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 January 28

Sitting down with pro videographer, photographer, and YouTuber Tyler Stalman, two of Apple’s executives have shared an in-depth look into the process of creating the 2023 MacBook Pro laptops with M2 Pro and M2 Max Apple Silicon.

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MacBook Pro Stories January 27

iFixit is well known for taking apart just about every new Apple product, as the company specializes in providing guides to third-party repairs. However, this time, iFixit decided to test the official Apple repair guides by taking apart the new 2023 MacBook Pro that was just released.

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After the M1 Pro/Max MacBook Pro launched in late 2021 with the return of more I/O, Satechi launched its Pro Hub Mini and Max to offer even more connectivity. Now the company has debuted its Pro Hub Slim to offer just the connectivity you need for MacBook Pro and Air in a minimal design.

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The new M2 Pro and M2 Max chips are so powerful that most reviewers said that they are actually overkill for most Mac owners, even most of those doing video work.

A new benchmark ranking shows how the machine stacks up against every other current Apple Silicon chip, from the A14 Bionic to the M1 Ultra (which still smokes the M2 Pro) …

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MacBook Pro Stories January 26

If you’re ready to sell, trade in, or give away your Mac or wipe it for another reason there are different steps to the process depending on what Mac you have and what version of macOS you’re on. Notably, macOS Ventura and Monterey include a handy modern erase option like iOS. Read on for how to reset MacBooks and Mac desktops.

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MacBook Pro Stories January 25

By and large, you can’t go wrong with Apple’s current crop of desktops and laptops powered by Apple Silicon processors. The lineup is stronger than it has ever been, especially with this week’s launch of new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with M2 inside.

But there’s one notable exception. There’s one MacBook that pretty much no one should buy, and that’s the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

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MacBook Pro Stories January 24

A quick look inside the base-level M2 Pro MacBook Pro revealed something I hadn’t expected to see – or, rather, that something I HAD expected to see was missing. Like the base level M2 MacBook Air, the base level of the latest 14″ MacBook Pro seems to feature fewer NAND chips – at a higher capacity – than the last generation. This results in SSD read and write performance that’s dramatically lower than the previous generation.

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Apple’s MacBook lineup has been overhauled between the new MacBook Pro arriving with M2 Pro and Max chips to start out 2023 and the MacBook Air with M2 chip that launched in 2022. Follow along for our in-depth look at the MacBook Pro vs Air to see what’s new and different between these laptops.

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With today’s availability of the 2023 Mac mini and MacBook Pro, two machines with the ability to drive 8K displays, Apple has published guidance on how to use these high-resolution displays with your Mac. In addition, these new Macs support higher 4K refresh rates up to 240Hz and expanded support for variable refresh rates (VRR).

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The Brydge ProDock is effectively a modern take on a product Apple launched way back in the mists of time (well, 1992): The Macintosh Duo Dock. The idea is to be able to instantly switch between using a Mac laptop as a mobile and desktop device.

There have been a number of third-party takes on this idea. The Brydge ProDock is arguably the best of these – but also the most expensive …

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The new M2 Macs are available from today, with pre-order customers taking delivery of their shiny new machines.

Apple last week announced the new Mac mini with a choice of M2 and M2 Pro chips, as well as the M2 Pro and M2 Max MacBook Pro models …

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MacBook Pro Stories January 23

When it launched the M2 Max MacBook Pro, Apple shared that it features even more powerful dedicated media engines for processing video footage. Now a review from Brian Tong reveals exactly how much faster the M2 Max is at processing ProRes compared to the M1 Max, M1 Ultra, and more.

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MacBook Pro Stories January 20

When Apple first unveiled the new MacBook Pro earlier this week, some users were surprised by a supposed downgrade in the specs of the media engine. While the M1 Max was always listed as having two encode and decode engines, the spec sheet for the M2 Max was only listed as having one. This page has since been updated to reflect to reality of the machine.

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We’ve long been expecting a switch to OLED iPad Pro screens, with MacBook Pro models to follow, and a new supply chain report says that the project has now been made official for an Apple supplier.

It says that Apple has asked “a domestic display company” to develop the panels – almost certainly a reference to Samsung, though LG will likely be a secondary supplier …

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MacBook Pro Stories January 18

Apple this week introduced a new generation of the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro, which is now powered by the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips. In addition to the hardware improvements, these machines come with new wallpapers – and you can download them right now here without having to buy a new 2023 MacBook Pro.

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MacBook Pro Stories January 17

Apple has launched its next-generation MacBook Pro laptops powered by the new M2 Pro and M2 Max custom silicon. Along with a more powerful CPU and GPU, the new MacBook Pro machines support up to 96GB RAM, Wi-Fi 6E, 8K output via HDMI, and more. Read on for our in-depth M2 Pro/Max MacBook Pro comparison for how everything stacks up against its predecessors.

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Apple officially unveiled its new M2 Pro and M2 Max chips today, debuting first in new MacBook Pro and Mac mini updates. These new chips mark the expansion of the M2 chip to Apple’s higher-end Macs for the first time, but just how much of a performance boost should you expect? Here’s what Apple says.

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Apple on Tuesday updated the Mac mini with the M2 chip, and also introduced another version with the new, more powerful M2 Pro chip. However, despite the new chips, the Mac mini still has the same design introduced a decade ago. And according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the Mac mini won’t be getting a new design anytime soon.

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MacBook Pro battery life saw a big increase with the arrival of Apple Silicon in the last few years and the M2 Pro and M2 Max upgrades bring even more power efficiency. Here’s what to expect for M2 MacBook Pro battery life.

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There are a bunch of notable changes with the new MacBook Pro models, including the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips that power them. There’s also one small design tweak we still can’t believe didn’t ship last year – color-matched MagSafe chargers.

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Apple announced its refreshed MacBook Pro and Mac mini machines today with M2, M2 Pro, and M2 Max chips. While the company skipped a traditional event and launched the computers with a press release, it did share a video introducing the latest hardware kicked off by a montage of tech YouTubers.

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Apple’s latest generation MacBook Pro is now official. The upgraded 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models feature the new M2 Pro and M2 Max chips inside. Other updates include Wi-Fi 6E for the first time, upgraded HDMI with 8K display support, and more. Head below for the full details on what’s new with these MacBook Pro updates…

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MacBook Pro Stories January 16

Evidence is mounting that new Macs could be announced this week. An unreleased MacBook Pro with upgraded Wi-Fi speeds has surfaced in the Canada Radio Equipment List database, with the model number A2779. The new Mac hardware could be announced tomorrow, according to multiple sources.

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MacBook Pro Stories January 12

Powered by M1 Pro and M1 Max Apple Silicon, the most modern MacBook Pro laptops feature the most powerful CPU and GPUs (outside of the M1 Ultra), increased RAM, miniLED ProMotion displays, expanded I/O, and much more. Read on for an in-depth comparison of the 14 and 16″ MacBook Pro vs the 13″ M2 and 16″ Intel machines to help you decide which to pick.

Apple has announced the M2 Pro and M2 Max MacBook Pro laptops, check out our full comparison on the new hardware:

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