This month’s WWDC saw Apple announce the next major iteration of its Apple Silicon chipset in the M2. Just as with the launch of the M1, a new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro were launched. While the MacBook Air looks impressive, once more the consumer MacBook Pro sits in an awkward place in the portfolio… and Apple has better options than this entry-level macOS laptop.
Let’s start with one of the more seductive arguments for this MacBook Pro. With the M2 chip and the extra cooling it offers more power than the new MacBook Air, and the older M1 MacBook Pro it replaces. If you need the power, then this is the laptop? No. Apple’s 14-inch MacBook Pro, running the M1 Pro looks to be more powerful on paper (although we are still waiting on full benchmarks). The M1 Max is even faster.
If you are looking for an excess of power, then there are better MacBook Pro laptops. If you need enough for day-to-day running, then the extra potential of the M2 in the MacBook Air is more than sufficient, at a lower price.
Perhaps the option to set up to 24 GB of RAM has caught your eye, but again if you are looking to push the envelope on specifications, the 14-inch and 16-inch models will better serve you with more RAM on offer… and you can expect to see these larger models move up to the presumptively named M2 Pro and M2 Max next year.
Then there’s the design or at least the lack of it. Apple advanced the visual look and styling of the MacBook Pro last year at the launch of the 14-inch and 16-inch models. That design has been brought to the MacBook Air, lending it the prestige of looking and feeling new. The MagSafe connector has returned for a safer way to physically charge the laptop; a brighter display with a wider range of colors, a stronger webcam to help multiple modes of working in 2022, and of course the reworked internals to help support the new chipset with improved cooling for lower running temperatures.
The new MacBook Pro is still stuck with the Touch Bar and the same tired design that debuted in 2016 on the Intel-powered Macs.
Maybe the value for money is appealing, this is after all the cheapest MacBook Pro. But that feels like a false economy. The new MacBook Air – even with its subtle price rise – to my mind offers a better balance of performance, price, design, and desirability.
Not enough power for those who want to go out to the edge, overpowered for day-to-day use; and a tired design that misses out on the latest technology; Apple has many options better than the new MacBook Pro.