Apple has likely accidentally revealed screen resolutions for its upcoming MacBook Pro notebooks in a beta version of its forthcoming macOS Monterey operating system. If this information is correct, the new 14 and 16-inch display MacBook Pros will have higher resolutions than any current Apple monitors, but perhaps more importantly, they will feature a different aspect ratio.
Apple's macOS Monterey beta 7 lists two retina displays featuring resolutions currently not supported by any of Apple's retina monitors, which potentially means that these resolutions will be featured in the upcoming MacBook Pros expected to be released in October or November, reports MacRumors.
Assuming that the OS does not list resolutions set to be supported in the distant future, the new MacBook Pro 14 will offer a native resolution of 3024 × 1964, whereas the next-generation MacBook Pro 16 will feature a 3456 × 2234 native resolution. Both LCDs will offer a pixel density of 257 pixels per inch (PPI), up from 227 PPI in case of today's MacBook Pros.
While it is good to see that Apple is probably releasing MacBook Pros with higher native resolutions (keep in mind that Apple ships laptops with their resolutions scaled down by default to make everything look bigger and smoother), the more important takeaway here is the possibility that next-generation MacBook Pros will feature a 14:9 (1.56:1) aspect ratio, which is a huge departure from today's 16:9.
This new possible aspect ratio implies two things. First, if true, the new MacBook Pros will have to feature a design that's vastly different from all of Apple's laptops released in recent years. This is backed up by rumors from July that we would see redesigned MacBook Pros in Q3 of this year. Second, these new laptops might require Apple to use a new backlighting technology, which is perhaps why Apple reportedly opted for LCD panels with Mini LED backlighting in those July rumors.
A 14:9 aspect ratio is very close to the 3:2 (1.5:1) aspect ratio that multiple productivity laptop displays today have begun to prefer. Such an aspect ratio shows more data vertically, which is great for coding, reading, and writing, but may not be ideal for multitasking across different windows. Perhaps addressing that imbalance is the reason Apple's reportedly opting for a slightly wider 14:9 aspect ratio.
But at the same time, both 14:9 and 3:2 aspect ratio displays are not ideal for watching content shot for 16:9 screens (think TV content), since they produce noticeable black bars. Also, those who like to watch movies filmed for the cinema (in aspect ratios like 2.35:1 or 2.39:1) will see even larger black bars on these displays.
At the very least, usage of LCDs with Mini LED backlighting should mitigate the black bar issue a bit by allowing the picture to be bright but turning off the backlighting on the black bars.
There could be some silver lining for viewing content, though. Those who have access to content made in IMAX format (1.43:1) will probably find it more enjoyable on 14:9 and 3:2 monitors.
Apple does not comment on unreleased products, so we do not know whether the upcoming MacBook Pro laptops will indeed feature displays with a 14:9 aspect ratio and Mini LED backlighting. Yet, if the rumors are correct, the wait will be over in several weeks' time.