It’s been over 200 days since Apple launched its revamped MacBook Pro line. Offered in 14-inch and 16-inch screen sizes, the new MacBooks wowed Apple fans and creative professionals with their powerful custom Apple silicon, mini-LED display, and multiple connectivity options. But there are still things you can’t do with a MacBook Pro. Here are five features that some Mac users are still waiting for.
1. Support for 120Hz 4K displays
Five years after removing the HDMI port from the MacBook Pro, in 2021 Apple brought back the much-used multimedia interface on its high-end laptop. Unfortunately, the HDMI port that returned isn’t that high-end – it’s an HDMI 2.0 port instead of an HDMI 2.1 port.
HDMI 2.1 technology would have allowed the port to run a 4K display with a 120Hz refresh rate. As it stands, the current MacBook Pro’s HDMI 2.0 port only supports a 4K display with a refresh rate up to 60Hz.
Apple’s decision not to support 4K at 120Hz may well have been based on bandwidth limitations, but the same maximum refresh rate applies to Thunderbolt 4 ports. M1 Pro MacBook Pro models support supports up to two external displays with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz, while the M1 Max MacBook Pro models support up to three external displays with up to 6K resolution and one external display with up to at 4K at 60Hz.
2. Support for UHS-III SD cards
In its attempt to appease photographers and video producers, Apple reintroduced the SD card slot, unheard of in a MacBook Pro model since 2015. What it didn’t explicitly announce was that the slot doesn’t support UHS-III cards, which offer read and write speeds of up to 624MB/s. (That wasn’t the only disappointment: the SD card slot in the new MacBook Pro supports UHS-II cards, but only up to 250MB/s of data transfer, not the 312MB/s the standard is theoretically capable of.)
There may not be many UHS-III cameras yet, but future-proofing connectivity on a laptop that costs over $2,000 will always be a welcome measure.
There’s a pretty simple reason why Apple didn’t add Ethernet connectivity to its latest MacBook Pro: a standard Ethernet port is actually thicker than the laptop’s chassis. So why should this even be considered a glaring omission?
In fact, Apple addressed the same challenge with the slim design of the latest 24-inch iMac, which, unlike the MacBook Pro, traditionally included an Ethernet port. Apple’s solution was to put the Ethernet port in the power adapter. Apple says this “cool new innovation” allows users to keep their desks less cluttered, while enjoying the benefits of Ethernet, which makes the lack of a similar port on the PSU all the more surprising. of the MacBook Pro.
4. 5G network connectivity
Lenovo, Samsung, Acer, Dell and HP all offer laptops with 5G connectivity, but no Macs in Apple’s laptop lineup currently support the cellular standard. The same can’t be said for Apple’s iPad range, with LTE versions of the iPad Pro and iPad mini readily available.
Should we expect the situation to change soon? Maybe so, if a January 2021 report by Well Connected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman has it all. Apple has developed “underlying Mac support” for cellular connectivity, according to Gurman, and given that we know Apple is working on its own set of custom modems that will appear in iPhones as early as 2023, we hope it will its appearance in next year’s MacBook. Pro.
5. Wi-Fi 6E support
Some say Wi-Fi 6E is still too new to merit Apple support. The counter-argument is that the Google Pixel 6 and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra already meet the standard, and users generally update their smartphones much more frequently than their laptops.
Wi-Fi 6E offers the features and capabilities of Wi-Fi 6, including higher performance, lower latency and faster data rates, extended to the 6 GHz band. The additional spectrum provides more airspace beyond existing 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi, resulting in increased bandwidth and less interference for devices supporting Wi-Fi 6E .
Since early 2021 – months before the launch of the new MacBook Pro – half a dozen routers and mesh systems have included the latest 6E Wi-Fi band. There will be more over time. All of these reasons are why Apple is expected to support the standard in its first mixed reality headset, which is due later this year or next. Whether it could feature in the next generation MacBook Pro is by no means outside the realm of possibility.