In this video, listen… we have to talk about what’s going on with the M2 MacBook Pro rumors. Because they’re dropping faster than f-bombs on Peacemaker. And it’s not even the escalation in quantity — it’s the utter conflict, the cage match between them — I mean, we’ve gone from 14-inch in the new design to 13-inch in the old, from… notch to Touch Bar… from later this fall to soon as this spring, and in the blink of an eye
Which makes the kinda sense that only kinda does? Because, when Apple dropped the first batch of ultra-low-power custom silicon Macs back in November of 2020, all three of them were still stuck in the same old designs. MacBook Air. Mac mini. And 2-port MacBook Pro. New silicon hotness inside. Busted old boxes out. But since then, we got 2… arguably 2 1/2 complete redesigns in 2021. The 24-inch iMac and the ultra-high performance 14- and 16-inch MacBooks Pro.
So, some 18 months post M1, and almost 6 months post the new high-end Pros, what nerd wouldn’t want them to pull a Reese’s peanut butter cup and just two-great-better-together that new design with this next generation of Apple silicon?
Which is exactly what DylanDKT reported back in January. Specifically, the new 14-inch MacBook Pro enclosure, with an even newer M2 Apple silicon chipset. All coming sometime in the second half of 2022.
But now… Now both randomly accurate DigiTimes, and MacRumors are reporting something both better and worse. Better, in that we might see the updated entry-level MacBook Pro way earlier, as soon as the the Apple event rumored for March 8, and worse, in that M2 will be the only thing updated about the new entry-level.
Which, yes, going to M2… about damn time. But sticking with that old design… just feels frozen in time.
So… could Apple do this? Would Apple do this? And… why?
Well, again, this isn’t the high end 14- and 16-inch M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pros we’re talking about, the ones that we just got back in October. It’s the entry-level 13-inch M1… nothing… just plain M1… we got back in 2020. And that entry level it’s… it’s just always been… well… weird.
Phil Schiller first announced it back in 2016, but after announcing the then new 13- and 16-inch all Thunderbolt and Butterfly MacBooks Pro. And he announced it as sort of a… one less thing… Same then new design as the 13-inch, but without the then-new Touch Bar, and with only 2 then new Thunderbolt ports instead of 4 in the full-on pro. And he called it a MacBook Pro for people who always wanted a Retina MacBook Air.
Because, back then, the MacBook Air hadn’t gone Retina yet, even though 18-months earlier Apple had introduced the Retina MacBook… nothing. The one with a super anemic Intel Y-series coreM chipset, single Thunderbolt port, and a price point well beyond the Air. In other words, premium portability at the expense of performance.
And this was literally meant for people who wanted the opposite of that. A Useries Core i chipset, but not really super high end or high priced. A… MacBook Pro Air… or MacBook Air Pro, so to speak.
And then, so ironically for so many reasons, when it came time for Apple to ship their first M1 Macs, the ultra-low-power M1 Macs, it was that 2-thunderbolt chassis that Apple used for the entry-level MacBook Pro. With the Butterfly keyboard swapped out for the new magic scissor switch model, but with the Touch Bar swapped in for the function trees. Because Apple always be trolling.
But still very much a MacBook Air Pro Pro Air situation — exact same chipset but with with a bigger thermal chassis and a fan so it could sustain heavy workloads for longer than 20 minutes. And that was all the M1 Pro we had for almost a year, until Apple finally replaced the higher-end Intel models with the literal M1 Pro and Max, and the new 14-inch and 16-inch designs, back in October. With more ports, more CPU, more memory and storage, and way, way more GPU.
Now, I’ve got a whole entire video up diving deep into the differences between M1 Pro and Max and M2, and I’ll drop a link to it in the description below the like button, but tl;dw, don’t let the numbers fool you. The M2 will have next-generation, higher performance, higher efficiency CPU cores, way more powerful graphics cores, better media engines, but it won’t have anywhere nearly as many of them. So, it’ll work even better in even smaller enclosures, like the rumored M2 MacBook Air redesign, especially at single core tasks. And sustain even better in a a same-sized enclosure, like the the old 13-inch MacBook Pro
It won’t have anywhere nearly the multicore performance of the M1 Pro or M1 Max, because entry-level not high end.
But that also means it doesn’t need the bigger, beefier new 14-inch design to sustain the performance it has, or the bigger battery to keep sustaining it. Plus, if M2 follows the same formula as M1, it’ll only have 2 USB and 2 Thunderbolt controllers, which wouldn’t be enough for all the ports on the existing 14-inch chassis. Which means Apple would have to do a variant that drops one of the Thunderbolt ports, and maybe the SD Card and HDMI ports as well.
I mean, they’ll have to do that eventually anyway, because the current design is going on 6 years old, doesn’t have MagSafe, and the Touch Bar is basically abandonware at this point. But it’ll let them kick that design can down the road at least another year. You know, while they’re working on the new iMac Pro, Mac Pro, Mac mini… and, of course, the next iPhone.
It also increases differentiation. Not only because no new design or newly re-instated ports, but no mini-LED, no ProMotion up to 120Hz adaptive refresh. Which clears up any vestigial confusion by making it wicked obviously much less a MacBook Pro Air and pretty clearly a MacBook Air Pro. And, of course, with none of those new things, especially the new display, it helps keep the old price point. Which is pretty much an entry-levels whole entire job.
And given how many truly new M-class Macs Apple still has to release before their self-imposed this-year deadline, I can absolutely see them going just exactly this game-theory way.