Forget The New MacBook Pro, Apple Has Something Better

Updated Jan 8th: article originally posted Jan 7th:

With Apple deciding to break a streak of two decades of launches by not announcing a new Mac in the last quarter of the year, what’s next for the MacBook family? I’m sure the faithful will always wait for the latest releases, but everyone else looking for a new MacBook right now may be considering Apple’s current offering in general, and the newest MacBook Pro in particular.

Yet every other option available both right now and in the near future is a far better choice than Apple’s latest laptop.

Update: Thursday January 7th: Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman adds to the many voices of an update to the MacBook Air during 2023, reporting that a 15-inch display is the most likely candidate to be launched this year. But this comes with a disappointing note on another MacBook Air that many were hoping for.

Apple is no longer looking to release a 12-inch MacBook “in the near term”. This smaller model, reminiscent of the 12-inch MacBook that was available between 2015 and 2019, would have been a highly portable laptop paired up with the Apple Silicon technology to offer longer battery life with more power than the previous Intel-based 12-inch models offered.

Apple will no doubt steer those looking a smaller ‘laptop-like’ experience towards the existing 11-inch and 12-inch iPad Pro hardware.

Let’s remember that the current new MacBook Pro (released at WWDC in June 2022) is Apple’s awkward combination of an M2-powered MacBook Air with a MacGyvered fan for some extra cooling. That lets the processor run a little faster than the Air, but you are paying a lot for this slight increase over the Air. If you are in the MacBook game for power, you need a ‘professional’ MacBook Pro; those looking for Apple’s definition of value for money should stay with the MacBook Air.

What about those looking for raw power? The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops powered by the M1 Pro and M1 Max chipsets are more powerful but built on the previous generation of Apple Silicon. The eagerly awaited upgrade to the presumptively named M2 Pro and M2 Max that many expected to arrive in Q4 2022… did not appear. They’re on the cards for the first half of 2023.

Those looking for a larger laptop have lots of choices in the Windows market, but Apple has kept the larger-screened MacBook choices under the Pro designation. With Apple Silicon lifting the baseline of performance to levels more than suitable for most consumers (even if Tim Cook and his team missed their deadline), a larger screen on the MacBook Air would be one of the most anticipated upgrades. The supply chain suggests that Apple is preparing a 15-inch display for its consumer laptop – an option that would be a welcome diversion from Apple’s traditional portfolio.

It’s also worth asking if you actually need a laptop. Do you leave your desk and work on the move enough to justify the portability, or would a smartphone or tablet paired with an iMac or Mac Studio be a better choice?

You can look elsewhere in the current range, save up for a true powerhouse laptop, or wait for a larger display. Apple has many options now and in the near future… and they’re all better than the new MacBook Pro.

Now read the latest Mac, iPhone, and iPad headlines in Forbes’ weekly Apple Loop column…

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