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Apple announces MacBook Pros with M2 Pro and M2 Max chips

Apple announces MacBook Pros with M2 Pro and M2 Max chips

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Higher-end M2 chips are here, headed first for the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro.

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Apple MacBook Pro with M2 lifestyle photo
Image: Apple

Apple has announced new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros, featuring its latest M2 Pro and Max chips. The M2 Pro model will launch with a 12-core CPU, up to 19-core GPU, and up to 32GB of unified memory, while the M2 Max includes up to 38 cores of GPU power and support for up to 96GB of unified memory.

The new 14-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Pro starts at $1,999, with the 16-inch model starting at $2,499. Both are available to order online today and will start shipping and appearing in Apple stores on January 24th.

Apple says the M2 Pro has double the amount of transistors the M2 shipped with and nearly 20 percent more than the M1 Pro. It also features 200GB/s of unified memory bandwidth, twice what’s available on the regular M2. All of this power should result in better performance in apps like Adobe Photoshop and Xcode. Apple claims the MacBook Pro with M2 Pro “is able to process images in Adobe Photoshop up to 40 percent faster than with M1 Pro, and as much as 80 percent faster than MacBook Pro with an Intel Core i9 processor.”

The latest M2 Pro and M2 Max chips are inside the new MacBook Pros.
The latest M2 Pro and M2 Max chips are inside the new MacBook Pros.
Image: Apple

The M2 Max chip has the same 12-core CPU as the M2 Pro, but much like the M1 Max, it really pushes the GPU power more. Apple claims the M2 Max is up to 30 percent faster than the M1 Max in graphics and can apparently “tackle graphics-intensive projects that competing systems can’t even run.”

Apple’s also once again claiming that the 16-inch model offers the “longest battery life ever in a Mac,” getting up to 22 hours of video playback or 15 hours of wireless web browsing when equipped with an M2 Pro. Both estimates are an hour longer than the previous M1 Pro model, which Apple also said had the best battery life ever. We were skeptical of that claim at the time because of the company’s very particular battery life tests... and then we actually used it, and got 16 hours out of it, our best score ever at that point.

Apple’s promising that the 14-inch model will also get an extra hour of battery life compared to the previous version; up to 18 hours of video, and 12 hours of browsing. That’s not as long as its estimates for the 13-inch Pro with its regular M2 chip (which lasted so long that it legitimately stressed my laptop-reviewing colleague Monica Chin out), but the 14-inch has a much better screen, and will likely be significantly more powerful.

The latest MacBook Pro models also now include Wi-Fi 6E and a “more advanced HDMI” (probably HDMI 2.1) that supports 8K displays up to 60Hz and 4K displays up to 240Hz.

Apple didn’t hold a press event for these new MacBook M2 Pro and Max models, but the company did publish a 19-minute YouTube video that’s practically the same thing. While the video doesn’t feature Apple CEO Tim Cook, it’s filmed at the Apple Park headquarters and features several Apple engineers. You can see the entire announcement — which includes the new M2 Mac Mini, in the video below.

The new MacBook M2 Pro and M2 Max are both replacing models that have been around since late 2021. While they’re still considered excellent buys (worth keeping in mind as retailers start to try and dump older models for the new ones), it’s nice to see Apple’s updating its Apple silicon chips on a regular cadence.

Apple’s last generation of MacBook Pros was offered with the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, which topped out at a 10-core CPU, 32-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine, with support for 64GB of memory and an 8TB SSD.

Apple’s M2 Max chip.
Apple’s M2 Max chip.
Image: Apple

When Apple initially introduced the next-generation M2 chip, it did so without updating the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros, instead putting it in the lower-end MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro. The chips in those laptops contained updated performance and efficiency cores, more cache, increased memory bandwidth, and used 25 percent more transistors than the M1.

Despite having older silicon, the M1 Pro- and Max-equipped models still largely outperformed the updated lower-end models in benchmarks. Of course, this hasn’t stopped people from being curious about what high-end chips with Apple’s latest architecture will be like — when it introduced the M2, Apple said the chips would bring an 18 percent faster CPU and 35 percent faster GPU compared to the original M1.

Update January 17th, 3:50PM ET: Added information about the MacBook Pros’ battery life.