Apple is expected to release the first revision to the 2021 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro in 2023. Here’s everything we expect to see with the M2 Pro chip and M2 Max chip MacBook Pro notebooks so far.
When are M2 Pro and M2 Max MacBook Pros coming?
Mark Gurman at Bloomberg set the expectations after the iPhone 14 event that Apple was unlikely to hold a second fall event in 2022.
Instead, Apple could simply brief select members of the tech media on the new machines and put out a press release. That’s partly because the big upgrade to these Macs is largely just beefier versions in terms of performance.
Apple later signaled that their holiday lineup was set for the year. Nevertheless, we’ve continued to see more and more evidence that unreleased Macs will soon become released Macs.
2022 MacBook Pro colors?
Expecting space gray and silver MacBook Pro colors again is the safe bet. Something new has happened since the last round of MacBook Pros, though. In June, Apple made a darker aluminum finish called midnight. The MacBook Air is the only machine to sport this blackish-blue shade of metal so far.
If the MacBook Pro came in the new color, it would both look newer and be the first midnight notebook with an all-black keyboard. While many still await an all-black MacBook Pro, this would be a great alternative to silver and space gray.
MacBook Pro customers last year were also disappointed that the USB-C MagSafe 3 cable only came in white/silver. It color-matches the silver MacBook Pro, but it’s not a match for space gray customers. Apple has since released color-matching USB-C to MagSafe 3 cables for space gray, starlight, and midnight. Surely, Apple will bundle the space gray version with space gray MacBook Pros with this revision.
The M2 iPad Pro update, however, does not include Midnight. This doesn’t bode well for a Midnight MacBook Pro.
M2 Pro and M2 Max
Finally, the real reason for the upgrade is internal.
Apple introduced its M1 Pro and M1 Max processors in October 2021 alongside 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros. The company kept the Apple silicon upgrade train chugging along last spring with the even more powerful M1 Ultra.
Then Apple started the M2 cycle in June with the MacBook Air. We can probably expect the same M1 to M2 performance boost, just scaled up for Pro and Max versions in new MacBook Pros. Yes, that might mean more fan activity to prevent throttling. That’s still to be decided.
Unless you’re eking out the most performance from your MacBook Pro, this likely won’t be a year-over-year update that M1 Max customers require. If you bought an M1 Pro before and you’re ready for a Max flavor instead, M2 Max is your chance.
Mark Gurman at Bloomberg has emphasized that graphics performance will be the focus of these new chips. We’ve also seen a few rounds of benchmark tests that purport to show M2 Max performance:
According to the platform, the M2 Max chip used in the benchmark test has a 12-core CPU with 3.54GHz and 96GB of RAM. It scored 1853 on single core and 13855 on multi-core. For comparison, the M1 Max chip that powers the MacBook Pro and entry-level Mac Studio has 10 cores with 3.2GHz and scores 1746 in single-core and 12154 in multi-core.
Based on these tests, the M2 Max chip is only about 14% faster than the M1 Max chip. Considering that the results are from a real machine, it’s unclear whether Geekbench 5 failed to measure the full performance of the new CPU or whether M2 Max in fact won’t be a huge upgrade compared to M1 Max, which doesn’t sound unlikely.
Read the full report on benchmark leaks from late November here. A second set of benchmarks also claimed to show M2 Max chip performance in early December:
The benchmark test results, also done with Geekbench 5, show a single-core score of 2027 and a multi-core score of 14888. By comparison, the previously leaked M2 Max benchmark test scored 1853 on single core and 13855 on multi-core. The M1 Max chip that powers the entry-level Mac Studio has 10 cores with 3.2GHz and scores 1746 in single-core and 12154 in multi-core.
Comparing the latest benchmark test of the M2 Max chip with the M1 Max, we have up to 22% better performance in multi-core, while the previous results showed that the new chip would be 14% faster. It’s uncertain whether the results are in fact legitimate, and if so, why they differ from each other.
Read the full story on additional M2 Max chip benchmarks here.
Here are some other possibilities we hope to see with the new MacBook Pros:
- 16-inch MacBook Pro fast charging over USB-C; this wasn’t quite possible with the M1 Pro/Max version.
- More RAM? Apple increased the RAM limit for the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with M2.
- Center Stage webcam? Probably not, especially after the Studio Display hoopla.
- M2 Ultra version? Don’t hold your breath. Ultra is essentially two Max chips, and that kind of performance would probably chew through battery life.
- Speaking of battery life and performance, High Power Mode on the M1 Max 16-inch MacBook Pro cranks up graphics-intensive tasks. Maybe we’ll see this feature come to more versions of the new MacBook Pro
TL;DR 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro updates are expected in Q1 2023 at the earliest. Holding off until these new Macs are announced to make a purchase? Let us know in the comments!