Yes, some people should actually buy the M2 MacBook Pro
It might look old, but it's the ideal MacBook... for now
Everyone, including me, was scratching their heads when Apple introduced the new MacBook Pro at WWDC. Why? Because it’s not really new. It’s a notebook design from 2016 with a next generation chip inside of it. It didn’t help matters that it was unveiled alongside a completely redesigned MacBook Air either. In many ways, they are the same computer just in different shells. It’s hard not to look at the new MacBook Air and want it. It’s gorgeous in its new starlight and midnight finishes. The Liquid Retina display and more boxy design helps it feel even fresher. But that machine isn’t coming until July and even when it arrives it's rumored to be extraordinarily constrained from a supply standpoint.
So what do you do if you need a new Mac notebook right now? Well you have four options: the 2020 M1 MacBook Air, the 2022 M2 MacBook Pro, and last year’s redesigned 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros. These four machines are very different, but the good thing is that they are all great. It’s hard to make a bad decision when buying a MacBook right now.
In my opinion though, the M2 MacBook Pro is the obvious go-to choice for someone who is looking for the right combination of power and portability. It doesn’t break the bank like the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros which start at $1999 and go up from there. And unlike the $999 M1 MacBook Air, it features the latest chip with better single-core and multi-core performance as well as a handful of extras that make the $300 premium absolutely worth it. So what are those extras?
M2 Chip with 3 additional GPU cores and higher memory bandwidth
Configurable with up to 24GB of RAM
2 additional hours of battery life
100 additional nits of brightness
High dynamic range stereo speakers
High signal-to-noise ratio microphones
Support for high-impedance headphones
Support for spatial audio
Stronger power adapter included
Touch Bar (if you see that as a positive)
At the end of the day, if you just want to spend the least amount of money as possible on a Mac notebook you should still buy the M1 MacBook Air. It’s still a great machine but keep in mind that it’s almost two years old. In other words, the M2 MacBook Pro will likely get much more support for updates in the future.
When Apple drops the new MacBook Air next month and slots it between the $999 MacBook Air and the $1299 MacBook Pro, this decision will become much harder. At that point, the M2 MacBook Air is a no-brainer. It’s only $200 more than the M1 Air and is $100 less than the MacBook Pro with an old design.
My belief is that the M2 MacBook Pro exists primarily for two reasons. The first is that this is Tim Cook’s Apple and they probably have lots of parts still lying around that can be used cheaply. After nearly 6 years of manufacturing that design, it’s surely become more affordable for the company to make. The second is that the MacBook Air with M2 and an all-new design is going to be difficult to get going into the back-to-school season. They need a computer to sell to people who walk in looking for the latest Mac notebook. Those people aren’t buying the $1999+ MacBook Pro and they won’t necessarily want a two year old machine. So that’s more than likely why this thing exists.