Computing

MacBook Pro 14 and 16 (2023): Unveiling the M2 Pro/Max Upgrade

Apple’s 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros have garnered high praise as the company’s most robust laptops. Since their launch in October 2021, they have received rave reviews, including our own five-star rating and Editor’s Choice award. In January 2023, Apple took the opportunity to enhance these laptops even further by introducing new, more powerful chips. Let’s dive into everything you need to know about these exciting new devices in this comprehensive guide.

Price and Release Date

A person sitting in a vehicle using a MacBook Pro on their lap.
Image by Apple

Typically, Apple launches new MacBook Pro models in the fourth quarter of the year. However, in 2022, that tradition was disrupted, leading to speculation that the laptops would instead be updated in early 2023, possibly during a special spring event. As it turned out, the rumors were partially accurate—Apple didn’t save the MacBook Pro update for an event. Instead, they announced the updates via a press release in mid-January.

According to the announcement, customers could start ordering the new MacBook Pros from the date of the update (January 17), with deliveries beginning a week later on January 24.

The pricing for the 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M2 Pro chip remains the same as the M1 Pro version, starting at $1,999. Similarly, the new 16-inch MacBook Pro retains its starting price of $2,499, providing a sense of relief considering Apple’s recent inclination to increase prices with new releases.

New Chips Arrive

The Apple M2 Pro and M2 Max chips next to each other.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

When discussing the performance of the MacBook Pro 14 and 16, there’s one standout feature that demands attention—the Apple silicon chip. This chip represents the most significant addition to the new MacBook Pros, with most other changes being relatively minor.

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Before Apple’s announcement, rumors circulated that the new laptops would house the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, manufactured using a cutting-edge three-nanometer process. However, those rumors proved to be incorrect, as Apple opted for a slightly less advanced five-nanometer process.

Apple claims that these chips offer a notable improvement in performance without being groundbreaking. The M2 Pro delivers a 40% enhancement in Adobe Photoshop image rendering times compared to the M1 Pro. On the other hand, the M2 Max boasts a 30% jump in Cinema 4D effects rendering and DaVinci Resolve color grading. While these improvements are significant, we can anticipate even greater gains when the M3 series of chips emerges.

To delve into the specifics, the M2 Pro is equipped with either a 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU or a 12-core CPU and 19-core GPU. This represents an upgrade from the M1 Pro, which offered either an eight-core CPU and 14-core GPU or a ten-core CPU and 16-core GPU. Like its predecessor, the M2 Pro is available with either 16GB or 32GB of memory.

The M2 Max offers two different configurations. One model features a 12-core CPU and 30-core GPU, while the other boasts a 12-core CPU and 38-core GPU. The top-end model surpasses the highest-end M1 Max with an additional two CPU cores and eight GPU cores. Additionally, the M2 Max supports up to 96GB of memory, a marked improvement over the M1 Max’s maximum capacity of 64GB.

Both the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro can accommodate up to 8TB of storage, maintaining the same capacity as the previous models.

No Major Design or Display Changes

The 14-inch MacBook Pro with M2 chips in front of the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M2 chips.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

As expected, the updated MacBook Pro retains the same external chassis as its predecessor. After all, the M1 Pro and M1 Max versions of the laptop underwent a massive design overhaul, so it is understandable that Apple decided to keep this look for a while longer.

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One of the standout features of the MacBook Pro is its display. In our previous review, we declared it the best laptop for watching and creating HDR content. Given this, it is not surprising that Apple did not make any changes to the MacBook Pro displays for the M2 Pro and M2 Max versions.

Before the announcement, there were rumors that Apple was developing MacBooks equipped with OLED displays, potentially launching in 2022. However, these rumors did not materialize, and the latest MacBook Pros were released without OLED panels. It seems that OLED technology still has some way to go before it is ready for mainstream use. According to display industry analyst Ross Young, Apple is “increasingly likely” to introduce a 13-inch MacBook (likely a MacBook Air) with an OLED screen in 2024. However, there was no mention of OLED displays coming to the MacBook Pro, and we anticipate that it will take longer for these devices to adopt OLED technology, especially since Apple recently embraced mini-LED screens.

Enhanced Battery Life and Improved Connectivity

A person sitting at a desk using a MacBook Pro on their lap.
Image by Apple

As mentioned earlier, the primary enhancement in the latest MacBook Pros is the inclusion of the new M2 chips. However, Apple has also made several other changes, albeit smaller ones, that greatly improve the user experience.

Firstly, Apple claims that the 16-inch MacBook Pro now offers up to 22 hours of battery life, surpassing the previous-generation model by one hour and achieving “the longest battery life ever in a Mac.” The 14-inch MacBook Pro also sees an increase in battery life, extending from 17 hours to 18 hours. We are eager to verify these claims when we get our hands on the new model.

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Additionally, both MacBook Pro models now feature Wi-Fi 6E, an upgrade over the Wi-Fi 6 found in the M1 Pro and M1 Max editions. This improvement promises faster wireless connectivity, provided you have a compatible router. Furthermore, the Bluetooth version has been upgraded to Bluetooth 5.3.

For those who work with ultra-high-resolution monitors, there’s good news. The HDMI port on the side of the laptops now supports HDMI 2.1, enabling you to connect an 8K display and enjoy a 60Hz refresh rate.

Lastly, Apple has made a minor update to the MagSafe cable that accompanies the space gray version of the MacBook Pro. Previously, this cable came in silver, which looked out of place when connected to the darker laptop. Now, Apple offers the cable in space gray, rectifying an odd design oversight.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • The HP Envy 16 costs less, but the mighty MacBook Pro 16 retains its top spot
  • The Dell XPS 15 has one major advantage over the MacBook Pro
  • Best refurbished MacBook deals: Get a MacBook Air for $200
  • This tiny ThinkPad can’t quite keep up with the MacBook Air M2
  • This powerhouse laptop gives the MacBook Pro an honest run for its money

Note: This article is written for OnSpec Electronic, Inc. For more information about their products, please visit OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

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