Apple’s new 13in MacBook Pro is here with the brand new M2 CPU. But you probably shouldn’t buy it – here’s why…
Apple’s newly released M2-powered 13in MacBook Pro is a bit of an enigma. On the one hand, it is a massively powerful MacBook that features market-leading battery performance and brilliant internal spec, fronted, of course, by Apple’s new M2 processor. It also comes with all the mod-cons you’d expect from a modern laptop as well, including support for Dolby Atmos.
Most would be forgiven for thinking the new 13in MacBook Pro is a solid buy, and in many respects it is. It has all the power most users will need, it will last for a solid eight to ten years, and it will run every new version of macOS from now until the late 2020s. And yet, if I were in the market for a new MacBook, I’d be giving the 13in MacBook Pro a wide berth.
The New M2 MacBook Air is Coming
And the reason is that, in the not too distant future, meaning the next few months, Apple will release its brand new MacBook Air with M2. And it is this release that makes recommending the 13in MacBook Pro difficult. You see, the new MacBook Air will have a better design, a larger display, the same CPU, and things like MagSafe charging, physical function keys, and much more besides. Oh, and the MacBook Air with M2 will retail for less than the 13in MacBook Pro.
The average consumer doesn’t know this though. They see the “Pro” and think, that means it is the best when in reality the MacBook Air will be a far more accomplished machine. Importantly, it will also be a better value for money buy too. And in 2022, with inflation and market uncertainty rife, getting value for money on your purchases has never been more important.
Similarly, nearly all of the 13in MacBook Pro reviews to date draw the same conclusion: the 13in MacBook Pro is a brilliantly powerful laptop, but it is next to impossible to recommend with the prospect of the hugely impressive, redesigned MacBook Air with M2 just around the corner. Plus, with the 13in MacBook Pro, Apple has pretty much left the design unchanged from its 2021 models. Also, Apple’s M1 Pro and M1 Max CPUs inside the 2021 MacBook Pro are more powerful than its M2 CPU.
Apple’s M1 Max CPU Is More Powerful Than Newer M2
The 13in MacBook Pro is now official, there are plenty of reviews of it online, so we now know what the M2 chip is capable of – it is powerful, of course, running rings around Intel’s 11th and 12th generation chipsets. But it is NOT more powerful than Apple’s heavily-optimized M1 Pro and M1 Max chipsets that you’ll find inside the Mac Studio and 2021 MacBook Pro models.
This means, that if you’re after the maximum amount of processing power, you need to go with either the Mac Studio or a 2021 MacBook Pro or wait for the M2 Max/M2 Pro variant of the MacBook Pro which will probably arrive some time in 2023. Are you confused yet? You should be – Apple’s new MacBook release schedule is one big, hot mess. You’re not going to be left wanting with the 13in MacBook Pro. But you will miss out on plenty of new features if you go with it over the incoming MacBook Air.
Viewed in a vacuum, the MacBook Pro 13 is a great laptop with outstanding performance and unbeatable battery life, characteristics that put it ahead of some of its PC rivals. Zoom out and it’s hard to see where this model fits within Apple’s portfolio. The most direct rival to this entry-level Pro isn’t the more premium versions, but rather, the MacBook Air. Not only does the Air have a lower starting price, but it has a larger display, a better webcam, quad speakers, more interesting color options, a slimmer chassis, and the benefit of a traditional shortcut row.
Does any of this matter? Not really. I mean, if you went out today and bought the 13in MacBook Pro, you’d be more than happy with your purchase – it’s a great laptop. It will function perfectly, handle whatever tasks you throw at it, and it will last all day on a single charge. And the M2 chip is decidedly faster and more efficient than the M1 chipset. And that’s great. But it still doesn’t get around the fact that if you go with this model, you’ll be effectively paying more for less (compared to the new, incoming MacBook Air).
And as a consumer, you’ll want to know that when you buy something as expensive as a MacBook, you’re getting the best possible model for your budget. Usually, this is pretty easy to do – the Pro models are usually the best. But in 2022, this just isn’t the case. And this is all down to Apple’s crazy-new way of making and releasing its MacBooks.
My advice? Hold fire on buying a new MacBook until the MacBook Air with M2 lands. Once it is official, you’ll be able to weigh up your options better. But given what we know about the MacBook Air, it seems highly likely that it will be a much better buy than Apple’s oddly timed, and potentially last ever, 13in MacBook Pro…
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.