Less than 20 days into the new year, Apple has quietly introduced three updated Macs. The 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are now available with M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, while an updated Mac mini comes with either the M2 or M2 Pro chip.
Anytime a Mac update arrives, it’s time for a celebration. And yet, especially for the new MacBook Pro models, there’s little to get all that excited about. Still, in the case of the often unloved Mac mini, there are a lot of positive things to unpack. And then there’s the Mac Studio, which wasn’t updated today but should have been.
Here are my early takes on the first new Apple products of the year.
MacBook Pro (2023)
Last summer, Apple revealed two great new laptops, the 13-inch MacBook Pro (2022) and MacBook Air (2022). Both models feature the same impressive M2 chip. However, even though it is technically better than when compared to the MacBook Air, the MacBook Pro released then was quickly lost in the shuffle.
The reason? The MacBook Air features an all-new design that puts it closer to the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021) than the 13-inch MacBook Pro.
Fast-forward to today and the introduction of new versions of the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro. When these are soon reviewed, we’ll no doubt add them to our list of the best MacBook models. And yet, they feel much more like the ho-hum 13-inch MacBook Pro than the exciting MacBook Air.
Beyond offering better chips and battery life, there isn’t much new going on here when you compare these two new models with the ones released in late 2021. There’s nothing terrible about this, and as a 2021 MacBook Pro owner, I’m somewhat thrilled by the news. And yet, it’s slightly surprising that Apple isn’t offering more storage, a better display, or another type of bump this time. A Midnight Blue MacBook Pro would have been exciting, right?
Mac mini (2023)
Like models before it, the latest Mac mini was a modest surprise. It’s not that a new model wasn’t necessary because it was, as the previous one was released in 2020. Instead, the surprise is that Apple released an update in the first place, as it always feels like the Mac mini is headed to the retirement bin soon. And yet, a new one is here, and that’s a positive move for anyone looking for a Mac desktop and who doesn’t want to pay for a Mac Studio, which I’ll discuss more below.
The Mac mini (2023) has a lot going for it, starting with its lower price and extending to its fresh chip options. For the first time, you can purchase a Mac mini with a Pro chip, in this case, the M2 Pro. It also comes with up to 200GB/s memory bandwidth, a full-featured media engine, increased unified memory, and significantly more storage options. It also supports more displays than previous models and offers more ports. Yes, this is the most impressive update announced by Apple this week.
One sad-face point: Like most previous models, the new Mac mini is only available in silver.
What about the Mac Studio?
The biggest surprise is that Apple decided not to update the Mac Studio. Released last year, the Mac Studio was the first to offer an M1 Ultra alongside the M1 Max. With the release of the M2 Pro and M2 Max, it would have made sense for Apple to improve the Mac Studio to include the M2 Max and still-unannounced M2 Ultra. Unfortunately, it didn’t, and there’s probably an important reason for this: the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC).
Undoubtedly, Apple’s annual event for developers is where the company plans to release its first silicon version of the Mac Pro. That event, probably starting on Monday, June 5, is also when an updated Mac Studio could be announced.
A good start
It wasn’t that long ago when most of us assumed Apple wouldn’t announce new Macs until the spring. With today’s updates, every current Mac, except for the Mac Pro and 24-inch iMac, were released in 2022 or 2023. That’s impressive and proves yet again Apple hasn’t forgotten about it macOS devices.
Looking forward, we’re probably going to see new versions of the Mac Pro, Mac Studio, and iMac before the end of the year. Beyond this, it could be mostly quiet on the Mac hardware front. Stay tuned.