M2 MacBook Pro (2023) 14 and 16-inch: Everything you need to know

Apple MacBook Pro 2023 with a neon glow
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has unleashed MacBook Pro models for 2023, and as predicted, they feature the new M2 Pro and M2 Max chips. There are some extra features this time round, although you'd be forgiven for thinking that they are the same laptop otherwise.

They are going to replace the now-year-old MacBook Pro 2021, becoming the new most powerful laptops in Apple's stable. With the new chips under the hood, they're bringing significant power boosts to the line, although they not shaking up the design on the outside this time. They are still available in 14 and 16-inch screen sizes too, mostly because they share the same chassis as the previous model.

Here's everything you need to know about Apple's MacBook Pro (2023) models.

 

M2 MacBook Pro (2023): Release date

The new MacBooks are already available to preorder from a bunch of different retailers. Initial orders from Apple itself seem to be shipping out one January 23 so you receive the machine on the official release date of January 24.

Given how other launches have gone recently, it's likely these dates will start to slip as stock dries up. You'll also have to wait slightly longer if you spec your new MacBook up with the more powerful internals.

M2 MacBook Pro (2023): Design

MacBook Pro 2023

(Image credit: Apple)

In terms of design, nothing seems to have changed. Just as Gurman predicted, the latest MacBook Pros aren't "radically new products beyond offering speedier chips". These are very much the same chassis as we've had before on the MacBook Pro 2021.

You'll still get to choose between a 14 and 16-inch screen, which retain the ever-controversial notch housing the camera module. The smooth yet angular aluminum shell is exactly the same, along with the abundance of ports along the sides. The MagSafe charging socket remains, as do the HDMI port and three USB-C ports. The SDXC slot is also still there, so camera people rejoice. 

It even still has 'MacBook Pro' etched into the bottom, should that be something that matters to you.

M2 MacBook Pro (2023): Processors

Apple M2 processor

(Image credit: Apple)

The biggest update to the new MacBooks is the new chips that Apple has put inside them, one of the few new things to look at.

The M2 Pro and M2 Max chips serve much the same purpose as the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips from the previous generation MacBook Pro models. In essence, they are beefed-up versions of the mainline Apple silicon - in this case, the M2 chip.

They boast impressive numbers too. The M2 Pro comes in a 10 or 12-core variant, with up to eight high-performance cores, and four high-efficiency cores. Apple says that gives the M2 Pro 20% more performance than the M1 Pro. Memory bandwidth is doubled over the standard M2, with support for up to 32GB of unified memory.  The GPU on board houses up to 19 cores, providing 30% more performance (than what Apple doesn't say). The neural engine is also 40% faster, although once again, Apple neglects to say than what.

The M2 Max is the more powerful of the two new chips, designed for the heaviest of workloads. There's a 'much larger GPU' featuring up to 38 cores, delivering 30 percent greater graphics performance over the M1 Max. There's 400GB/s of memory bandwidth, double that of the M2 Pro. That means there's support for up to 96GB of unified memory. The CPU can have up to 12 cores, with 20 percent greater performance than the M2 Pro, with twice the ProRes acceleration.

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M2 vs. M2 Pro vs. M2 Max
ComponentM2M2 Pro M2 Max
Transistors20 billion40 billion67 billion
CPU cores8-coreup to 12-core12-core
GPU coresup to 10-coreup to 19-coreup to 38-core
Unified memory supportup to 24GBup to 32GBup to 96GB
Memory bandwidth100GB/s200GB/s400GB/s

M2 MacBook Pro (2023): Battery life

MacBook Pro 14-16 inch

(Image credit: Apple)

Thanks to efficiency gains from the new M2 Pro and Max chips, the MacBook Pro's battery life is up to 22 hours in the larger 16-inch model, compared to 21 hours in the older 16-inch version. That is apparently the longest battery life ever in a Mac. Considering the rumors speculated that there would be no battery life boost, this is a nice surprise.

M2 MacBook Pro (2023): Display

MacBook Pro (2021)

(Image credit: Bryan M. Wolfe / iMore)

The screens of the two machines have remained completely unchanged, although there is greater support for different screens connected to the laptop's HDMI port.

The 14-inch model has a 14.2-inch mini-LED backlit display with a screen resolution of 3024 by 1964 pixels. In addition, it offers an XDR brightness of 1000 nits, 1600 nits for HDR content, and an SDR brightness of 500 nits max. By contrast, the larger MacBook Pro offers a 16.2-inch mini-LED backlit display with a screen resolution of 3456 by 2234 pixels and similar brightness levels.

There is support from the HDMI port for 8K displays up to 60Hz, and 4K displays up to 240Hz.

M2 MacBook Pro (2023): Storage, memory and connectivity

You can get a MacBook Pro with up to 8TB of SSD storage, which is much the same as the previous model. Unified memory, however, is a slightly different story.

You can get the MacBook Pro with M2 Pro with up to 32GB of Unified memory. The chips have higher memory bandwidth too, so that memory is going to be even quicker. The base model remains with 16GB.

If you opt for an M2 Max, you'll get up to 96GB of memory - that's 32GB more than the previous model. What does this mean? You can have more programs open at one time, and those programs are going to run quicker. It's also going to help graphics performance as there's more juice to go around. 

M2 MacBook Pro (2023): Price

Prices have remained much the same as the last model. The base model 14-inch MacBook Pro is still $1999, while the base 16-inch MacBook Pro is $2499. You can spec up a machine to make it up to $6499, if you so desire.

Extra RAM and storage cost much the same as the old model too, so there don't appear to be any extra costs from what we can tell. Extra RAM is going to cost $200 per increment on the M2 Pro up to 32GB, and then $400 per 32GB increment on the M2 Max. Storage is going to be an extra $400 for the 2TB SSD, and an extra $600 on top of that for the 4TB option. If you're after the maximum 8TB SSD, then you'll pay $2200 over the 1TB base option.

Just how different is the new MacBook Pro?

There is more here than we might have been expecting, but it's still not an earth shattering number of changes. The chassis is exactly the same, including the screen and screen options. Even the notch. If you've got the first model you could tell pretty much anyone it's the new one and unless they look at the 'about this Mac' panel they'll believe you.

The big changes come in the internals, like those M2 Pro and M2 Max chips. They are a lot more powerful than the previous, but they don't look like quite enough for many users to want to upgrade if they have the 2021 MacBook Pro. The Memory support is super impressive, with an extra 32GB over the previous model. The support for 8K screens is certainly a nice extra too, along with the 240Hz support for 4K displays.

This isn't a meaty upgrade, but it's one that's great if you're looking for a brand-new machine to replace an older MacBook.

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.