There are plenty of rumours about an M2 MacBook Air with a new design that Apple is said to be working on, but what about the 13in MacBook Pro?
Following the introduction of the 14in MacBook Pro in 2021 there will be those who are wondering if Apple will eventually discontinue the 13in model. Others will have noticed that there isn’t a huge difference between the MacBook Air and 13in MacBook Pro. The position of the 13in MacBook Pro is confusing, and perhaps precarious.
In this article we examine whether there will be a new model in 2022, and what new features and specs a 2022 13in MacBook Pro might offer.
Perhaps our biggest question is now that the 14in MacBook Pro is here, does the 13in MacBook Pro really deserve to be called Pro? But you may also be wondering whether if Apple updates the 13in MacBook Pro it will get the same redesign as the 14in MacBook Pro? Will the M2 MacBook Pro be a 14in MacBook Pro?
If it’s the replacement for the M1 Pro and M1 Mac MacBook Pro in 14in and 16in you are interested in, the wait could be a little longer – according to a March 2022 newsletter from Bloomberg’s Apple expert Mark Gurman, we may have to wait until 2023 before we see new models of the 14in and 16in MacBook Pro with M2 Pro and M2 Max chips. Gurman, on the other hand, maintains that the 13in MacBook Pro model will be upgraded this year alongside the 2022 M2 MacBook Air.
Gurman isn’t the only pundit who thinks there will be a M2 MacBook Pro. Twitter leaker DylanDKT (retired, as of January 2022) has claimed that the M1 13in MacBook Pro is to be replaced with a 14in MacBook Pro with an M2 chip in the second half of 2022. Here’s what he said in January 2022:
The currently available M1 MacBook Pro 13 will be replaced with a MacBook Pro 14 with an M2 chip in the 2H of 2022. It will receive a slight price increase over the previous generation. Alongside this release time frame, we will receive the redesigned M2 MacBook (Air).— Dylan (@dylandkt) January 17, 2022
However, there is some disagreement as to whether Apple will actually update the 13in MacBook Pro. Some predictions suggest that there is only one M2 Mac laptop on the horizon: an updated MacBook Air. This new M2 Mac laptop might be renamed the MacBook and replace (or join) the existing M1 MacBook Air and 13in MacBook Pro in the line up. On 11 March 2022: 9to5Mac suggested that Apple has considered dropping the “Pro” name and calling it the MacBook.
When will the new MacBook Pro M2 launch?
A MacRumors source (who that site claims revealed details of the MacBook Pro notch prior to the October 2021 event) predicted that Apple would launch a new MacBook Pro with M2 chip at Apple’s spring event in March. DigiTimes made a similar claim. The spring event passed with no such launch.
We expect the new MacBook Pro to come out in fall 2022, although a launch at WWDC in June remains a possibility.
We are cautious because the launch of the new MacBook Pro will depend on when Apple finishes development of the M2 SoC – the M2 chip being the one most likely to reside within this new model.
When Apple introduced the M1 13-inch MacBook Pro, the company merely took the Intel-based design and replaced the processor with its own silicon. When Apple updates it with the follow-up to the M1, it will likely get some major changes. We’re expecting the new model to get a similar design to the higher-end models, with thinner, uniform bezels and an all-black black keyboard well that eliminates the Touch Bar.
However, there are various rumors about the replacement for the 13in MacBook Pro with M1. It could be an updated 13in MacBook Pro with the same design as before. It could be a new M2 version of the 14in MacBook Pro. Or the 13in MacBook Pro could be replaced with a MacBook that adopts the brand new design that’s been rumoured for the MacBook Air. But
In his January tweet Dylan referred to a new 14in MacBook Pro with M2. It seems most likely that if Apple was to take this route that it would maintain the same design as the other 14in MacBook Pro models, with the notch, full set of ports, and no Touch Bar. Indeed, in a February 2022 PowerOn newsletter Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman suggested that there will be no Touch Bar on the new model. More here: Gurman reveals more details of new MacBook Pro M2.
However, other rumours, including a MacRumors source, indicate that the new MacBook Pro will retain its current design – including the Touch Bar.
On the other hand, if this new MacBook represents a merger of the Air and the 13in MacBook Pro then it could come in a range of colours, as leaker Jon Prosser claimed in May 2021. Prosser’s sources indicate there will be blue and green options that will be “very close, if not identical” to the 24in iMac. The 24in iMac comes in seven different colours: blue, green, pink, silver, yellow, orange and purple.
The rumours also suggest that the redesigned MacBook will be thinner and lighter, with the same size screen but with slightly slimmer bezels. If this is the case then it is likely Apple will use a notch to accommodate the webcam as it did with the 14in and 16in MacBook Pro.
One problem with this slim and small design is that the resulting Mac will be limited by the fact that it lacks space for cooling and heat dissipation. The M1 MacBook Air doesn’t have a fan while the 13in MacBook Pro does. The presence of the fan in the M1 MacBook Pro does allow that model to achieve more before it becomes too hot.
However, the new design for this new MacBook is rumoured to abandon the classic tapered ‘wedge’ shape in favour of a new uniform shape – so the new Mac laptop could have more room for cooling as well as room for more ports. More ports is certainly something it needs – currently limited to two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports. We’d love to see an HDMI port, as found on the 14in and 16in models, but we don’t expect to see an SD card slot.
M2 MacBook Pro: Display
The current 13-inch MacBook Pro has a standard LED Retina display, but the higher-end Pros have Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED displays with high-refresh rates. Mark Gurman reported in February that the new model will have a “lesser” display with “no ProMotion nor mini-LED.”
This laptop almost certainly won’t have the GPU power of the 14-inch MacBook Pro, which would be another reason why Apple uses a standard LED Retina display. Also, such an upgrade would affect the price of the laptop, adding quite a few dollars to the current $1,299/£1,299 entry-level price point.
M2 MacBook Pro: Specs
Commercial Times (translation) in China reports that Apple is on an 18-month cycle with its Mac chips. Since the M1 was released in November of 2020, that means we could see its follow-up this year, maybe around WWDC 2022. The name of the new processor has not been revealed, but if the naming method of Apple’s A processors for the iPhone is used, then the new processor will likely be called the M2. The M2 will likely be based on TSMC N4P enhanced 5nm process similar to the A15 processor, according to a report by The Information.
The M1 currently has four efficiency cores and four high performance cores, while the M1 Pro and Max have eight high performance cores and two efficiency cores.
One reason not to expect to see the M2 before the autumn is the fact that Apple’s thought to be beefing up the manufacturing process. Apple is said to be using TSMC’s next generation N4P process, which is an enhanced version of the 5 nanometer process already used in the A15, M1, M1 Pro and Max. This new process is supposed to deliver 11 percentage points better performance and almost 22 percentage points more efficiency compared to the conventional 5 nanometer process .
TSMC indicates that production of N4P processes won’t start until the second half of 2022. So the M2 Macs may not be released before autumn 2022.
The real difference will be in terms of the number of graphics cores. It’s thought that Apple will add more GPU cores to the M2 – there could be options for 9 and 10-core GPU in the new machines, up from the 7 and 8-core GPU offered currently.
If the new MacBook Pro ship with an M2 chip we could see up to 10 GPU-cores, according to reports.
As for RAM, Apple may decide to continue equipping this laptop with 8GB standard, with support for a maximum of 16GB.
While 16GB of Apple’s Unified Memory isn’t exactly the same as the RAM we are used to in Intel Macs, it is still a limitation of the M1 models, at least for those who require more RAM. There is hope is that the M2 will be able to support 32GB RAM, however, it’s not likely because it serves as a big differentiator with the truely pro MacBook models.
Another factor holding Apple back from supporting 32GB RAM could be excessive power consumption – which won’t be particularly compatible with a fan-less design, which the new Mac laptop might have.
According to Mark Gurman in February 2022, the maximum SSD configurations of the new Mac will remain at 2TB.
M2 MacBook Pro: MagSafe and ports
The current 13-inch MacBook Pro only has two Thunderbolt ports, but that could change in 2022. Last year, Apple updated the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros with MagSafe, so it seems logical to conclude that Apple will outfit the 13-inch MacBook Pro with it as well.
As for connectivity ports, leaker DylanDKT tweeted (since removed) that the 13-inch MacBook Pro’s replacement will have the same ports as the 14-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 Pro: Three Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports, an HDMI port, an SDXC card slot, and a headphone jack. Similarly, Gurman said the difference between the models will be focused on the display, processor, and storage.
M2 MacBook Pro: Features
Right now the 13in MacBook Pro is the only Mac with a Touch Bar. Apple removed the Touch Bar – which was originally designed with professional users in mind – from the MacBook Pro because it was generally unpopular with pro users. Read Will anyone miss the Touch Bar?
This suggests that Apple will be removing the Touch Bar from the 13in MacBook Pro, but will it? Perhaps the Touch Bar is better suited to consumers who can use the swipe-able strip to control music and movie playback, adjust colours, and edit their photographs. Regardless, it looks like the Touch Bar is not long for this world.
MagSafe made a come back with the 14in and 16in MacBook Pro in 2021 and it looks likely that it will be the means of powering the new laptop. Will this mean that there are more USB ports though? The M1 MacBook Pro (and M1 MacBook Air) has two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports, which isn’t much when one of those it given to charging. Replacing one of those USB ports with MagSafe – it’s still a Thunderbolt / USB 4 port, it just means that the port is magnetic, so it snaps into place and will be pulled out if you trip over the cable.
As we discussed above, the new M2 MacBook Pro may get a notch like the 14in and 16in models did, but only if it’s granted a redesign by Apple. It’s also possible that Apple will merely put a M2 processor inside the existing M1 MacBook Pro and not change anything. Notch or not, we are hopeful that the webcam is improved: the current 720p FaceTime camera is terrible. Hopefully the new Mac will get an HD (1080p) webcam as seen in the 24in iMac and the 2021 MacBook Pro models.
M2 MacBook Pro: Price
As we discussed above, the price depends on where in the line up this new Mac is to feature.
Apple could keep the existing M1 MacBook Air and 13in MacBook Pro models on at a reduced price while introducing a new Mac laptop that costs a little more and fits in the gap between the $1,499/£1,499 13in MacBook Pro and the $1,999/£1,899 14in MacBook Pro. This new M2 Mac laptop could therefore cost $1,699/£1,699.
In his tweet where he predicts that the M2 MacBook Pro will come in a 14in case, Dylan suggests that the new model will receive “a slight price increase over the previous generation.” Even with a slight increase in price, the new new model could still cost $500/£400 less than the current entry-level 14in MacBook Pro.
Should this be what happens it is feasible that Apple will keep the 13in M1 MacBook Pro in the line up at a lower price, but it is also possible that the current model could be discontinued. Read: Should you buy the 13in MacBook Pro.