Top Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities said in a note Wednesday that Apple is building two redesigned MacBook Pros set to launch in 2021 and a new "more affordable" MacBook Air due to launch in 2022.
Apple's MacBooks are overdue for a redesign. It launched a new 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air in November with the Apple M1 chip, which proved Apple is capable of besting Intel in battery life and performance. But the laptops don't offer much new in terms of hardware design. While Kuo didn't point to a touchscreen, the M1 laptops now support iPad and iPhone apps, opening up the possibility that Apple might one day add a touch screen to its computers.
Macs have been selling well during the pandemic, with revenue up 28% year-over-year in Q4, but Apple could use the redesign to really push its M1 chips to more users. Some people might not see much of a reason to upgrade to the first M1 laptops right now, since they look the same as Intel-based models, but a big design change might help Apple continue to drive new purchases.
Kuo said the new laptops will be among the first to use new mini LED screens. They're supposed to be better than the traditional LCD or OLED displays on today's gadgets with improved contrast, which would improve image and video quality. That could make it more appealing to photographers and videographers who use MacBooks to edit pictures and videos. Kuo said last year that the first mini LED product would be an iPad Pro in Q3 of 2020. But that product did not include a mini LED screen.