MacBook Pro with M2 Pro: everything we know so far | Tom's Guide

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MacBook Pro with M2 Pro: everything we know so far | Tom

The MacBook Pro with M2 Pro could be the new crown jewel in Apple's laptop range, although it's taking longer to arrive than we thought. As much as we love the 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro, it feels about time that we got updated versions using the latest in Apple's chipsets.

Going by the current rumors, it sounds like the new MacBook Pro models won't be changing much from the current ones aside from some new internals. But that shouldn't cost these machines a spot on our best laptops page if they do everything just as well or better.

While we continue to twiddle our thumbs waiting for Apple to make its move, here's what we've heard so far and what we expect from the new MacBook Pro with M2 Pro range.

It's currently looking like the MacBook Pro with M2 Pro will not arrive until early 2023, alongside a new Mac mini. It was previously thought to be coming by the end of 2022, but after the rumored Apple October event didn't come to pass, and the new iPad 2022 and iPad Pro 2022 emerged via a simple press release and update, it's not looking likely that we'll have any new Macs appear before the year's out.

It does seem like something's coming though. A recent Steam hardware survey spotted two unidentified Mac models, and while there are no details beyond the codenames, it seems very likely at least one is a MacBook Pro.

Whenever they do appear, we imagine the new MacBook Pros will be at least as expensive as the current models (starting at $1,999/£1,899/AU$2,999 for the 14-inch version or $2,499/£2,399/AU$3,749 for the 16-inch version). They may even cost more in some markets due to fluctuating exchange rates.

The running theme with the MacBook Pro with M2 Pro, when comparing it to the current M1 Pro MacBook Pro models, is that not much is changing. And it sounds like that will be the case with its design as well.

The look of the MacBook Pro with M2 Pro, along with its basic hardware features, should be identical to the equivalent M1 Pro MacBook Pro. That includes a notched 14.2 or 16.2-inch mini-LED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, a notch at the top containing a 1080p webcam, a Magic Keyboard with no Touch Bar, Apple's usual spacious trackpad and six-speaker sound system. Around the edges, you get a generous number of ports, including three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI port, an SD card slot, a 3.5mm headphone jack and lastly MagSafe 3 connector for fast charging.

No changes to the existing formula have been rumored so far. In fact LeaksApplePro has claimed that there will be no changes to the MacBook Pro's ports or design in 2023. That's good in a way since the MacBook Pro 2021 models are already well-equipped laptops.

But for anyone hoping for more substantial upgrades to merit spending their money this year instead of last year, such as the removable camera module for laptops that Apple just patented, or Apple's other new patent for a dynamic keyboard there likely isn't anything new for you here.

The main thrust of this MacBook Pro refresh is believed to be upgrading the machines to offer M2 Pro and M2 Max chips. These are expected to build on the Apple M2 chip we've already seen in the MacBook Air M2, 13-inch MacBook Pro M2 and iPad Pro 2022 in the same way that the current Apple M1 Pro and Apple M1 Max chips improve on the original Apple M1 chip, with greater power and speed but a similar level of power efficiency.

Looking back to the MacBook Pro 2021 benchmarks we took when those laptops launched, they were hardly lacking in power, particularly when accounting for the High Power Mode available for 16-inch models fitted with an M1 Max chip. But for users wanting even bigger benchmark scores, or just as much power as Apple can give you in a mobile device, the M2 Pro and M2 Max are likely to satisfy that need.

LeaksApplePro has claimed that the new laptops will be "worth the wait" on account of them offering better speeds and battery life, while producing less heat in the process. So not only will the power apparently be ramped up, the efficiency will be getting an upgrade as well.

Alleged benchmarks for the M2 Max chipset show it offers a nice boost compared to the M1 Max chipset. However, while it seems to be scoring even better results as time goes on, it still doesn't quite match up to the M1 Ultra found in the Mac Studio, currently the most powerful Apple M-Series Mac.

Also potentially helping increase the MacBook Pro with M2 Pro's performance is the rumored faster LPDDR5X RAM. If Apple were to use this new memory standard, it would give the new MacBook Pros greater bandwidth for multi-tasking and running high-intensity apps.

if the new MacBooks do arrive in early 2023 as rumored, that would mean they ship with macOS Ventura, with the next big OS update coming in the fall. There's plenty in Ventura to enjoy already though, like Stage Manager for organizing your open apps, using your iPhone as a webcam with Continuity Camera and unsending emails and text messages.

One other benefit from Ventura for new MacBooks would be the introduction of the Metal 3 API for game developers. Apple's computers are not great when it comes to gaming but after seeing how well Resident Evil Village runs on the current MacBook Pro using Metal 3, we can only hope that more devs are tempted to port their games over to Macs so users can put these (most likely) mighty M2 processors through their paces. 

One of the most important areas of laptop performance is battery life, and the MacBook Pro 2021 battery life tests results were very impressive, with the 14-inch and 16-inch models lasting over 14 hours and 15 hours respectively with full ProMotion refresh rates enabled.

There are no battery size upgrades tipped for the new MacBook Pros, so they would have to rely on increased power efficiency from the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips. Even with those though, they're unlikely to beat the incredible efficiency of the 13-inch MacBook Pro M2, if battery life is all that matters for your Mac buying decision.

It's hard to say whether you should wait for the MacBook Pro with M2 Pro or buy a MacBook Pro now. In fact, now may be the best time to get a MacBook Pro 2021 while the current models are seeing strong discounts.

Users who are less fussed about maximum performance potential, and are instead interested in a high-quality display, a bevy of ports and a long-lasting battery are likely better off going for a MacBook Pro with M1 Pro, or even the MacBook Air M2. But if you need all the computing power you can get (or just simply want it), then it may be worth hanging on for a couple more months as the next generation of MacBook Pros with M2 Pro are likely to once again break the barriers of Mac performance.

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Richard is a Tom's Guide senior writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.

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MacBook Pro with M2 Pro: everything we know so far | Tom

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