Apple revealed today the new 14-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Pro or M1 Max processors, a redesigned keyboard with physical shortcut keys, more ports, MagSafe, a notch, and more.
MacBook Pro (14-inch) price and configurations
The 14-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,999 for a model with an M1 Pro chip (8-core CPU, 14-core GPU), 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. From there, you can upgrade the M1 Pro chip to have a 10-core CPU for another $200. From there, another $100 upgrade you from 14 to 16 GPU cores.
For $2,899, you can get the 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Max chip, which has 10-CPU cores and 24-GPU cores. Raising the price to $3,099 gets you the full 32-GPU core model.
Upgrading from 16GB of memory to 32GB costs another $400 as does going from 32GB to 64GB (supported only by M1 Max configs).
As for storage, the base MacBook Pro comes with a 512GB SSD. Upgrading to 1TB costs an extra $200 or you can spend $600 to jump up to a 2TB SSD. If you save massive files locally, there is an 8TB version that costs $2,400 more than the base 512GB SSD.
All told, the most expensive 14-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 Max chip (10-core CPU, 32-core GPU), 64GB of storage, an 8TB SSD costs $5,899.
MacBook Pro (14-inch) performance: M1 Pro or M1 Max
The 14-inch MacBook Pro runs on your choice of either Apple’s M1 Pro or M1 Max processor. The former has up to 10 CPU cores split into eight high-performance cores and two high-efficiency cores. For graphics, the chip has up to 16 GPU cores or eight more than the M1 for 2x graphics performance.
Apple says the new M1 Pro delivers 70% faster performance than the M1 and up to 2x faster GPU speeds. RAM goes up to 32GB of memory at 200GB/s, an upgrade over the 16GB of RAM supported in the M1.
If you choose the more powerful M1 Max chip, you’ll get the same 10-core CPU but double the graphics with 32 GPU cores. This enabled 4x graphics performance over the M1 chip in the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro. It also boosts memory to 64GB at 400GB/s and features an enhanced media engine with two ProRes accelerators for higher multi-stream performance.
Apple is also promising blazing-fast storage, with an SSD capable of hitting a blistering 7.4GB/s read speeds.
MacBook Pro (14-inch) design: Notch, speakers and ports
So far, the discussion around the new MacBook Pro design is focused very much on the notch centered at the top of the display. Yes, this laptop has a notch. And it’s not like the one in on the Lenovo Yoga C940 — this notch cuts into the display similar to the iPhone 13. Here is where you’ll find the 1080p front-facing camera, but unfortunately, Apple didn’t add Face ID for facial recognition unlock.
If you can look past the notch, you’ll find some nice design improvements. These include thinner display bezels and a new aluminum enclosure that Apple claims can move 50% more air than the previous generation. The 14-inch MacBook Pro is 0.6 inches thick and weighs only 3.5 pounds. Flanking the keyboard is a six-driver speaker system.
We also get more ports! On the right side of the 14-inch MacBook Pro are an HDMI port, a Thunderbolt 4 input and an SD card slot. On the other side are a headphone jack and two more Thunderbolt ports. Also, MagSafe returns for charging.
MacBook Pro (14-inch): display
As for the display, this model comes with a 14.2-inch “Liquid Retina Pro XDR” mini-LED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate and 5.9 million pixels. The panel can supposedly deliver up to 1,000 nits of brightness with a peak of 1,600 nits. If accurate, this would make it the brightest panel we’ve ever tested (without a privacy filter).
Using clusters of local dimming zones that can illuminate during bright scenes or turn off completely during dark ones, the panel also achieves a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. We haven’t seen the screen in person, but the iPad Pro 12.9-inch’s mini-LED was vivid and exhibited deep black levels, especially when watching HDR content.
With ProMotion, the aforementioned 120Hz refresh rate can dynamically match the motion of the onscreen content to provide smooth motion while conserving battery life.
Creative pros who need the peak in performance should keep an eye on the 14-inch MacBook Pro as it arrives on the doorsteps of tech reviewers and early adopters. If what Apple claims is true (and it usually is), the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips are the most powerful processors of their kind. And it’s not even close.
Beyond performance, the 14-inch MacBook Pro dazzles with a mini-LED display, and the return of HDMI and SD card ports along with the death of the Touch Bar proves the company is finally listening to customers. This is, in many ways, the MacBook Pro Apple fans have been waiting on. Well…if you can ignore the notch.