which can speed up the first part of the charge cycle from zero to 50 per cent quickly. 

The new Macbooks ship in November and are available to order now. The 14-inch model starts at $2,999 to $3,749, with the 16-inch model starting at $3,749 and maxing out to an eye watering $5,249. You can find out all the details at Apple.com.au.

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