13-inch MacBook Pro with M2 review: Incremental upgrade and unexciting

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in Current Mac Hardware edited June 28
Apple's new 13-inch MacBook Pro is the first to arrive with the Apple Silicon M2 processor, but in every other aspect, it clings to an old design ethos in every regard.

The M2 13-inch MacBook Pro
The M2 13-inch MacBook Pro


When Apple first introduced the M1, the 13-inch MacBook Pro was part of a trio of devices that would use the chip. As the only MacBook Pro on the list, it demonstrated where Apple Silicon could progress and hinted at what larger MacBook Pro models could offer.

After Apple introduced the M1 Pro and M1 Max-containing 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro, the 13-inch suddenly became out of place in the roster.

With little difference between the M2 MacBook Air and the 13-inch MacBook Pro, there wasn't that much of a reason to switch from the cheapest model to the second cheapest unless you wanted a hair more performance over lengthy processing runs with active cooling.



The second-generation Apple Silicon launch has brought a new M2 chip, and once again, Apple has put it into the value end of the MacBook range, upgrading both the MacBook Air and the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Although, as we write this, only one is available today.




2022 13-inch MacBook Pro specifications

Specifications13-inch MacBook Pro, M2
Display Size (inches)13.3
Max Resolution2560 x 1600
Pixel Density227
Brightness500 nits
Display BacklightingLED
Display TechnologyWide Color (P3),
True Tone
ProcessorsEight-core Apple M2
Unified Memory8GB,
16GB,
24GB
Graphics (integrated)10-core Apple Silicon M2
External Video1 6K display at 60Hz
Storage512GB, 1TB, 2TB
Touch BarYes
BiometricsTouch ID
TrackpadForce Touch
KeyboardBacklit with ambient light sensor
Dimensions (inches)0.61 x 11.97 x 8.36
Weight (pounds)3.0
Battery Life20 Hours
Ports2 USB 4 / Thunderbolt 3 ports
Headphone jack
Webcam720p FaceTime HD
Advanced image signal processor
SpeakersStereo speakers with high dynamic range
Microphones3 with directional beamforming
Wi-FiWi-Fi 6
Bluetooth5.0
Charger67W USB-C
Color OptionsSilver, Space Gray
PriceFrom $1,299

A familiar face

However, while the MacBook Air gained many changes that bring it closer to the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro, the same can't be said about the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

The MacBook Air enjoyed a new display, a design refresh, a new webcam, and many more welcome changes. Externally, the 13-inch MacBook Pro gets practically nothing new.



If you were to compare the specification sheet of the M2 13-inch MacBook Pro against the M1 model, you'd find many of the same details. You still have an 11.97-inch by 8.36-inch footprint and a thickness of 0.61 inches. The pair also weigh the same at 3 pounds exactly.

Can you spot the last-gen 13-inch versus the new model?
Can you spot the last-gen 13-inch versus the new model?


You'll also look at the same 13.3-inch LED-backlit IPS Retina display, which has thick bezels but no camera notch, unlike its stablemates. The lack of mini LED backlighting from its larger counterparts means its 2,560 by 1,600-pixel display kicks out a familiar 500 nits of brightness and retains the same True Tone and Wide Color (P3) support as usual.

The webcam without a notch is a 720p FaceTime HD camera, continuing to use the same specification as the previous iteration. Sure, it benefits from the advanced image signal processor with computational video that is included as part of Apple Silicon, but disappointingly not an updated 1080p version as seen elsewhere.

The MacBook Pro's webcam is unchanged
The MacBook Pro's webcam is unchanged


Looking on the sides, there's not even a change to the number of ports, as you still have to contend with two Thunderbolt/USB 4 connections and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The latter has at least received an update, with it now including "advanced support for high-impedance headphones."

That low port count isn't helped by the 13-inch MacBook Pro now being the last MacBook device not to have a MagSafe connection. If you want to recharge it, you'll still have to either sacrifice one of the two ports to a charger or rely on a dock or other connecting device with sufficient power delivery over USB-C while also handling data.

The dual Type-C ports
The dual Type-C ports


Turning to the keyboard, there's no change here either. It's a backlit Magic Keyboard with 65 (US) or 66 (ISO) keys, complete with four arrow keys in an inverted-T formation.

At the top is the Touch Bar, which frustratingly still exists. On other MacBook Pro models, it has been switched out for a row of 12 full-height function keys, leaving the 13-inch the last bastion for those who find the Touch Bar actually useful.

Touch Bar with Touch ID
Touch Bar with Touch ID


Again, the Touch Bar handles Touch ID duties, which is unsurprising. Down below the keyboard is the usual Force Touch trackpad, complete with pressure-sensitive features enabling Force clicks and multi-touch gestures.

Adding M2 to the mix

The fundamental change for this release is the removal of the M1 SoC in favor of the M2.

The new Apple Silicon M2 processor uses an eight-core CPU with four high-performance chips accompanied by four high-efficiency chips, similar to the M1, except it is 18 percent faster than its predecessor. The GPU has also been updated from an eight-core GPU to a ten-core version, which Apple says represents a 35 percent performance improvement.

There's also the 16-core Neural Engine, which has the same core count as the M1 but runs 40% faster again. Unified Memory is given a boost to bandwidth, from 68.25GB/s in the M1 to 100GB/s in the M2. This is an improvement, but not quite the 200GB/s of the M1 Pro.

There is a boost to memory capacity, with the 8GB and 16GB options joined by a 24GB option. This is a welcome addition, but it's not quite at the 32GB you would typically expect as the next memory level.

While it wasn't included in the M1, Media Engines arrive in the bottom tier of the M2. The hardware video encoder and decoder can handle 8K H.264 and HEVC video, speeding up video processing.

The M2 has better graphics for creatives, but not as much as the M1 Pro or M1 Max
The M2 has better graphics for creatives, but not as much as the M1 Pro or M1 Max


The Media Engine also includes encode and decode engines for ProRes 4K and 8K video, making it more useful for professional productions. This is the same setup as you would expect in the M1 Pro.

Bringing the Media Engine to the M2 certainly opens up the 13-inch MacBook Pro to video editors. But, since almost every model in the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro range has some form of Media Engine, with the exception of the M1 MacBook Air, it's not a standout addition.

Apple also updated the image signal processor in the M2 with better image noise reduction. This would be better felt by pairing it with a 1080p FaceTime HD camera.

Though this is the same as you'd get for the MacBook Air, the 13-inch MacBook Pro benefits from including active cooling rather than passive. You'll enjoy slightly better performance for longer over the MacBook Air with less throttling, simply because the MacBook Pro is shifting air to cool itself down -- but more on this in a little while.

When the 2020 editions of the 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air with the Apple Silicon M1 processor debuted, there was a lot of testing. Speeds were measured six ways from Sunday, and every possible angle was taken on the machines, as there always is.

There was also a lot of Internet drama about the thermals in the two machines. So much content was spun up about how with long loads, the 13-inch MacBook Pro was vastly superior because of the active cooling in the computer.

And again, the "thermal throttling" conversation has fired up. Folks are again talking as if it is somehow new and a scourge on mankind -- and not how computing has been for about two decades.

Chips get hot over time. When they get too hot, they slow down a little. Cooling of some sort cools them down. Repeat as necessary.

There is an active cooling system in that 2020 and this 2022 13-inch MacBook Pro, and there isn't one in the M1 or M2 MacBook Air -- this is all true. What isn't true is the borderline insane hyperbole about how much it universally matters.

Nearly every workload applied by nearly every user is single-core and a burst process. The processor isn't running long enough, hot enough, for any of this to make a real difference to the overwhelming majority of Mac users looking at this price point.

Of course Apple Silicon thermally throttles. All computers do.

If you render videos or compile code, it will make a very small difference in how long the job takes to complete, and you'll perhaps be hit for a single-digit percentage of time lost versus the total for a render for anything longer than a few minutes. If you're word processing, getting your email, doing most gaming, or just about anything else, it will not be noticeable or matter much, even if you can perceive it.



If max performance, heat be damned, over a long processor-hammering run matters to you, you should be looking at the larger MacBook Pro models or the Mac Studio. Both are within striking distance price-wise of an upgraded 13-inch MacBook Pro.

geekbench 5 results
Geekbench 5 results


We started our benchmarks with the all-too-common Geekbench 5. In the single-core test, we scored a 1,928 and a 8,990 in our multi-core test. Cinebench R23 showed similar gains over the M1 model, with a 1,576 for the single-core and a 8,694 for the multi-core.

Speedometer browser benchmark


In our browser benchmark, we saw Speedometer get an impressive 395 runs per minute, which was even above the 293 runs per minute we got on the M1 Max MacBook Pro.

We then turned to some graphics-featured benchmarks. Affinity Photo's test yielded 12,206 for the combined GPU. It scored a 745 in the combined CPU test too. For comparison, the M1 Max scored a 947 on the combined CPU test.

Geekbench 5's Metal Compute test rated the graphics with a score of 30,931. The M1 Pro 14-inch MacBook Pro with the 16-core GPU comparably scored 41,328.

In the aging Unigine Heaven benchmark, running under Rosetta 2, the new M2 MacBook Pro averaged 117.8 frames per second with a score of 2,968. Its maximum framerate was 199.6 frames per second.

When exporting a 20-minute 4K video from Final Cut Pro for Apple devices, it took 10 minutes and 20 seconds. That same video took roughly nine and a half minutes on the 16-core M1 Pro.




During our benchmarking runs, we had a baseline of 38 dBa of ambient noise measured with a Kanomax model 4431 audiometer, with the test gear at head height and distance. When under load and typing on the M2 13-inch MacBook Pro, the highest we could manage when we'd been slamming the machine with workload for an hour was 42 dBa.

And even then, that didn't start to pick up beyond background noise until the CPU temperature hit about 80C in a 21C room, about two minutes into an Xcode compile. After that hour, the fans were at a peak speed of just over 3,300 RPM, well below the theoretical maximum speed of what we think is around 4000 RPM. Time and perhaps a few firmware updates will ultimately tell the tale here.

Blackmagic's Disk Speed Test app on the 256GB model yielded a 1,636 MB/s sustained write speed and a 1,464 MB/s average read speed. The 1TB model was faster with about 2,400 megabytes per second write and 2,800 megabytes per second read speeds wholly gained through increased parallelization and the use of multiple Flash media chips in capacities larger than the 256GB model.

Given what we know about the evolution of this particular MacBook Pro and the reality of the M2 processor as it stands today, these drive speeds are about what we expected and notably slower than the 14-inch MacBook Pro and Mac Studio.

But, from that perspective, the new MacBook Pro was never intended to compete with either of those machines on any level. If you need blistering drive speed, get the higher-tier Pro-level machines.

Largely unchanged internals

The rest of the specifications list for the M2 13-inch MacBook Pro continues the trend of not being massively different from the M1 version.

On power, it has the usual 58.2-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery, which again provides up to 17 hours of wireless web usage and up to 20 hours of Apple TV app movie playback. Our battery tests, while we've been using it for about the last week courtesy of some members of the US Department of Defense, about bear out Apple's estimates.

It looks the same as before
It looks the same as before"


What is different is the inclusion of a 67W USB-C Power Adapter rather than a 61W version. This helps with charging, but not by a massive amount, and you're still occupying one of the two available Thunderbolt ports to do so.

For listening to audio, the 13-inch lacks the higher speaker counts of the other models, so it's stuck with two speakers working in stereo. They still offer wide stereo sound and a high dynamic range, along with Spatial Audio support for Dolby Atmos and AirPods dynamic head tracking.

The built-in microphones are, as you can guess, the same "studio-quality" three-mic array with a high signal-to-noise ratio and directional beamforming, which can help for the built-in "Hey, Siri" support.

There's not even a change to wireless connectivity, with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 still Apple's preferred networking standards. Nothing else on the MacBook Pro side has gone any further with wireless networking, but it's probably time Apple considers updating this area too.

Pro as marketing

AppleInsider has a lot of self-described "Pro" users, and we aren't going to contest that because we have a pretty good handle on what most of you do, based on what you've explicitly told us. But, we are going to contest that there is one true definition of a "Pro" user beyond "makes money with Apple hardware."

What Apple means remains totally different. All Apple has ever meant with the "Pro" name is that whatever gets the label isn't on the lower end of the product line.

Technically, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro may be "Pro," but now all it apparently means for this particular product is that it costs a little more and "has a fan" versus not having one.

GoPro gear with the new MacBook Pro
GoPro gear with the new MacBook Pro


The new 13-inch MacBook pro sits in a strange place. Sure, it's got that active cooling to set it apart from the newly redesigned MacBook Air, but for nearly every buyer, it won't matter one bit.

We'll test this more later, of course, when the new Air ships in what we expect will be late July. But, regardless of some over-blown YouTube shocked faces declaring otherwise, the actual difference between the M1 MacBook Air with no fan and the 13-inch MacBook Pro was very, very small and not worth the $200.

You have options if you're one of the few that needs to run long calculations. By the time you add RAM and more storage to the 13-inch MacBook Pro today at Apple's undiscounted prices, you're within striking distance of sale price territory for a 14-inch MacBook Pro or Mac Studio, both with a better cooling system and better processors.

We've heard, but can't absolutely confirm, that this form-factor still exists because Apple has an enormous quantity of the 13-inch MacBook Pro metal sticking around. There's not a lot of evidence to fully support that, but it makes sense, given the lower-quality FaceTime camera and the sole surviving Touch Bar remaining on the model.

At what price, that Pro, though?

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro has a relatively small "Pro" premium on top of the new MacBook Air. And, for that premium for the first-shipping M2 computer, you get a slightly smaller screen, don't get MagSafe, have a two-speaker system versus a four-speaker one, and stick with poorer FaceTime camera.

MacBook Pro
The new M2 13-inch MacBook Pro


There's been a lot of talk about how the new MacBook Air will be the superior machine. On paper, we think that this is the case, given the better screen, the improved FaceTime camera, and the newer design of the MacBook Air.

All of that is a lot to disregard for a fan.

That said, we aren't yet 100% positive that the performance will be about the same between the two machines for 95% of the users as it was in 2020. Ultimately, confirmation on that will have to wait until they're both shipping to be sure.

Assuming the performance difference between the 2022 13-inch MacBook Pro and 2022 MacBook Air is about the same as it was in 2020 if you need a machine now, must have the M2 processor, and absolutely cannot wait for the MacBook Air to ship, then new 13-inch MacBook Pro is fine. With the purchase, you get more speed than the last chassis for about the same cost.

But, since we're not in that vacuum, and there is a machine in close proximity imminent, we recommend waiting on a purchase -- if you can. We're expecting extremely rapid sell-outs on the new MacBook Air. And we're expecting limited -- if any -- custom configuration availability.

So, ultimately, your decision may be made by what's actually available to buy when you're ready to go.

While we already spoke about Apple likely having a large amount of case assemblies for this unit as an impetus for making this model, it's also the back-to-school season. Given the still fractured nature of the supply chain at nearly every angle of execution, Apple needs to have something to sell. The 13-inch MacBook Pro will likely be easier to keep in stock than the more modern MacBook Air redesign will be.

Of course, this is moot if you're a giant Touch Bar fan. Then, get the M2 13-inch MacBook Pro because you literally have no other choice.

Pros:
  • Improvement over the 2020 M1 13-inch MacBook Pro
  • Still quiet under load
Cons:
  • Two Thunderbolt ports without a power port is still not enough without a dock
  • There's the MacBook Air on the horizon, and that looks better
  • Six-year-old design
And yes, it's time for the real-world unnecessary, but Google-demanded score.

The M2 13-inch MacBook Pro is an evolution and not a revolution in the Mac. It is an incremental upgrade to the previous model, and it will do fine for "Pro"-power seeking folks on a budget. For those folks, this is a 4 out of 5 machine.

And, it's a 4 out of 5 machine at this price point if you have no other alternative because of supply chain issues.

But, Apple Osbourned itself, announcing the MacBook Air within the same hour of WWDC. That machine is newer, adds MagSafe charging so you don't have to sacrifice one of the two ports on the machine, has a better screen, and a better webcam.

And like we said, it will have an incredibly hard time keeping them on store shelves. For folks looking at the newest design with that M2 processor, the MacBook Air appears to be the target to shoot for.

For those folks, assuming MacBook Air availability is good -- and Apple has warned about "headwinds" in supply about the quarter already -- the 2022 13-inch MacBook Pro is a 3 out of 5.

Overall score: 3.5 out of 5

Save $149 on AppleCare for the M2 MacBook Pro

Apple M2 MacBook Pro 13-inch with macOS Ventura wallpaper and M2 chip and AppleCare logos
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You can also compare prices across leading Apple resellers in our M2 MacBook Pro Price Guide.

Read on AppleInsider
dewme
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 47
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,337member
    "Incremental" and "unexciting." Perfect description. Of much more than the MacBook.
    williamlondonelijahglkrupp
  • Reply 2 of 47
    jas99jas99 Posts: 105member
    OK, what part of the word “upgrade” is so hard to understand?

    It’s better than the previous version. 

    Great!

    If they hadn’t upgraded it, would you have written an article complaining they kept a “tired old machine around” ????

    Enough with the “not a big enough upgrade” pieces. If there’s nothing to write about, just don’t write. 
    williamlondondanoxStrangeDayslkruppwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 47
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,485administrator
    jas99 said:
    OK, what part of the word “upgrade” is so hard to understand?

    It’s better than the previous version. 

    Great!

    If they hadn’t upgraded it, would you have written an article complaining they kept a “tired old machine around” ????

    Enough with the “not a big enough upgrade” pieces. If there’s nothing to write about, just don’t write. 
    Like your forum post, we get to have opinions and we get to write them.

    If they hadn't upgraded it, and kept it at the same price point versus where the new MacBook Air sits, we'd have absolutely talked about how it doesn't have a place in the lineup. Your point about "better than the previous version" is addressed in the text -- but I'm going to guess you didn't read to that part and posted anyway.

    And, as a reminder -- AppleInsider is for everybody, not just the Apple faithful. Not everybody has the same level of product lineup knowledge that you appear to have, and these reviews need to be addressed to them as well.

    And like you said, if there's nothing to write about, don't write a forum post about it.
    edited June 25 chasmavon b7williamlondoncanukstormMplsPmuthuk_vanalingamelijahgRogue01watto_cobragrandact73
  • Reply 4 of 47
    FYI: it's just as easy to downplay the screen/camera difference between the base M2 MBA and base M2 MBP as it is to downplay the GPU/cooling difference.

    Retina + Wide Color (P3) + True Tone + 500 nits brightness is not exactly a poor screen spec relative to most laptops on the market. That means you can easily say most users aren't really going to experience a huge difference between the two in most use cases, same as the GPU/cooling differences. Likewise, can anyone argue that there's a big usability difference between 720p and 1080p for a web cam? Yes, 1080p is technically higher but so is a 10 core GPU (M2 MBP base) versus an 8 core GPU (M2 MBA base).
    edited June 25 chasmPascalxxwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 47
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,495member
    "Incremental" and "unexciting." Perfect description. Of much more than the MacBook.
    Contrary to certain insane views, Apple nor any other company can completely reinvent every product every year. Apple in particular has never done this, and never will -- nor Microsoft, nor Google, nor car companies, nor any other manufacture of anything. So everything one might purchase in this world has years where the latest model is "incremental."

    To believe otherwise is to mentally break with reality.
    williamlondonM68000jas99danoxStrangeDayslkruppMisterKitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 47
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,495member
    I think this overview does something no other review I've read of the 13-inch MBP does, which is to rate it fairly depending on the audience. Part of the problem with reviews on sites like AI and its corporate cousins is that their audience tends to be intermediate-to-expert users, which is representative of about 10 to 15 percent of the consumers who will buy a machine like this or the new Air. The vast majority of laptop buyers, regardless of how many years they've been using computers, are what nerds and power-users would call "low-level" or "light duty" or even less accurate terms.

    If you are sure that your workflow is going to need to rely on active cooling even under the insanely advanced M2 chip, then the 13-inch MBP is not for you.
    If you are sure that your workflow is going to need to require more than 24GB of RAM, then the 13-inch MBP is not for you.
    If you are sure that you need more than one Thunderbolt port available for peripherals most or all of the time, then the 13-inch MBP is not for you.

    If you're a normal consumer or someone who rarely "taxes" your computer and 13-inch screen is fine, then the M2 MBA looks to be best option at the moment, but of course Apple will update the rest of the MBP line to the M2 and M2 variants in due course, so this "incremental" release's "disappointment" will be very fleeting, I suspect. I think we'll get an update to the 14-and-higher lineup in the near future, possibly before the end of the year, and sometime next year the 13-inch MBP will either be dropped outright (my guess) or brought up to par with the larger M2 models.

    I personally will miss the touchbar, but just that is certainly not enough to sway me to this 13-inch MBP. If Apple had included the Magsafe port and the 1080p webcam on the 13-inch, I very likely would have bought it, as the form factor is one I like very much through familiarity (I currently have one of the larger, earlier models). I would not be surprised if the 13-inch M2 does pretty well with consumers, even with its current limitations. For that matter, the M1 will probably do very well with consumers, because both of these computers are far in excess of what typical users require.

    I think many commenters here would do well to remember that the vast majority of people buying ANY of the new notebooks are coming to them from the perspective of using a five-to-10 year old machine. This review manages to address both that real-world, non-nerd viewpoint as well as the lowdown from a power-user's perspective.
    edited June 25 MplsPwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 47
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,485administrator
    FYI: it's just as easy to downplay the screen/camera difference between the base M2 MBA and base M2 MBP as it is to downplay the GPU/cooling difference.

    Retina + Wide Color (P3) + True Tone + 500 nits brightness is not exactly a poor screen spec relative to most laptops on the market. That means you can easily say most users aren't really going to experience a huge difference between the two in most use cases, same as the GPU/cooling differences. Likewise, can anyone argue that there's a big usability difference between 720p and 1080p for a web cam? Yes, 1080p is technically higher but so is a 10 core GPU (M2 MBP base) versus an 8 core GPU (M2 MBA base).
    Everybody's got different priorities in what they need and want in a machine. Nearly every user at this price point will get more from the machine from the FaceTime camera on the MBA versus the active cooling and GPU cores.

    That changes in priorities are more apparent the higher you creep up the price ladder.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm glad the machine exists. It has a place -- and the text makes that clear. Nearly everybody at this price point and who these machines are aimed at, will likely be better served by the new Air.
    edited June 25 muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 47
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,303member
    Very well written review. I think you hit the nail on the head with this statement:

    Nearly every workload applied by nearly every user is single-core and a burst process. The processor isn't running long enough, hot enough, for any of this to make a real difference to the overwhelming majority of Mac users looking at this price point.

    If notebook computers were highly task-driven dogs like a Belgian Malinois or Border Collie they'd be chewing holes on our sheetrock and destroying our sofa cushions due to our utter inattention and lack of tasking. All those idle cycles where the computer is just idling away waiting for us to do anything to raise its pulse above neutral, only to suddenly throw a big job at it for the tiniest period of time don't add up to much of anything. The M1 is so power efficient that I'm surprised the fans in the 13" MBP don't suffer from stiction problems due to their infrequent use. 

    I guess a few folks do throw some big workloads at their lower end notebooks, but if you're really hellbent on throwing big jobs at a lower tier Apple computer shouldn't you be using something like a Mac mini at the very least? Relatively speaking, its case has a lot more cooling capacity than just about any MBP. If you're using a 13" MBP that's hammering the fan more than 50% of the time, maybe you should be looking at the much more powerful 14" or 16" MacBook Pro. Time is money.

    Not trying to sound glib, but if the only "penalty" you're paying for not having active cooling in your MacBook Air is a bit of a slowdown in the rare instances where you need enough processing power over a short duration of time that is sufficient to cause your processor to break a sweat, what is the big deal? For the other 99% of the time the blissful silence, better screen, lighter weight, and better camera on the MacBook Air will more than offset those brief periods of incremental slowdown. 

    Like you said, the 13" M2 MBP slots into a price point that may make it attractive to some buyers. But there is no denying that the new M2 equipped MacBook Air is a far better and more attractive value for the vast majority of buyers in this price range. Heck, even the M1 MacBook Air is still more attractive than the 13" M2 MBP for the vast majority of users who will see little to no benefit from the incremental M2 enhancements.

    Anyone who's been following the "Air" lineage of Apple products, including MacBooks and iPads, fully understands that an "Air" product always implies some compromises versus "Pro" products, but the price-vs-performance ratio is always favorable and satisfying. The "Pro" moniker typically means that compromises are not to be expected, at least not to be expected relative to where the specific Pro product sits in the Pro price hierarchy.  The 13" MBP simply does not live up sufficiently to its Pro designation. It's too close to the Air and has nearly all of the compromises of the Air. When the Pro is a generation behind on design versus the Air things only get worse for the Pro.

    I think the current 13" M2 MacBook Pro was a fairly easy product to get to market in a short period of time. Apple undoubtedly has a next-gen 13" Pro in the pipeline and they are using the current one as a placeholder to keep their product offerings fleshed out as much as they can. It is what it is, but there is very little to get excited about.
    williamlondonelijahgchasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 47
    jdwjdw Posts: 1,067member
    I'm rather shocked that this article and the entire tech media isn't talking about what MaxTech found in his review; namely, that the SSD speed is HALF that of the M1 MBP!  To me, that is absolutely shocking and totally unacceptable.  You can see that at the 1:16 part of his video below:



    He shows you get faster SSD performance even with the $800 MacBook Air!

    Max also reports it hits 104°C during testing, which is insane.

    Add the 720p webcam to that, and this particular model is turning out to be an embarrassing disaster.  Honestly, it makes zero sense to me what Apple even has it in the lineup because the M2 Air looks to be better in many ways, if one wants a big step up from the Air, they just need to go with the 14" M1 Pro.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 10 of 47
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,485administrator
    jdw said:
    I'm rather shocked that this article and the entire tech media isn't talking about what MaxTech found in his review; namely, that the SSD speed is HALF that of the M1 MBP!  To me, that is absolutely shocking and totally unacceptable.  You can see that at the 1:16 part of his video below:



    He shows you get faster SSD performance even with the $800 MacBook Air!

    Max also reports it hits 104°C during testing, which is insane.

    Add the 720p webcam to that, and this particular model is turning out to be an embarrassing disaster.  Honestly, it makes zero sense to me what Apple even has it in the lineup because the M2 Air looks to be better in many ways, if one wants a big step up from the Air, they just need to go with the 14" M1 Pro.
    SSD speeds at 256 and 1TB are addressed in the review. More specifically, Apple appears to have shifted to 256GB flash media, and there is one chip in the 256GB config and two in the 512, and two 512GB chips in the 1TB model.

    FTA: "Blackmagic's Disk Speed Test app on the 256GB model yielded a 1,636 MB/s sustained write speed and a 1,464 MB/s average read speed. The 1TB model was faster with about 2,400 megabytes per second write and 2,800 megabytes per second read speeds wholly gained through increased parallelization and the use of multiple Flash media chips in capacities larger than the 256GB model.

    Given what we know about the evolution of this particular MacBook Pro and the reality of the M2 processor as it stands today, these drive speeds are about what we expected and notably slower than the 14-inch MacBook Pro and Mac Studio."

    This is likely because 128GB chips are in tight supply right now, by the smartphone industry.

    Fwiw, this is one of the factors we incorporated into the score. It's also something that most of the target market won't see or feel.
    edited June 25 dewmenubusroundaboutnowwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 47
    jdwjdw Posts: 1,067member
    It's also something that most of the target market won't see or feel.
    I appreciate the clarification, Mike.  I really do.  But isn't the "target market" of Apple's "Pro" notebooks comprised of people who push their machines a little more than the MBA, such they the tend to use apps like Lightroom or FCPX, which do very much rely on raw SSD speed for the best performance, and therefore would be noticed by Pros?  

    Also, if one buys a Mac with a limited 8MB of RAM, would they not feel a slowdown with the 256GB SSD (with one a single chip) versus a larger and faster SSD?  

    Or does your "target market" assume a set of buyers who will not buy the base model and instead update the SSD, such that they would not notice a slowdown because in that case (512GB or bigger SSD) there wouldn't be a slowdown issue at all?

    But even if you have a good explanation for the above, I am still finding it very, very hard to see why the M2 MBP even exists, because if one wants a thin, light and fast laptop for school or simple web browsing, etc., they can buy the new M2 Air, and if they want greater performance and don't mind a little larger size, they could just jump to the 14" MBP.  The M2 MBP, especially with its lackluster 720p camera (which most assuredly is NOT "pro"), seems like a big mistake in the lineup, rather than a benefit to consumers.  Sometimes less is more, and making a product line less complex (as Steve Jobs did when he returned to Apple) can be a big help to consumers.  The M2 MBP serves only to confuse and convolute the Apple notebook buying experience.
    mazda 3s
  • Reply 12 of 47
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,485administrator
    jdw said:
    It's also something that most of the target market won't see or feel.
    1) I appreciate the clarification, Mike.  I really do.  But isn't the "target market" of Apple's "Pro" notebooks comprised of people who push their machines a little more than the MBA, such they the tend to use apps like Lightroom or FCPX, which do very much rely on raw SSD speed for the best performance, and therefore would be noticed by Pros?  

    2) Also, if one buys a Mac with a limited 8MB of RAM, would they not feel a slowdown with the 256GB SSD (with one a single chip) versus a larger and faster SSD?  

    3) Or does your "target market" assume a set of buyers who will not buy the base model and instead update the SSD, such that they would not notice a slowdown because in that case (512GB or bigger SSD) there wouldn't be a slowdown issue at all?

    4) But even if you have a good explanation for the above, I am still finding it very, very hard to see why the M2 MBP even exists, because if one wants a thin, light and fast laptop for school or simple web browsing, etc., they can buy the new M2 Air, and if they want greater performance and don't mind a little larger size, they could just jump to the 14" MBP.  The M2 MBP, especially with its lackluster 720p camera (which most assuredly is NOT "pro"), seems like a big mistake in the lineup, rather than a benefit to consumers.  Sometimes less is more, and making a product line less complex (as Steve Jobs did when he returned to Apple) can be a big help to consumers.  The M2 MBP serves only to confuse and convolute the Apple notebook buying experience.
    1) This is also mostly addressed in the piece. Pro as far as Apple is concerned, doesn't really mean anything. And, with this machine versus the M2 MBA it's even more blurred.

    2) In this case, the RAM is probably the bigger issue. Unless you've got two people using the same model of machine, simultaneously, it's not really perceptible. It's still way faster than a SATA SSD, and an order of magnitude faster than a spinning drive. It's of course obvious if you benchmark, and compare the numbers, but most of this market won't.

    3) I think I answered sufficiently with point two, but folks that have "Pro" workflows know that RAM and SSDs need to get those upgrades at time of purchase.

    4) You and I feel very much the same in this regard, and like I said in the review, this model will be easier to keep in stock because it's effectively a M1 motherboard with a M2 processor in an existing chassis and no new machining or anything. The Pro folks need to go to the 14-inch MBP or the Mac Studio (which I said), and this exists so Apple can have something during a pretty crucial back to school season.
    edited June 25 jdwwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 47
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,761member
    M2 Macbook Pro is upgrade from the last version so upgrade is all good. If M2 Macbook Air didn't exists than our expectations would be in line with upgrade and no one would  say unexciting.  In next iteration of 13.3" Macbook Pro, Apple just needs to rethink and position it where customer see distinct value of it.

    IMO, 13.6" MBA and 15" MBA will be well received MAC laptops for the large customer base who don't need to push computing performance but need decent MAC laptop. At last, Apple is covering every size and computing needs laptop that customers want/need.

    edited June 25 jas99watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 47
    Maybe to Apple the suffix “Pro” means “Office professional by day and Gamer by night”. That user group would probably find this new MBP13 interesting.
    edited June 26 watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 47
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,779moderator
    jdw said:
    It's also something that most of the target market won't see or feel.
    I am still finding it very, very hard to see why the M2 MBP even exists, because if one wants a thin, light and fast laptop for school or simple web browsing, etc., they can buy the new M2 Air, and if they want greater performance and don't mind a little larger size, they could just jump to the 14" MBP.
    It's a big jump from the $1199 M2 Air to the 14" Pro at $1999. The 13" M2 Pro is $1299.

    Sales volume determines what every company does with products and the entry Air and Pro are Apple's most popular Macs.

    The only reason to get the 13" Pro over the Air is the active cooling but I suspect Apple would prefer people to buy the 14" Pro.

    I was expecting that Apple would take the 14" Pro model at $1999 and reduce RAM from 16GB to 8GB (-$200), reduce SSD from 512GB to 256GB (-$200) and reduce M Pro to M chip (-$300). This gives a $1299 price point. Even if they keep it at 16GB RAM, a $1499 entry price would be enough to drop the 13" Pro.

    They've kept old models in the lineup before though. When the Retina MBPs were launched, they kept selling the old ones at a lower price point:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20121029201849/http://www.apple.com/why-mac/compare/notebooks.html

    2012 13" non-Retina Pro was $1199, 2012 13" Retina Pro was $1699.
    In 2013, they dropped the non-Retina Pro and put the Retina model at $1299 but to do that, they dropped the memory to 4GB.

    It's possible the 13" touchbar model will be replaced by a cheaper 14" model next year, maybe even an M1 Pro model when M2 Pro comes out.

    The Air still has an M1 at $999 and M2 at $1199. When M2 Pro comes out, they can sell an M1 Pro 14" at $1799 and if they reduce the entry storage to 256GB, $1599 and with 8GB RAM, $1399.

    M2 Pro/Max will likely launch in October so they can introduce a cheaper 14" M1 Pro then and see how many people buy the 14". Once the sales volume migrates to the 14", they can EOL the 13" model.
    jdwelijahgwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 47
    nubusnubus Posts: 101member
    How can the grade of a product that once again is "Incremental" and "unexciting" be a solid 3.5. The previous version was the same, and the design is at least 6 years old (as mentioned in the article). It doesn't burst into flames, but what else makes it worthy of a 3.5 rating? Display - small and old. Keyboard and webcam - both are the worst on any new Mac. MagSafe, ports, value? No/No/No. Even the cost in a 16/512 config - you save less than 15% by going from the MBP 14 to this. 

    The MBP 14 with the bright MicroLed display, MagSafe, a great keyboard, better graphics, webcam, ports, and value scored only 1 star better, and the price is nearly the same  (you save less than 15% on the 16/512 config). We should celebrate the best products from Apple. The MBP 13 M2 should receive a 2-star score and... well - the MBP 14 should probably have been given a 5. To me the MBP 13 M2 is the Mac IIvi of Apple Silicon.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 47
    Marvin said: The only reason to get the 13" Pro over the Air is the active cooling but I suspect Apple would prefer people to buy the 14" Pro.
    It's not just the cooling. The M2 MBP gets the 10 core version of the GPU for $200 less than the M2 MBA.
    jas99watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 47
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,485administrator
    nubus said:
    How can the grade of a product that once again is "Incremental" and "unexciting" be a solid 3.5. The previous version was the same, and the design is at least 6 years old (as mentioned in the article). It doesn't burst into flames, but what else makes it worthy of a 3.5 rating? Display - small and old. Keyboard and webcam - both are the worst on any new Mac. MagSafe, ports, value? No/No/No. Even the cost in a 16/512 config - you save less than 15% by going from the MBP 14 to this. 

    The MBP 14 with the bright MicroLed display, MagSafe, a great keyboard, better graphics, webcam, ports, and value scored only 1 star better, and the price is nearly the same  (you save less than 15% on the 16/512 config). We should celebrate the best products from Apple. The MBP 13 M2 should receive a 2-star score and... well - the MBP 14 should probably have been given a 5. To me the MBP 13 M2 is the Mac IIvi of Apple Silicon.
    This is addressed in the article text, rather lengthily.

    If I had my way, I'd abolish point-scores in their entirety. Google puts them forth as some kind of universal applicability, when they are very clearly not. For instance, AirPods hurt my ears -- every single one of them. For me, AirPods are a 1 out of 5, but it is clearly not that.

    And, if you don't have a point-score, Google will absolutely penalize you, no matter how complete your text.

    This is not a two-star product. It is not barely functional, nor just meet any of the criteria that would make it a 40% score out of a possible 100%. It has a decent price to performance ratio, but it is lazy. Apple doesn't have a special scale, because they are Apple.

    While I appreciate what you are saying, it feels like your scale that you want is that a 2 out of 5 is a D grade -- when in actuality a 2/5 is well less than a total failure.
    edited June 26 dewmemuthuk_vanalingamnubuswatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 47
    F keys are horrible, pointless chiclets, when you can have a multifunctional bar that can also have F keys. It’s so childish to give up the capabilities across applications of the Touch Bar in favor of keys simply so that you can feel them. Every creative app has used the Touch Bar to great advantage, most with full slider controls. What a waste of space the useless F keys are. 
    jas99chasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 47
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,303member
    tomwolsy said:
    F keys are horrible, pointless chiclets, when you can have a multifunctional bar that can also have F keys. It’s so childish to give up the capabilities across applications of the Touch Bar in favor of keys simply so that you can feel them. Every creative app has used the Touch Bar to great advantage, most with full slider controls. What a waste of space the useless F keys are. 
    The Touch Bar is very clever. However putting a control surface that dynamically changes based on application context outside of the sight line of touch typists is not ideal. I’m not a a great touch typist, but knowing that everything on the keyboard surface is static is reassuring. If you’re going to throw controls that change on-the-fly at me, put them on the screen where my eyes are focused. Just my 2 cents.  
    muthuk_vanalingamavon b7elijahg
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