Get ready to go into your overdraft, Mac fans. Apple has just revealed a refresh of the 14- and 16in MacBook Pro, which packs the never-seen-before M2 Pro and M2 Max chips.
The new laptops (and a Mac mini, which also gets the bump to M2 and M2 Pro) arrived without any official warning, popping up via a press release on the Apple website, and sparing us the unedifying spectacle of grown men crowing over how flipping great the new chips are.
Still, the stats are provided in written form, for those who want to get excited ahead of their February 3 New Zealand release date. Apple says that the M2 Pro chip offer 30% better graphical performance, with a 40% boost to the Neural Engine responsible for machine learning tasks such as video analysis and image processing.
The M2 Max, meanwhile, delivers up to 20% better performance than the M1 Max that preceded it. It can now be configured with a frankly ridiculous 96GB RAM — something that Apple boasts will let creators “work on scenes so large that PC laptops can’t even run them.” Probably overkill for most people, mind — unless you have a chronic addiction to leaving Chrome tabs open.
Elsewhere it seems that Apple has done something with energy efficiency, because it’s positively buzzing to share that the new Pro models offer the “longest battery life ever in Mac”. That translates as 22 hours, in case you were wondering — which, to be fair, is better than the humans that they’re designed for.
Beyond the chip upgrade, it’s mostly the same MacBook Pro that arrived in late 2021, but with a couple of extra quality-of-life improvements.
They support Wi-Fi 6E for one thing, meaning you can look forward to speedy internet load speeds, assuming your router is equally modern (which it likely isn’t, but hey: it doesn’t hurt to be futureproof.)
On top of this, the HDMI port on all models has been updated to support the HDMI 2.1 standard. That sounds like a small thing, but means that you can output at up to 240Hz at 4K or 60Hz at 8K.
Speaking of plugging things into an external monitor, that’s exactly what you’ll need to do with the new M2 powered Mac mini which, as ever, doesn’t come with modcons like a screen, a keyboard or a mouse.
It does, however, come with a whole lot of ports: 1 x HDMI, 1 x gigabit ethernet, 1 x headphone jack (remember those, iPhone users?), 2 x USB-A and 2 x Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports. If you want the M2 Pro version, you get an additional two Thunderbolt ports to really multitask like a Pro.
The introduction of M2 and M2 Pro chips to the Mac mini is actually longer overdue than a MacBook refresh, given the last update was the first to benefit from Apple Silicon in late 2020. There wasn’t a Pro option back then, so this is a big upgrade for those who don’t need the flexibility of a laptop.
Anyway, this is all good news, but there’s a sting in the tail and, as per usual with Apple hardware, it’s the amount you have to pay to be an early adopter.
The Mac mini starts at NZ$1,099 for an M2 model with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage, and goes all the way up to NZ$7,999 if you want a 12-core M2 Pro chip with 32GB RAM and 8TB storage. Okay, NZ$4,200 of that total comes from said storage upgrade, but the RAM is something you’ll definitely want to upgrade at checkout, as it can’t be user upgraded with Apple Silicon-based hardware.
That was the cheap part (!) of the pricing sheet, so look away now if you’re feeling faint.
The 14in MacBook Pro starts at NZ$3,699 for an 10-core M2 Pro chip with 16GB RAM and 512GB storage, and goes all the way up to NZ$11,299 if you want to trip it out with a 12-core M2 Max, 96GB RAM and 8TB storage.
The cheapest 16in version starts at NZ$4,599 for a 12-core M2 Pro powered machine with 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD. Want to max it out with a 12-core M2 Max, 96GB RAM and 8TB of storage? That’ll be NZ$11,599 to you, chief.
Shipping starts on February 3 — a week after some other regions, but hey: at least New Zealand hasn’t been completely forgotten, as it is by some manufacturers we could mention…