By and large, you can’t go wrong with Apple’s current line of desktops and laptops based on Apple Silicon processors. The lineup is stronger than ever, especially with the launch this week of new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with the M2 inside.
But there is one notable exception. There is one MacBook that almost no one should buy, and that is the 13-inch MacBook Pro.
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Current MacBook lineup
When reviews of the MacBook Pro M2 were released last year, it was immediately clear that this is the same MacBook Pro that Apple has been selling for years, only with the M2 chip inside. It has the previous generation design, the same touchpad, the same two USB-C ports, and the same limitations.
For context, here is Apple’s current line of MacBooks:
There is a clear hole in this line: the price difference between the M2 MacBook Pro and the 14-inch MacBook Pro is $700.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro exists to fill that gap, but it’s so inferior to the 14-inch MacBook Pro in both price and features that it doesn’t really fill that gap. It gets even more confusing when you look at how close the M2 MacBook Pro is to the M1 MacBook Air and M2 MacBook Air, again in terms of price and features.
The MacBook Air M2 offers some advantages over the MacBook Pro M2. You get an extra port thanks to the MagSafe charging connector, the webcam is 1080p versus 720p on the MacBook Pro, and the speaker system is more powerful. The display is also slightly larger and Apple calls it “Liquid Retina Display”.
Again, remember that the MacBook Air with M2 is $100 cheaper than the MacBook Pro M2 despite the benefits. And don’t forget the modern MacBook Air design, color options, lighter and thinner form factor. There’s also no touchpad, which is good for a lot of people, although there are touchpad fans out there. Even dozens!
Which MacBook to buy?
I hope I’ve made the argument clear enough that you already know part of the answer to this question. Unless you’re an absolute touchbar fanatic, there’s no reason to buy the M2 MacBook Pro. It is not only more expensive than the two models of MacBook Air, but inferior to it in a number of ways.
I hope Apple closes the gap between the $1299 MacBook Pro and the $1999 MacBook Pro. There are rumors of some sort of new 15-inch MacBook/MacBook Air coming in 2023 or 2024. This machine may even have options for an M2 or M2 Pro chip inside. Ideally, it should be placed between two MacBook Pro models.
If you’re buying a MacBook and need it immediately, the M1 MacBook Air is the best option without shelling out $2,000 for a 14-inch MacBook Pro. The MacBook Air M2 is even more compelling with a modern design, improved screen, and faster processor.
So why does the M2 MacBook Pro exist? Well, it exists to fill the gap between the MacBook Air and the 14-inch MacBook Pro. It doesn’t work out well. Other than that, it seems like it all comes down solely to marketing. There are people (and especially corporate buyers) who are determined to buy a “Pro” machine from Apple.
Actually, it’s a bit misleading. The 13-inch MacBook Pro with the M2 chip is labeled “Pro”, not “Pro”. The only things that can justify the adjective “Pro” are its fans and longer battery life. Fans can allow the MacBook Pro M2 to maintain peak performance longer than a fanless MacBook Air. However, for most people this means nothing.
Other than that, it’s not a “Pro” machine. In fact, you could even argue that the MacBook Air fits the “Pro” branding better.
What do you think of the current MacBook lineup? Are you planning to buy a new MacBook soon? Let us know in the comments.