When Apple unveiled its new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops in October 2021, it was the device’s most significant upgrade in years. After a year, we anticipate a refresh for both laptops.
It’s expected to be a more subdued affair this time. But there are still plenty of ways for Apple to push the MacBook Pro to new heights, even if we may have to wait a little longer than this fall to see them. These are the features I’d like to see in Apple’s next pro-level laptops, ranging from gaming tuning to Face ID. Sure, they’re unlikely this time, but it’s always good to be optimistic, right?
Improved gaming performance
Let’s face it: MacBooks aren’t great gaming machines. However, this hasn’t stopped Apple from making significant inroads into this market in recent years. Apple Arcade is a dedicated gaming subscription service run by the company, and the company brought notable game developers on stage at WWDC to announce a “new day” for gaming on Mac.
This is due to hardware improvements as well as software enhancements such as MetalFX Upscaling and the Fast Resource Loading API. And I’d like to see some enticing improvements here this fall.
The new MacBook Pro models will almost certainly include M2 Pro and M2 Max processors. While the architecture of the M2 chip was not revolutionary in comparison to its predecessor, the best improvements are likely to be seen in the pro-level chips. According to DigiTimes, the M2 Pro and M2 Max could be manufactured using a 3-nanometer process, which would likely result in significant performance gains. While analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has disputed that, I’d love to see it happen this fall.
Finally, Face ID
Death, taxes, and the fact that I will continue to harp on Face ID coming to the Mac until it happens are the only certainties in life. Apple knows what to do if I don’t shut up.
Face ID works so well on iPhone because you don’t have to do anything unusual: simply look at your phone to unlock it. The same can be said for the MacBook Pro. Instead of reaching for the Touch ID button at the top of the keyboard, you’d simply sit down, stare at your screen, and it’d be unlocked. It’s the kind of seamless interaction that Apple products are known for, and it makes perfect sense for people like you and me.
It makes sense from Apple’s point of view as well. Apple is increasingly segmenting its products, as evidenced by rumors that Apple will soon rebrand the Pro Max as an “iPhone Ultra” that is even more distinct from the Pro models. Adding Face ID to the MacBook Pro would align with that business plan by creating a clear distinction between the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, and would provide a compelling reason for people to upgrade.
That leads me to believe Face ID on the Mac makes sense for Apple, and we know the company is experimenting with it based on a slew of patents. And, now that the MacBook Pro has a notch, what better way to highlight the device’s fancy new Face ID capabilities?
On a Mac, the Dynamic Island
It’s no secret that Dynamic Island was my favorite announcement from Apple’s September iPhone event. It’s still a work in progress, but it perfectly demonstrates how Apple can expertly blend hardware and software into something truly magical.
What if you could have that kind of functionality on a Mac? While you were working on something else, you would see background activities such as your currently playing music or screen recording status. On a Mac, overlapping windows and multi-tasking workflows can quickly become overwhelming, vying for attention. Dynamic Island may be able to alleviate some of that burden without requiring you to switch windows as frequently.
It would have to function very differently than it does on the iPhone. For starters, “flinging” an app into the Dynamic Island as you would on an iPhone would not work on a Mac because you don’t interact with apps in that way in macOS. At least one fan mockup has also fallen short. However, if Apple can retool it to work on Macs while avoiding design pitfalls, it could be a fantastic new way to use apps on your laptop.