You Still Don’t Need a New MacBook Pro
When Apple updated its MacBook Pro lineup with the M1 Pro and M1 Max models in the fall of 2021, I told you you don’t need them . The design was great, MagSafe was back, and the upgraded M1 chips were beasts, but the machines were overkill for the average consumer. The same holds true today for the new M2 Pro laptops that Apple has just launched . Unfortunately, you still don’t need a new MacBook Pro.
What’s new in the 2023 MacBook Pro?
At first glance, you probably won’t be able to tell that Apple has abandoned the new MacBook Pros altogether. Of course, these new MacBooks look identical to the previous generation, so you can’t buy one just to show off.
What’s new is inside: These new MacBook Pros feature Apple’s latest M2 Pro and M2 Max chipsets, which build on performance gains from the M2 chip found in the latest MacBook Air. You can see this simply by comparing chip sizes: M2 Pro is significantly larger than M2, packing 40 billion transistors into a single chip; M2 Max increases this number to 67 billion. Apple hasn’t shared specific chip sizes, but take a look at the image below to see for yourself:
The M2 Pro gives you up to 32GB of storage at 200GB per second, twice the speed of the M2. It features a 12-core CPU (eight high-performance, four high-performance) and up to 19-core GPU. Apple is also touting its next-generation neural engine, which they say is “40% faster” than the M2. The M2 Max, on the other hand, lets you configure up to 96GB of storage ($1,200 upgrade, mind you) with 400GB of memory bandwidth per second. It has the same 12-core processor, but its GPU is much more powerful: 30 or 38 cores, depending on your configuration.
There are also new features you’ll get whether you order a 14-inch or 16-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Pro or M2 Max chips. All new MacBook Pros come with Wi-Fi 6E , which allows you to connect to 6GHz Wi-Fi networks that don’t share frequencies with slower Wi-Fi standards like Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 4. Both models also feature an upgraded HDMI port that supports up to 8K output as well as 4K output at 240Hz.
Apple carried over the rest of the features from the latest generation MacBook Pro, including three Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, an SDXC card reader, MagSafe, a 1080p FaceTime camera, and Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED displays with a 120Hz refresh rate and peaking. brightness 1600 nits.
There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, these are probably the best MacBook Pros Apple has ever made, based on a fan-favorite design with improved performance. What’s not to love?
Price: still high
Apple hasn’t changed the price of its MacBook Pros, keeping the same prices in 1999 and $2,499 for the 14-inch and 16-inch machines, respectively. It can now be argued that these prices are an improvement over the benefits we see in these machines. For $2,000 last week you got a 14-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 Pro, and the same money got you an 8K Wi-Fi 6E M2 Pro machine. It’s more for your money, so to speak.
But the simple fact is that in 2023, most people don’t need to spend $2,000 or more on a laptop. Most of us probably need a MacBook to surf the web, watch videos, message friends, and do work that isn’t particularly demanding on our computers. Spreadsheets, video calls, email, and the like can run on almost any machine these days.
For those looking for a great, well-rounded but not overly expensive or powerful MacBook, these new Pros are not the way to go. You’d better take a look at Apple’s MacBook Air M2, which also comes with MagSafe but no mini-LED display, SD or HDMI card reader; if you want those things, look for a good deal on last year’s M1 Pro MacBook Pro. It will look the same as the latest MacBook Pro, but will most likely be on sale at a hefty discount.
However, to be honest, I still recommend the M1 MacBook Air to most people over the M2 Air or M1 Pro. Despite being over two years old, the M1 chip is still powerful and can handle a lot of tasks, including some more resource-intensive tasks like photo and video editing. Apple knows these machines are still good and is selling them for the same $999 starting price they launched with. If you want to protect it in the future, upgrade to 16GB of RAM for an additional $200 , which will still save you $800 over newer models.
If you look at a refurbished Apple store, which is a must do , you can find the M1 MacBook Air even cheaper. Right now you can purchase the base model for $849 . While its seven-core GPU and 8GB of RAM can’t compete with the base model 14-inch MacBook Pro’s 16-core GPU and 16GB of RAM, the $1,150 savings seems pretty sweet.
If you want M2 Pro choose mini
The most affordable way to get into modern Mac life is with a Mac mini, and the M2 is no exception. Apple also upgraded the Mac mini to the M2 on the same day as the MacBook Pro, offering M2 and M2 Pro variants (no M2 Max, unfortunately). If you already have an external monitor and peripherals, you can try the M2 for just $599 , while the $1,299 M2 Pro Mac mini is the cheapest version of Apple’s latest professional chip. Sure, the cost of a great monitor, keyboard, mouse, and/or trackpad might get you closer to a 14-inch M2 Pro MacBook Pro, but for the right person, a mini might be the right move.
So, who should buy the new MacBook Pros?
Of course, the MacBook Pro M2 Pro and M2 Max are not for anyone . Apple makes these chips for those who need extra processing and graphics power to handle intensive workflows and boost productivity. Recording artists can overdub track upon track with layers of effects and edits without a second thought; editors can run up to 23 streams of 4K ProRes video simultaneously ; and for 3D graphics of all kinds, more power is better.
I also don’t want to shame anyone for buying more computers than they really need. If you have the money and really want an M2 Pro or M2 Max machine, go for it. If the specs are as good as Apple says, you’ll have one capable computer for the money and enjoy the best display and range of ports you can get on a Mac.
It’s not that the new MacBook Pros aren’t worth the money. But before you buy a new computer, you should consider your needs, look at the price, and determine if there’s a cheaper MacBook that fits your needs exactly the same. This might be the best option for you.