Why Apple’s subtle MacBook Pro decision makes me so happy

The M1-powered MacBook Pro viewed from a high angle.
Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

I’ve complained about the 13-inch MacBook Pro for years, often referring to it as the worst Mac in the lineup. But at Apple’s Scary Fast Mac event today, the company decidedly killed the product — at least for now.

Rather than updating the 13-inch MacBook Pro with the new M3 chip, Apple has replaced it in the lineup with a new configuration of the 14-inch MacBook Pro featuring the M3. Acting as the entry-level MacBook Pro, this new configuration does away with the leftover oddities on the 13-inch MacBook Pro from its bygone era, such as the Touch Bar, worse screen, old webcam, outdated port selection, and big bezels. But as of today, this 13-inch MacBook Pro is no longer being sold by Apple — and we should all be happy about that.

While the new 14-inch MacBook Pro is a bit thicker and larger, it comes with a whole host of benefits. It has the same Liquid Retina XDR display that comes in the other MacBook Pros, which is still the best display in a laptop that  you can buy. It also has the 1080p webcam FaceTime, improved six-speaker audio system, better microphones, larger function row keys, the inclusion of an HDMI port, and the MagSafe 3 charger. Of course, there’s the M3 too, which brings a nice uptick in performance with improved CPU and GPU cores over the M2.

Two MacBooks Pro renders side by side against a black backround.

You get all that for the same $1,599 price as the previous 13-inch MacBook Pro. There’s one catch, though. Apple used to sell the 13-inch MacBook Pro with only 256GB of shared memory for $1,299, and that configuration no longer exists. The $1,599 model comes with 8GB of memory and 512GB of storage, but that’s as low as it goes.

So, Apple is no longer selling a MacBook Pro at that affordable price point, but that is a really good thing. There was very little about that laptop that made it “pro,” especially compared to the M2 MacBook Air. Removing the 13-inch MacBook Pro makes for a much clearer distinction between Air and Pro models, protecting the identity of both and making it much simpler for shoppers to find something they need. That’s especially true right now, since the MacBook Air is still awaiting its update to M3.

We don’t know for sure that Apple will never bring back the 13-inch MacBook Pro. While it’s been removed from the lineup today, there’s no guarantee that Apple won’t bring it back in 2024 alongside the M3 MacBook Air update that is surely in the works. But for now, I’m quite pleased that Apple has replaced it with something decidedly more deserving of the “Pro” brand.

The new M3 14-inch MacBook Pro is available for preorder starting today.

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