Apple’s 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros are its most powerful laptops, and they’ve won rave reviews since launching in October 2021, including our own five-star rating and Editor’s Choice award. In January 2023, however, Apple updated the laptops, updating them with new, more powerful chips.
We’ve rounded up everything there is to know about these new devices in this guide. If you’re intrigued by the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, read on.
Apple usually launches new MacBook Pro models in the fourth quarter of the year, but that didn’t happen in 2022. That sent tongues wagging that the laptops would instead be updated early into 2023, perhaps at a special spring event. In the end, the rumors were half right — Apple didn’t save the MacBook Pro for an event, but it did update them early in the year, via a press release in mid-January.
In the announcement, Apple explained that the MacBook Pro could be ordered from the date of the update (January 17), and that they would start arriving in the hands of customers a week later on January 24.
Pricing for the 14-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Pro chip starts at $1,999, the same starting price as the M1 Pro 14-inch MacBook Pro. Similarly, the new 16-inch MacBook Pro retains the $2,499 starting price of the previous model. That’s something of a relief given Apple’s recent penchant for bumping the prices of its devices when new versions come out.
When it comes to performance for the MacBook Pro 14 and 16, there’s only one thing to talk about, really: the Apple silicon chip. That’s because it’s the most significant new feature to come to the new MacBook Pros — most other changes were minor.
Before Apple’s announcement, there were rumors that the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips expected in the new laptops would be made with a three-nanometer process. In the end, that information proved to be incorrect, and the chips are made using a slightly less cutting-edge 5-nanometer process.
According to Apple, these chips offer a decent (if not earth-shattering) performance improvement. Starting with the M2 Pro, Apple says you can expect a 40% improvement in Adobe Photoshop image rendering times compared to the M1 Pro. The M2 Max, on the other hand, brings a 30% jump in Cinema 4D effects rendering and DaVinci Resolve color grading. That’s good to see, but not the next-generation gains we will likely see when the M3 series of chips appear.
Diving into the specifics, the M2 Pro comes with either a 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU, or a 12-core CPU and a 19-core GPU. That’s up from M1 Pro, which offered either an eight-core CPU and 14-core GPU, or a ten-core CPU and 16-core GPU. Like the M1 Pro, the M2 Pro comes with either 16GB or 32GB of memory.
The M2 Max, meanwhile, comes with two different options. One has a 12-core CPU and 30-core GPU, while the other is outfitted with a 12-core GPU and 38-core GPU. That top-end model has two more CPU cores and eight more GPU cores than the highest-end M1 Max. You can fit the M2 Max with up to 96GB of memory, much more than the 64GB that the M1 Max model topped out at.
Elsewhere, both the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro can have up to 8TB of storage, the same as the previous version.
As expected, the updated MacBook Pro features the same external chassis as its predecessor. That was wholly unexpected. After all, the M1 Pro and M1 Max versions of the laptop themselves featured a massive design overhaul, and Apple was never going to abandon that look after just one generation. No, we expect this design to last for a while longer.
One of the best features you’ll find in the MacBook Pro is its display. When we reviewed the previous MacBook Pro, our reviewer declared, “This is the best laptop I’ve seen for watching and creating HDR content.” With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Apple did not update its MacBook Pro displays for the M2 Pro and M2 Max versions.
Before the announcement, there was a rumor from DigiTimes (via MacRumors) that Apple was working on MacBooks kitted out with OLED displays that could launch in 2022. That never came to pass, and with the latest MacBook Pros launching without OLED panels, it seems that tech is some way from being ready for prime time.
Display industry analyst Ross Young chimed in (via MacRumors), stating that Apple was “increasingly likely” to launch a 13-inch MacBook (probably a MacBook Air) with an OLED screen in 2024. There was no mention of the MacBook Pro, and we’d expect 2024 is the earliest that device will get an OLED display. After all, we would be surprised to see Apple ditch its mini-LED screens so soon after adopting them.
As we said at the beginning of this article, the main improvement in the latest MacBook Pros was the inclusion of a new set of chips. But that wasn’t the only change we saw. There were a handful of smaller changes that nonetheless are welcome ones.
For one thing, Apple now claims the 16-inch MacBook Pro offers up to 22 hours of battery life, one hour longer than the previous-generation model and “the longest battery life ever in a Mac.” The 14-inch MacBook Pro has also seen its battery life increase from 17 hours to 18 hours. When we reviewed the 16-inch MacBook Pro, we got 18.5 hours of juice out of it. We’ll have to see how that compares to the new model when we get our hands on it.
Confirming a last-minute rumor, both MacBook Pro models now offer Wi-Fi 6E, an upgrade over the Wi-Fi 6 in the M1 Pro and M1 Max editions. That should provide faster wireless connectivity, provided you have a compatible router. As well as that, the Bluetooth version has also been bumped up to Bluetooth 5.3.
There’s good news too if you like to work with ultra-high-resolution monitors. The HDMI port on the side of the laptops has had an upgrade to HDMI 2.1, which means you can now connect an 8K display and have it run at 60Hz.
Finally, there’s a small change to the MagSafe cable that comes with the space gray version of the MacBook Pro. Previously you’d get a silver cable, which looked odd when connected to the darker laptop. Now, that cable also comes in space gray, correcting a strange design oversight on Apple’s part.