Although it was largely assumed that Apple was going to announce its MacBook Pro 14- and 16-inch updates today (Tuesday 17 January 2023), I had largely shrugged it off as a minor update in the iteration. But oh so how wrong I was. If there's a contender for the best MacBook then, well, here they are.
At 14:30 UK time today, when I'd decided to go for a late lunchtime exercise session (because Apple obviously wouldn't drop its press release before 08:00 in Cupertino, right?), I got a Slack message from my boss because, as it turns out, my timekeeping was a million miles off and Apple just dropped an M2 Pro and M2 Max bombshell for its updated MacBook Pro 2023 models.
But there's one aspect of it all that completely blows my mind. The top-end M2 Max and M2 Pro can come specified with 96GB of unified memory. That's ninety-six-gigabytes. That's a huge resource from which the CPU and GPU can share memory resources in an off-the-shelf consumer laptop. That's insane (in a good way).
There's another mind-blowing aspect that inevitably comes with that feature: asking price. If you want the new MacBook Pro 16-inch with an Apple M2 Max (12-core CPU, 38-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine configuration), plus the 96GB unified memory, plus 8TB of SSD storage it'll set you back a cool £6,749 in the UK (or $6,499 in the US).
But, hey, what did you expect? This is cutting-edge stuff after all and, let's face it, not everyone is going to want or need that kind of power. I suspect you'd be able to 8K video edit on a setup like that without really even noticing, even if you're running multiple channels, edits and effects all at once.
As I said further up, the M2 Max and M2 Pro are configurable, so Apple offers them in a series of step-up options. The entry point is 10-core CPU with 16-core GPU for the 14-inch model. That steps up to 12-core CPU with either 19-, 30-, or all-in 38-core GPU. Having so many options looks busy on page, but it means you can better match to your needs the kind of power you'll want for the kind of work you'll be doing.
It's not only exciting news for prospective creators in need of oodles of processing power either. Apple's Mac platform hasn't ever really been the first port of call when it comes to gaming, but with the introduction of Metal 3 in 2022 (basically an app that powers hardware-accelerated graphics on Apple-silicon platforms) the potential for AAA-level quality from your next MacBook has gone up a gear.
So whether you're creator, videographer, gamer, or all-round creative, Apple has blown my mind by plonking nearly 100GB of unified memory into its 2023 MacBook Pro 14- and 16-inch models. You'll need the cash to get such goods, but for some this is going to be a total game-changer. I daren't think about what M2 Ultra could bring in the future...
The MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch models with M2 Pro and M2 Max are available to pre-order now, starting from £2,149/$1,999 for the smallest model at entry configuration, and will be available from 24 January 2023.