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Here’s why waiting for the M2 Max MacBook Pro might not be worth it

A performance-driven MacBook Pro update is rumored to launch within the next couple of months. We’ll almost certainly get the MacBook Pro M2 Pro/Max  announced before the end of the year.

But if you’re in desperate need of a new MacBook Pro soon, you might be left with a tough decision ahead of you. Just buy the M1 Pro/Max MacBook Pro now or wait it out?

A top down view of the MacBook Pro.

A new release cycle

It’s been nearly a year since the launch of the M1 Pro/Max MacBook Pro, which was an incredible comeback for one of the most important Macs in Apple’s lineup. Before the transition to Apple Silicon, the 16-inch MacBook Pro was the only MacBook that included a discrete GPU. Unfortunately, these Intel-based machines had some serious performance issues, along with the disappointing Touch Bar and a frustratingly limited port selection.

The 2021 MacBook Pro changed all that. Not only did it rectify the issues with the port selection and keyboard, it also proved that Apple Silicon could compete with discrete GPUs while using a fraction of the power.

We’re not expecting a major change to the MacBook Pro later this year.

On top of that, it featured the best screen Apple ever put on a Mac, thanks to its killer HDR performance. There’s even a 14-inch model for those who want something a bit smaller and cheaper.

And that’s the MacBook Pro you can buy today, available in the 14-inch and 16-inch screen sizes with many different configuration options. The supply issues from earlier this year have been resolved, so you can buy it today and get it within nine days.

With all that goodness in mind, you might be wondering why in the world you would wait to buy it. Well, the M2 upgrade is coming shortly, which changes the calculus quite a bit.

The M2 MacBook Pro

We’re not expecting a major change to the MacBook Pro later this year. It’ll use the same chassis, have the same ports available, and likely the same screen and speakers, too. Apple could be holding a secret feature up its sleeve, but from what we can tell right now, it’ll be a fairly simple spec bump.

We’ll be going from the M1 Pro or M1 Max, up to the M2 Pro or M2 Max — and that’s pretty much it.

Under the surface, though, there’s still a lot of questions about what these new chips will be like. We don’t currently know much of anything about the M2 Pro/M2 Max, and the release of the M2 has raised some questions about it. We all expected the M2 originally to move from 5nm to 3nm, but with all the manufacturing delays in China, that chip ended up using the “advanced 5nm node,” known as N5P.

The 2021 MacBook Pro with the lid open on a white table.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

There’s still a chance Apple managed to get 3nm chips for its new MacBook Pros, but it feels more likely the N5P node will be used again. Ultimately, that means less of a performance bump than we would have gotten, as the M2 MacBook Air/Pro have shown.

There’s also the question of configurations. The M2 MacBook Pro and Air both suffered from a nerfed 256GB storage option that used a single NAND chip instead of two. The result was pretty poor SSD performance that made it slower than the M1 in some scenarios. The upcoming M2 Pro/Max MacBook Pro should sidestep this problem. Not only is it a significantly more expensive laptop, it also doesn’t offer a 256GB storage option. Either way, it’s something we’ll have our eye on when we eventually get the product in for testing.

Please note: I’m not talking about the M2 MacBook Pro 13-inch. Confusingly, this decidedly not “Pro” laptop came out a couple months ago, but has relatively similar performance to the M2 MacBook Air. If you’re looking for extra performance, you need either the 14-inch or 16-inch MacBook Pro.

To buy now or to wait?

The back lid of the MacBook Pro.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

There are a couple of reasons it’s worth the wait, if you can. First off, we still don’t know exactly how the M2 Pro and Max will play out. They could be a significant bump in performance, and that might be something actually worth waiting for.

But even if it isn’t as big of an improvement, that will still mean the current M1 Pro and Max will inevitably get a price cut at third-party retailers. These are expensive laptops, so even a couple hundred dollars off could be a relief for your wallet. Then again, you can already get the MacBook Pro at up to 20% off on Amazon right now, so we yet know how much cheaper they’ll get. $1,599 for the base configuration of the 14-inch MacBook Pro is a really solid price at the moment.

If you can hold out, you’ll likely only need to wait for another month or so. But with the deals currently available, we wouldn’t blame you for picking one up now if you don’t want to wait.

Editors' Recommendations

Luke Larsen
Senior Editor, Computing
Luke Larsen is the Senior editor of computing, managing all content covering laptops, monitors, PC hardware, Macs, and more.
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