MacBook Pro Overview Updated November 16, 2021

MacBook Pro: The biggest and baddest Mac laptops

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MacBook Pro has been the product name for Apple’s high-end laptop since early 2006 when the transition to Intel processors began. Now, that Pro naming has carried forth as Apple has moved to its own silicon. The latest fourth and fifth-generation Pro Apple notebooks bring dramatically more power with lower heat generation and better battery life thanks to the ARM-based Apple silicon. Keep reading for a brief history of the line and a breakdown of the current lineup.

MacBook Pro history

The first generation MacBook Pro followed in the style of the PowerBook G4 that came before it, but used Intel processors rather than PowerPC chips.

The second generation of the MacBook Pro was the first to really separate itself from the products before, with a unibody enclosure. The third-generation MacBook Pro introduced the retina display as well as MagSafe 2.

Perhaps the most controversial version of the MacBook Pro is the fourth generation. While the third generation received some backlash for the removal of ethernet and the optical drive, the fourth generation was a complete rethinking of the device peripherals. No more MagSafe, no more USB-A ports, and only the 13-inch model kept the function keys. Instead, this redesigned MacBook Pro opted for all Thunderbolt 3 ports and headphone jack. In place of function keys, the MacBook Pro gained an OLED Touch Bar. In late-2020, Apple introduced the M1 chip and updated the 13-inch MacBook Pro. The ARM-based processor brought down power consumption and increased performance.

In October of 2021, Apple introduced the fifth-generation MacBook Pro with not one but two updated versions of the M1 chip, the M1 Pro and M1 Max. The move walked back some of the decisions from the previous generation, adding back an HDMI Port, MagSafe charger, and SD card reader while removing the Touch Bar.

The 2020 13-Inch MacBook Pro

In late 2020, Apple introduced the 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro as the latest update to the fourth-generation MacBook. The MacBook features the same look as previous MacBooks, but like the MacBook Air and Mac Mini, switched to Apple silicon.

Apple’s M1 chip brought ARM architecture to the MacBook line, and this was the first MacBook without an Intel processor.

The M1 chip is a unified design with an 8-core CPU and an 8-core CPU. The processor integrated memory on board, limiting the device to either 8GB or 16GB of unified memory. The 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro is configurable with between 256GB and 2TB of storage and features a Magic Keyboard, rather than the problematic butterfly keyboard.

13-inch MacBook Pro specs

Base Configuration$1,299.00

  • Apple M1 chip with 8‑core CPU, 8‑core GPU, and 16‑core Neural Engine
  • 8GB unified memory
  • 256GB SSD storage
  • 13-inch Retina display with True Tone
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard – US English
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports

Max Configuration$2,299.00

  • Apple M1 chip with 8‑core CPU, 8‑core GPU, and 16‑core Neural Engine
  • 16GB unified memory
  • 2TB SSD storage
  • 13-inch Retina display with True Tone
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard – US English
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports

13-inch MacBook Pro pricing

The price for the 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro starts at $1,299. Upgrading this base configuration to 16GB of memory adds $200 to the price. Likewise, each step above 256GB of storage – 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB – will add $200 to the price. A fully specced out 13-inch MacBook Pro will run you $2,299.

You can configure your own 13-inch MacBook Pro on Apple’s website.

Current 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro

In October 2021, Apple brought a brand new design to the MacBook Pro line. Apple increased the screen size on the 13-inch, making it a 14-inch, and shrunk the bezels on the 16-inch. This fifth-generation notebook addressed many complaints of the last generation. MagSafe returned, in the form of an improved MagSafe 3, while the MacBook also regained an HDMI port and an SD-card slot.

Also gone is the Touch Bar. Instead, the standard row of function keys return. The latest MacBooks also bring a ProMotion display that was first introduced on the iPad Pro, with a variable refresh rate and mini-LED backlight.

The 2021 MacBooks aren’t without a controversial feature, as while the display has been made larger there is now a large notch for the 1080P FaceTime camera. While FaceID would have been a nice addition in exchange for this small chunk of the screen, there are some reasons this is not totally practical.

14-inch MacBook Pro specs

Base Configuration$1,999.00

  • Apple M1 Pro with 8-core CPU, 14-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
  • 16GB unified memory
  • 512GB SSD storage
  • 67W USB-C Power Adapter
  • 14-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
  • Three Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI port, SDXC card slot, MagSafe 3 port
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard with Touch ID – US English

Maximum Configuration$5,899.00

  • Apple M1 Max with 10-core CPU, 32-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
  • 64GB unified memory
  • 8TB SSD storage
  • 96W USB-C Power Adapter
  • 14-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
  • Three Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI port, SDXC card slot, MagSafe 3 port
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard with Touch ID – US English

14-inch MacBook Pro pricing

The 14-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,999. The base model includes 16GB of memory, 512GB of storage, and an M1 Pro processor with an 8-core CPU and 14-core GPU. There are multiple versions of the M1 Pro processor available, while jumping to an M1 Max processor will cost $500 more, and requires you to jump up to 32GB of memory – a $400 upgrade. Going with the M1 Max processor means you can configure up to the full 64GB of memory, an $800 upgrade.

You can configure up to 8TB of storage in the 2021 14-inch MacBook Pro. Upgrade costs are as follows:

  • 1TB SSD Storage – $200
  • 2TB SSD Storage – $600
  • 4TB SSD Storage – $1,200
  • 8TB SSD Storage – $2,400

You can configure your own 14-inch MacBook Pro on Apple’s website.

16-inch MacBook Pro specs

Base Configuration$2,499.00

  • Apple M1 Pro with 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
  • 16GB unified memory
  • 512GB SSD storage
  • 16-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
  • Three Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI port, SDXC card slot, MagSafe 3 port
  • 140W USB-C Power Adapter
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard with Touch ID – US English

Maximum Configuration$6,099.00

  • Apple M1 Max with 10-core CPU, 32-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
  • 64GB unified memory
  • 8TB SSD storage
  • 16-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
  • Three Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI port, SDXC card slot, MagSafe 3 port
  • 140W USB-C Power Adapter
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard with Touch ID – US English

16-inch MacBook Pro pricing

The 16-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,499. There is only one M1 Pro processor available on the 16-inch MacBook, and that’s the highest version 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU version of the M1 Pro processor that is a $300 upgrade on the 14-inch MacBook Pro. Of course, you can also step up to the M1 Max processor with either a 24-core or 32-core GPU, a $200 and $400 upgrade respectively (which also requires the $400 upgrade to 32GB of memory). The memory and storage options are all the same as the 14-inch MacBook Pro.

You can configure your own 16-inch MacBook Pro on Apple’s website.

Differences between 13-inch,14-inch, and 16-inch models

The 2021 MacBook Pro lineup is a refreshing change. The return of ports and physical keys make the laptops more versatile, while additions like an XDR display and hardware acceleration for ProRes improves the experience but is harder to quantify for the average user.

13-inch 14-inch 16-inch
Processor M1 M1 Pro / M1 Max M1 Pro / M1 Max
Memory 8GB / 16GB 16GB / 32GB / 64GB 16GB / 32GB / 64GB
Storage 512GB, 1TB, 2TB 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 8TB 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 8TB
Screen 2560×1600 pixels 3024×1964 pixels; ProMotion 3456×2234 pixels; ProMotion
Weight 3.0 pounds (1.4 kg) 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg) M1 Pro: 4.7 pounds (2.1 kg)
M1 Max: 4.8 pounds (2.2 kg)
Size (Width x Depth) 11.97 x 8.36 inches (30.41 x 21.24 cm) 12.31 x 8.71 inches (31.26 x 22.12 cm) 14.01 x 9.77 inches (35.57 x 24.81 cm)
Height 0.61 inch (1.56 cm) 0.61 inch (1.55 cm) 0.66 inch (1.68 cm)
Base Price $1,299.00 $1,999.00 $2,499.00

The $1,999 starting price for Apple latest computer is a harder pill to swallow than the $1,300 13-inch Pro from last year. For an average user, the superb M1 MacBook Air will likely suffice (and that sub-$1,000 price is hard to pass up).

But the 2021 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro are exactly what they need to be, a return to function-over-form that will truly meet the needs of professional users.

MacBook Pro Stories October 5

USB-C/Thunderbolt display options have really grown over the last couple of years. While Apple’s Pro Display XDR isn’t the best fit for most Mac users at $5,000+, it now offers the more affordable Studio Display. And there are also lots of solid choices from LG, Samsung, BenQ, and more. Let’s look at the best USB-C/Thunderbolt displays available in the $400-$1,600 range.

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MacBook Pro Stories October 4

Apple is expected to release the first revision to the 2021 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro as soon as this month. Here’s everything we expect to see with the M2 Pro chip and M2 Max chip MacBook Pro notebooks so far.

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MacBook Pro Stories September 13

There have been conflicting reports on whether Apple will announce new MacBook Pro models at an October event, alongside new iPads. A new report today comes down in favor, stating that Apple suppliers are preparing to ship updated versions.

The report also notes a slowing in the shipment of existing MacBook Pro machines, though this is in the midst of a more general market decline …

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MacBook Pro Stories September 7

Ahead of the Apple event, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple is cutting the new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro shipment forecast as it plans to start mass production of this product on 4Q22. Here’s what the analyst claims.

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MacBook Pro Stories August 31

The Asus Zenbook 17 Fold is perhaps the most interesting thing to happen in laptop design since the original MacBook Air, back in 2008. It’s a 13-inch laptop which quickly converts into a 17-inch desktop.

Apple sufficiently mollified me when it launched a 16-inch MacBook Pro that I stopped my endless wishing for the return of the 17-inch one – but the new Zenbook shows the intriguing possibility of getting the best of both worlds …

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MacBook Pro Stories August 26

Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is doubling down on his prediction that new MacBook Pro and iPad hardware entering mass production this year won’t use new 3nm chip technology. Kuo says these devices will feature “new” chips, but ones still using a 5nm fabrication technology.

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MacBook Pro Stories August 24

There was good news and bad news yesterday. The Apple Self Service Repair program was extended to the M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models – but if you were hoping that would enable DIY MacBook upgrades, you’re out of luck.

Apple very deliberately and specifically prevents this, and that seems to me to be the wrong decision for customers and the MacBook maker alike …

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MacBook Pro Stories August 22

The new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro with M2 processors will start mass production in the fourth trimester of 2022, according to reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. With rumors about the Cupertino company readying the next generation of high-end MacBooks for as early as this fall, Kuo has some thoughts on it.

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The Apple Self Service Repair program first launched for iPhone in November of last year is tomorrow being extended to M1 MacBook models – both MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

The company says that the program will also be expanding into other countries, beginning in Europe, later this year …

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MacBook Pro Stories August 17

MacBook design changes have made it practical for the machines to be assembled in Vietnam for the first time. So far, only iPads and AirPods have been made in the country.

The move marks the continuation of Apple’s gradual effort to reduce its dependance on China as a manufacturing center …

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MacBook Pro Stories August 12

After hundreds of MacBook Pro workers at a Quanta plant broke through barriers in protest of tough COVID-19 lockdown conditions, the company has indicated that it is now paying significant incentives in an attempt to retain enough staff.

All in, the disruptions saw the MacBook assembler’s profits halved in the second quarter, and the company said it took more than two months to return to full production …

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MacBook Pro Stories July 27

Firefox 103.0 is the browser’s latest update for macOS users. In this version, one of the most notable changes is support for monitors with a 120Hz refresh rate, which includes the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Pro or M1 Max chips.

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MacBook Pro Stories July 20

MacBook not charging? Here are 6 ways to fix it

MacBook not charging? Whether you’re having issues with a particular charging cable, multiple cables/chargers, or intermittent trouble, follow along for 6 solutions to fix a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro that won’t juice up.

MacBook Pro Stories July 11

The first 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros with the Touch Bar are coming to Apple’s vintage products list on July 31. Seen by MacRumors in an internal memo to Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers, other devices will also join the list.

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MacBook Pro Stories July 8

Apple’s MacBook lineup has been fully refreshed between the new MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro with M2 chips launching this summer and the 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro landing last fall. And Apple is keeping the M1 MacBook Air in the lineup too. Let’s take an in-depth look at the difference between MacBook Air and Pro to see what sets these MacBooks apart.

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MacBook Pro Stories June 30

Announced at WWDC 2022, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with the M2 chip finally arrived in stores and in the hands of customers last week. And, while the fact that the M2 MacBook Pro is not a huge upgrade compared to its previous generation is no surprise, a teardown by iFixit has now shown that this MacBook is just a recycled laptop with a new chip inside.

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The new M2 MacBook Pro has been on the market for almost a week now and the more we learn about it, the more perplexing of a machine it becomes. In fact, it has us questioning whether anyone should even buy it. If you’re considering the M2 MacBook Pro, don’t buy it just yet. Head below for some details on why it might not be worth the buy.

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MacBook Pro Stories June 27

The new M2 MacBook Pro officially launched on Friday. As most of the reviews indicated, it’s virtually the same as the previous-generation M1 MacBook Pro, just with an M2 chip inside. The similarities between the two machines prompted YouTuber Luke Miani to see if he could simply swap the chip between the two machines.

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It wasn’t long after the new(ish) MacBook Pro went on sale that we got to see some M2 speed benchmarks. These confirmed Apple’s claims in terms of improvements over the base M1 chip, but also confirmed that, as expected, the M1 Pro, Max, and Ultra chips still leave the M2 in the dust.

A new comparison table shows how the M2 speed compares to every other recent Apple Silicon chip, from the A13 Bionic in the iPhone 11, through to the M1 Ultra – and it makes for interesting viewing …

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MacBook Pro Stories June 26

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro, which features Apple’s M2 chip, has finally arrived in stores and also in the hands of customers. While M2 brings performance improvements compared to M1, it seems that this is not the case when it comes to storage speed. Tests done with the new M2 MacBook Pro reveal that its entry-level model has a slower SSD than the M1 model.

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The new MacBook Air has been unveiled with an all-new design, M2 chip, and a range of other impressive upgrades. That means it’s the ideal time to trade in your old MacBook ahead of the new MacBook Air July release to get the most value from your machine. Here’s a look at the best MacBook trade-in values including a 10% cash bonus from our official trade-in partner Decluttr with code “9TO5MAC“.

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MacBook Pro Stories June 23

Apple announced a new generation of the 13-inch MacBook Pro at WWDC 2022. The new laptop, which is powered by Apple’s new M2 chip, went on pre-order last week and will hit stores on Friday, June 24. Now the first customers who bought the M2 MacBook Pro are finally having their orders delivered.

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MacBook Pro Stories June 22

Ahead of the first orders arriving to shoppers on Friday, reviews of the new M2 MacBook Pro have officially hit the web. The new entry-level MacBook Pro is virtually the same as the previous-generation model in every way, which makes the new M2 chip the star of the show. These reviews provide our first look at the M2 chip and its performance.

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MacBook Pro Stories June 17

Apple debuted the first M2-powered Mac this morning, officially opening pre-orders for the new entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro. The launch, however, has been anything but smooth as Apple is clearly battling significant supply constraints.

In fact, any configurations of the new M2 MacBook Pro are already back-ordered until August. Naturally, that has us wondering how this might impact the new MacBook Air launching next month…

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