Apple announces M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro and new Mac mini
posted Wednesday, January 18, 2023 at 12:00 PM EST
MacBook Pro notebooks are among the most popular computers for photographers and videographers alike for many reasons. While there are many fantastic Windows computers, macOS has long been the preferred choice for many creative professionals. When Apple launched its silicon chipsets, starting with the M1 chipset, Mac's popularity only improved thanks to the M-series chips delivering fantastic performance with high efficiency.
In late 2021, Apple launched all-new M1-powered 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models alongside improved M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. These machines brought Apple's larger MacBook Pro models back to basics, with MagSafe, an SD card slot and the death of the Touch Bar. Last summer, Apple unveiled its next chipset family, the M2, alongside a redesigned MacBook Air. The M2 is built using second-generation 5nm technology, and the base chip features 20 billion transistors and 20% improved performance over the M1. In October, the M2 chip then found its way into Apple's iPad Pro tablets.
Meanwhile, as the 13-inch MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and iPad Pro models received M2 upgrades, the venerable 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models were left by the wayside. Well, no longer! Apple has announced upgraded professional laptops featuring new versions of the M2 chip, the M2 Pro and M2 Max.
M2 Pro and M2 Max chips announced
The M2 Pro and Max chips further improve the performance gains realized by the base M2 chip by adding more CPU and GPU cores and expanding the memory bandwidth. The M2 Max now supports up to 96GB of RAM, the most RAM we've seen on an Apple Silicon Mac laptop, eclipsing the 64GB cap of the M1 Max featured in the last-generation MacBook Pro. The M2 Pro supports up to 32GB of memory.
When it comes to cores, the M2 Pro features up to 12 CPU cores and 19 GPU cores, three more GPU cores than the M1 Pro. The M2 Pro features up to 20% faster CPU performance than the M1 Pro. Apple states that apps like Adobe Photoshop will run about 40% faster than the M1 Pro, thanks to overall performance gains.
The M2 Max is the world's most powerful notebook chip, per Apple. It includes 67 billion transistors, 10 billion more than the M1 Max. The M2 Max features the same 12-core CPU as the top-end M2 Pro chip but significantly expands the GPU performance thanks to a 38-core GPU with a larger L2 cache. The M2 Max's graphics performance is about 30% faster than the M1 Max's, allowing improved photo and video editing capabilities.
The M2 Pro and Max both include Apple's latest 16-core Neural Engine and hardware-accelerated video encoding. The M2 Max features two video encode engines and a pair of ProRes engines, promising even better video encoding performance than the M2 Pro, including with 4K and 8K ProRes video.
New 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are faster, more efficient and include HDMI 2.1
The new M2 Pro and Max chips are featured in new versions of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops. These notebooks look identical to the prior version, featuring the same case, keyboard, speakers, display, webcam and ports. However, there's a significant change to the built-in HDMI. The last-gen MacBook Pro has an HDMI 2.0 port, whereas the new models have an HDMI 2.1 port. That may sound like a small upgrade, but it's huge for users who work with external displays. The last-gen MacBook Pro could output a 4K image at only 60Hz. With HDMI 2.1, the notebooks can output to an 8K display at up to 60Hz or 4K displays at up to 240Hz. Wireless connectivity is better, too, thanks to Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 support.
The 14-inch MacBook Pro with the 10-core CPU and 19-core GPU M2 Pro chip, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage starts at $1,999. The upgraded M2 Pro chip along with 1TB of storage, is $2,499. The 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M2 Max (12-core CPU and 30-core GPU), 32GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage starts at $3,099.
The larger 16-inch MacBook Pro, which offers the longest battery life of any Mac notebook ever at 22 hours, starts at $2,499 with a 12-core CPU and 19-core GPU M2 Pro chip. The base model has 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. The mid-tier trim is $200 more and ups the storage to 1TB. The top-end trim has an M2 Max chip (12-core CPU and 38-core GPU), 32GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD for $3,499. You can upgrade to 96GB of RAM for an additional $800 or fully kit out the M2 Max-powered 16-inch MacBook Pro for $6,499.
New Mac mini sports M2 and M2 Pro chips, starting at $599
Apple also updated its affordable Mac mini desktop with the M2 and M2 Pro, although the M2 Max isn't an option. The base model has the regular M2 chip and starts at $599 with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
The M2 Pro version starts at $1,299 and includes 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. The M2 Pro version also differs from the M2 version by way of its ports. Each Mac mini model has an HDMI port, although the M2 Pro version has an HDMI 2.1 port rather than the HDMI 2.0 port on the base version. The M2 Pro Mac mini adds two more Thunderbolt 4 ports, bringing the total to 4. Each model includes a pair of USB-A ports, Gigabit ethernet and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
New Macs are available to order now, with shipping starting next week
All new Mac models are available to order now, with deliveries starting on January 24. For more information, visit Apple.