Apple today unveiled three new Mac computers, the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros and the 24-inch iMac, all of which are powered by the company’s latest silicon advancement: the M3 chip. If you followed along with the “Scary Fast” keynote — which, fittingly, took just a fraction of the time these events typically require — then you may share the same takeaways as me.
- Apple has a way with colors.
- The M3 chipset is a beast for performance and efficiency.
- There’s now a cheaper 14-inch MacBook Pro that starts at just $1,599.
That last point is probably the most interesting of the three, with Apple officially shuttering its 13-inch MacBook Pro model in favor of a new 14-inch MacBook Pro base configuration, which fields a relatively accessible price tag, a mere 8GB of RAM, 8-core CPU, and 10-core GPU. There are also just two Thunderbolt USB-C ports versus the three on the M3 Pro and M3 Max variants. See what Apple did there?
For “Pro” users who spend hours a day graphics designing, developing games, video editing, or handling AI/ML workflows, the base model of the new M3 MacBook Pro — as good as that price point looks — clearly won’t cut it. Instead, look to the M3 Pro and M3 Max-powered configurations, which are not only more capable of handling the creative use cases that Apple spent most of its 30-minute keynote demonstrating but also come in the new Space Black color.
So, why should a professional consider the cheapest M3 MacBook Pro? One exception, as pointed out by ZDNET’s Jason Hiner, is when enterprises are buying computers for mass deployment and managing systems at scale. The price-saving checks out.
More broadly speaking, Apple suggests that the base M3 MacBook Pro has a battery rating of 22 hours — that’s compared to the 19 hours of the M3 Pro and M3 Max models. For users who frequently travel and value endurance, this should be the biggest draw (aside from the price) with the $1,599 MacBook Pro.
That said, it’s not all downhill for the base model MacBook Pro, because the core hardware of its more expensive variants remains present, including the wonderfully color-accurate Retina XDR display with ProMotion, the built-in HDMI port and SDXC card slot, and the booming speakers that leave little to be desired.
Users who were already considering the now-discontinued 13-inch MacBook Pro will find plenty of value in the latest M3 MacBook. As for professionals who seek more power, it’s certainly worth putting system needs and future-proofing above all else, including the price.