With the launch of its new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, Apple has brought more power to its business-grade laptops. For audiences wanting more performance, this was a welcome addition. Still, these latest macOS machines aren’t all they seem. Apple has made some massive decisions about MacBook performance, and not all of them favor the consumer.
Apple’s narrative that these are “all-new MacBook Pro laptops” is a tough sell. The heart of the system – the Apple Silicon chipset – has certainly been pushed back, and it’s worth noting that Apple has dropped the M1 Pro and M1 Max-equipped MacBook Pro laptops from its lineup. In terms of other functional changes, there’s very little here except for a few nominal changes to keep the spec sheet in line with the competition on Windows.
Every review picked up on that. If you’re already in the Apple Silicon world, these laptops aren’t for you – they’re for those leaving the Intel worlds of macOS and Windows. Just as it did with its minor biannual iPhone updates, Apple created the MacBook Pro “S” series… but markets it as a full version.
There’s also the inconvenient reality of Apple’s decision on entry-level MacBook Pro models, which resulted in much slower read/write speeds. While more expensive machines benefit from faster SSD read/write times, the multiple SSD chip configuration on entry-level machines halves the speed of these machines compared to their more expensive brethren. This also leads to the curious part of this specification… it’s slower than the M1 Pro laptop it replaces.
Remember, these entry-level laptops are priced at $1,999. Do you expect a laptop that is effectively a personal workstation to have systems running at half the speed of the next machine? In the biggest and best MacBook, delivering the best possible experience in a way that only Apple can?
By the way, entry-level MacBook Air laptops have the same limp as the SSD. This approach is something Tim Cook’s Apple is clearly comfortable with.
Sticking with pricing, how much do you expect to pay for the extra 16GB of RAM? Apple’s upgrade to the MacBook Pro costs $300. Still 512 GB of storage? $200. Apple will even cost you $20 more if you want the faster 96W charger to access the fast charging feature.
A processor spec upgrade that adds enough performance to be different but not earth-shattering; a decision to water down the entry-level performance of a $2,000 laptop; and a nickel-and-dime approach to upgrading pricing that seems out of place with Apple’s vaunted customer messaging.
The latest MacBook Pro laptops are capable machines and are arguably closer to corporate workstations than any other Apple laptop. They are not suitable for everyone. Still, Apple’s pricing and spec decisions seem to be doing a disservice to those looking to seriously invest thousands of dollars in a new laptop.
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