Apple’s all-new MacBook Air design got most of the attention at WWDC last week, but you won’t be able to buy one until next month. In the meantime, Apple’s other, less-interesting M2-equipped laptop, the 13-inch MacBook Pro, will be available for pre-order starting on Friday, June 17, the company announced today. The laptop will begin arriving (and will show up in Apple’s stores) on June 24.
The laptop’s main improvement is the M2 chip, which, according to Apple, features 18 percent faster CPU performance and up to 35 percent faster GPU performance than the M1 (in the version with the 10-core GPU). The M2 also features improved video encoding and decoding capabilities, with a ProRes video engine and decoding support for multiple 4K and 8K video streams.
The M2 also supports up to 24GB of memory, up from a maximum of 16GB for the M1. But like the M1, the M2 chip only supports a maximum of two displays—the laptop’s internal screen and one external monitor at up to 6K. If you need to attach multiple monitors to your Mac, you’ll need the M1 Pro and Max chips in the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros.
Other than the M2, the new MacBook Pro is identical to the old one. It has a 13.3-inch Retina display with no notch, a pair of Thunderbolt ports, and a scissor-switch keyboard with a Touch ID fingerprint reader and a Touch Bar. It remains Apple’s last Touch Bar-equipped MacBook, since the feature was never included with the MacBook Air and was removed from the larger MacBook Pros last year.
While the MacBook Air has the new Pro beat in screen size, port selection, and weight, it doesn’t mean there’s no reason to buy the 13-inch Pro instead. The MacBook Air has a fanless design, while the 13-inch Pro includes a cooling fan for the M2 chip. Apple’s silicon typically performs well without a fan, but for extended heavy-duty workloads like rendering or video encoding, the Air’s M1 does slow down over time to avoid overheating, while the Pro’s M1 could keep running at top speed. The difference might be even more pronounced for the larger, faster M2.
The new MacBook Pro starts at $1,299 for a version with a 10-core GPU, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage.
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