Tuesday, November 29, 2022
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Updated MacBook Pros likely coming soon — but when will we see 5G-equipped Mac laptops?

As anticipated, Apple will release new MacBook Pro models (almost certainly 14-inch and 16-inch upgrades) in the fourth quarter of 2022, DigiTimes. No major design changes are expected, but I hope that in the near future, we’ll get Mac laptops with built-in cellular as an option.

This would be a major step for Apple as it’s yet to introduce any sort of cellular capability for its Mac laptop line. Various iPad models have various cellar options, so why not Mac laptops with built-in 5G.

However, in an October 2021 article, PCMag lead mobile and 5G analyst, Sascha Segan breaks down why it’s unlikely to see an Apple MacBook capable of leveraging 5G for the next three years.

He says: “The super-powered, go-anywhere MacBook Pros look perfect for the 5G age with the ability to download and edit massive ProRes video files and multi-track audio on location. But when it’s time to show those masterpieces to the world, Apple-toting pros need to tether or find Wi-Fi.”

Key highlights from his analysis:

  • Apple’s 5G laptop strategy right now is to tell you to buy an iPhone. Basically.
  • Qualcomm’s modems, which Apple will use at least through 2022, are a big cost. Selling one MacBook Pro plus an iPhone or iPad means two Apple devices and only one Qualcomm modem.
  • The demand for an always-connected laptop isn’t necessarily there, yet. They’re a sideshow, even among the hardest-core road warriors.
  • Without its own silicon and a big consumer push, Apple will kick the 5G ball down the road until it’s strategic.
  • 2024 is when nationwide coverage will open up on C-Band, the new US 5G band that was auctioned off last year.
  • So, the pieces fall into place in 2024 or 2025. Apple should have its own 5G silicon, and cities around the nation will be getting big performance boosts on Verizon and AT&T.

As for the upcoming MacBook Pro updates, they’re expected to feature M2 Pro and M2 Max processors. As mentioned, besides the processor upgrades, the laptops aren’t expected to feature any major redesign features. 

In fact, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo tweets that Apple has cut shipment forecasts for new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro updates by 20-30% before mass production due to lower than expected demand.

“The main upgrade of the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros is only the adoption of new processors,” he says. ”The limited new selling points may also result in lower-than-expected demand.”

Previously, Kuo said that Apple manufacturing partners will start mass production of new 14-inch MacBook Pro, 16-inch MacBook Pro, and iPad Pro models in the fourth quarter of the year, and all of the devices will likely remain equipped with 5nm chips even though some pundits are predicting 3nm processors.

Released in October 2021, current MacBook Pro models sport 5nm M1 Pro and M1 Max processors. Upcoming models will almost certainly pack M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, which some reports have said will be the first 3nm Apple Silicon processors.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.