By Mark Gurman | Bloomberg
Apple rolled out its first new products of 2023 on Tuesday, offering faster versions of its high-end MacBook Pro laptops and the Mac mini desktop.
The new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros look the same as the prior models — which launched at the end of 2021 — but add more powerful M2 Pro and M2 Max chips to replace the M1 Pro and M1 Max processors. The new notebooks mark Apple’s first expansion of the M2 chip, which debuted in the MacBook Air and a low-end MacBook Pro last year.
The new Macs bolster a product line that brought in $40.2 billion last year, accounting for more than 10% of the tech giant’s revenue. The company also plans to bring a variation of the M2 chip to its high-end Mac Pro desktop computer later this year. And Apple is working on new versions of the MacBook Air, including a larger model with a 15-inch screen.
The chips in the latest models offer modest performance gains and continue Apple’s shift away from using Intel Corp. processors inside of its Mac computers. The M2 Pro will now sport as many as 12 main processing cores — an indicator of performance — up from a maximum of 10 cores. The graphics capabilities will now reach up to 19 cores, up from a prior high of 16. The M2 Max doubles performance for graphics, climbing to as many as 38 cores from a prior maximum of 32 cores.
The laptops also get a memory boost, to a maximum of 96 gigabytes on models with the highest-end M2 Max chip. That’s up from a prior limit of 32 gigabytes on both. Storage continues to top out at 8 terabytes. Battery life has been slightly increased, going to 18 hours from 17 hours on the 14-inch model and up to 22 hours from 21 hours on the 16-inch variation.
Apple also said that the new MacBook Pros gain WiFi 6E, which can offer faster wireless performance in some circumstances, in addition to a more powerful HDMI port for driving more advanced external displays.
Apple shares were little changed at $135.03 at 9:35 a.m. Tuesday in New York.
The Mac minis also look the same as the prior model and arrive more than two years after the last update to the machine. The Mac mini adds the same M2 chip as the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro, while the M2 Pro version includes the same chip as in the new high-end MacBook Pro.
Notably, the rollout of a Mac mini with a faster M2 Pro chip has allowed the company to discontinue one of its last remaining models with Intel chips. The company on Tuesday also stopped selling a high-end Mac mini with a non-Apple processor. The only Intel machine in Apple’s lineup is now the Mac Pro desktop.
The updated 14-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,999, while the 16-inch version continues to be priced at $2,499. The Mac mini costs $599, $100 less than the prior version. All of the new Macs begin shipping on Jan. 24, Apple said.
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Bloomberg first reported on Apple’s plans for the new MacBook Pros and Mac minis last year, including the expectation that they would launch in early 2023. Apple had originally aimed to roll out the new machines in 2022, and the delay is expected to weigh on its most recent quarterly results. The company warned investors that the lack of a MacBook Pro update would negatively affect its holiday sales, which Apple will disclose on Feb. 2.
Besides the new Macs, the Cupertino, California-based company is planning to use 2023 to introduce a mixed-reality headset, its first major new product category since the Apple Watch went on sale in 2015. It’s also working on the iPhone 15 line, a new HomePod speaker and Apple Watches with updated processors.
In the longer run, Apple is aiming to bring touch screens to the MacBook Pro beginning in 2025. The move would give Apple’s high-end computers better parity with devices from Microsoft Corp., Dell Technologies Inc. and other laptop makers. It also will help Apple offer a more unified software experience across its products.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.