Why buy Apple’s new 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro?

Apple’s new 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro “occupies a weird space in Apple’s current Mac lineup and there’s little reason for most users to buy it,” Mike Peterson writes for AppleInsider.

Apple's new 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro
Apple’s new 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro

Mike Peterson for AppleInsider:

Apple hasn’t revealed why it’s kept the 13-inch MacBook Pro — with an upgraded chip — on the roster. It’s likely that the company won’t ever confirm why.

More than that, the 13-inch MacBook Pro officially becomes available to order on June 17, while the new M2-equipped MacBook Air is still nowhere to be seen. Given the lack of changes, it makes sense that the MacBook Pro would be ready to go sooner, but it lends credence to the theory that Apple is offloading older parts…

Keeping the MacBook Pro virtually unchanged would actually make sense if it received a price drop. However, the 13-inch MacBook Pro retails for $1,299 — the same exact price as its predecessor. That’s also $100 more expensive than the MacBook Air, which has enough new features to justify the cost.

For the majority of users and in the majority of cases, that money is undoubtedly better spent on the MacBook Air. There could be a few exceptions to that, however.

If you work with heavy editing or CPU-intensive tasks, then the 13-inch MacBook Pro could provide sustained performance with its active cooling system. The addition of ProRes encoding and decoding also hints at the fact that the MacBook Pro is meant to be a portable field workstation.

MacDailyNews Take: The new 13.3-inch M2 MacBook Pro also offers a bit more battery life than even the new 13.6-inch M2 MacBook Air, which may be an important factor for some users (the Pro offers up to 17 hours wireless web vs. up to 15 hours for the Air; up to 20 hours Apple TV app movie playback vs. up to 18 hours Apple TV app movie playback for the Air). The Pro sports an integrated 58.2-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery vs. and integrated 52.6-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery for the Air.

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  1. And there’s the Touch Bar. After using it day-to-day (not just playing around at Apple Store), I find it useful. It provides word predictions and corrections (including emoji suggestions 😃), like iOS does above its onscreen keyboard. It also shows the tabs of current Safari window, making it easier to switch between tabs; I’ve changed my behavior to use tabs more instead of separate Safari windows. I understand why it’s not better appreciated, because what it provides is somewhat unpredictable. I keep finding new ways its useful, almost by accident. I don’t use F-keys much, so Touch Bar is a plus. There’s a third-party utility called Haptic Touch Bar that makes Touch Bar give feedback, practical and functional.

    I think Apple kept M2 13-inch MacBook Pro unchanged (except better performance and higher 24GB max memory) because the M1 Pro 14-inch MacBook Pro is still less than one year old, likely to stay in lineup for at least another year. Apple wants those two “pro” choices to be more distinct, less overlapping. The better choice right now may be to find a great deal on an in-stock M1 13-inch MacBook Pro, with bumped up storage and memory specs. Most customers (who don’t need a bigger more powerful MacBook Pro) probably won’t notice a difference between M1 and M2. Extra storage is more valuable, and extra RAM provides future-proofing as MacOS advances.

  2. We’ll be replacing the wife’s 2017 MBA with an M2 Air in a few but I’m not sure yet if I want the Air or the 14″ Pro to replace my TEN YEAR OLD MBP 13″.

    I still can’t believe it’s been 10 years. Wow.

  3. The design has been around a while and it’s totally paid for. If you understand the education market, teachers typically get MacBook Pros while the students get MacBook airs…

    Apple will sell this by the boatload to the education market at steep discounts and then they will sell the M2 MacBook Air for students to use where those are purchased.

    Teachers do not get brand new 14 inch $2000 MacBook Pro‘s, but schools will get $1000 great value M2 MacBook Pro 13.3 inch w/touchbar MacBooks.

    Apple will quietly discontinue the model in about a year or so once new MacBook Pros hit the market… There is usually always one low-end pro model around for teachers. Got to keep thinking about that education space because it’s a biggie and Apple still sells into it quite strongly.

    1. Teachers don’t want a computer that is heavier and has less I/O than MBAs. These are also significantly more expensive than the M1 MBAs, and there’s no reason that a teacher would need an M2 chip. Most software developers I know think the M1 chips are amazing, and don’t plan to upgrade to an M2 machine.

      I think that many people who end up buying the M2 MBAs will be under-informed buyers who would not have made that choice if they understood the tradeoffs. Worse camera, worse i/O (bc no MagSafe means you charge via one of the two USB ports), and significantly heavier. What’s to love? The fact that it has a fan that can kick on if you’re pegging the processor for extended periods? Or the TouchBar, that is so unpopular Apple has removed it from every other laptop?

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