Last week saw the release of the M2-powered MacBook Pro. As the cheapest MacBook Pro it can be seen as the entry-level laptop, even though it makes more sense to go for a better all-rounder like the MacBook Air or to invest in the extra power offered by the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro.
This MacBook Pro remains a curate’s egg in the line-up and one that was already hard to recommend. Now there’s another reason to skip over the MacBook Pro, and it’s all down to a key decision by Apple.
Consumers would naturally expect this year’s consumer MacBook Pro, equipped as it is with the new Apple Silicon M2 chipset, to be an improvement on last year’s M1-based model. And in processing power that looks to be the case, with benchmarking in broad agreement around Apple’s quotes 10 per cent increase.
Given the rest of the design remains stuck with the looks of the 2016 MacBook Pro – including a lack of ports and comically huge bezels for a premium laptop – you would hope this is the case. Why would you buy a laptop that is weaker than the previous generation?
This is where things get interesting. Thanks to Apple’s decisions around the configuration of SSD storage in the M2 MacBook Pro, writing to and reading from storage is slower than the M1 MacBook Pro, as laid out by FossBytes:
“Notable tech review channels on YouTube, such as Created Tech and Max Tech, conducted a trial on the 256GB model with the Blackmagic’s Disk Speed Test app and discovered that SSD’s reading and writing speeds are around 1,450 MB/s. It is nearly 30% slower in writing and 50% slower in reading than the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which features the M1 chip with 256GB of storage.”
The speed difference looks to be down to Apple using a single NAND flash storage chip for the 256 GB model in 2022, whereas the 2020 model used two 128 GB NAND chips; the latter is able to run in parallel for better performance.
The practical answer here could be that Apple is reacting to supply chain issues that are restricting some components and putting up the price of others. But the end result is the same. Apple has chosen to degrade the performance of the new MacBook Pro, and it’s not readily apparent to the average consumer.
This MacBook Pro is pitched as the consumer laptop that offers more power and productivity, which makes the choice to go with a slower configuration a courageous one.