Forget the new MacBook Pro, Apple has something better

Just a few weeks after the launch of Apple’s M2-powered MacBook Proretailers offer discounts up to $200 on the new macOS laptop. Does that mean the entry-level MacBook Pro worth considering, even with its flaws?

As with almost every computer on the market, the M2 MacBook Pro will be able to provide the basics; a solid web browser to work with almost any online service you can think of, tools to read, create and edit office documents, social media clients like Slack and Discord, and more.

Recently announced, limited-time deals at US retailer Best Buy bring the entry-level 256GB MacBook Pro M2 to $1,099 and the 512GB model to $1,299. With approximately the equivalent Macbook Air M2 models priced at $1199 and $1499, has Best Buy indicated where the 13-inch MacBook Pro fits in the portfolio?

That’s what I feel. The MacBook Pro M2 remains a throwback to 2016 Intel designs; you’ve got a display with expansive bezels, a lack of I/O ports, the technically impressive but nearly dead-on-arrival Touch Bar, and more. It feels like Apple’s product team did little more than move from Intel to Apple Silicon and said “it’ll be fine” before focusing on the rest of the MacBook portfolio.

Yet Apple has kept this consumer-focused MacBook Pro for at least two years, sitting awkwardly between the consumers’ MacBook Air and the professionals’ MacBook Pro.

It should offer more performance than the MacBook Air thanks to the active cooling of the M2 chipset, but it still falls short of the M1 Pro and M1 Max in the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models from 2021. It should offer better performance. price-performance than the larger MacBook Pro models, but it’s the MacBook Air that carries the new design cues and modern touches, not the smaller MacBook Pro.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro does have some space in terms of marketing, though. It’s clearly not a “business” MacBook Pro like the 14-inch and 16-inch models are, but it does put a MacBook Pro-branded laptop within reach for consumers. While the MacBook Air running Apple Silicon ticks all the boxes, there will always be a group that will want the “Pro” brand as part of the experience… Even if other options are superior, they’ll pay for the name .

Would the 13-inch MacBook Pro be right for you on a daily basis? Almost certainly. Would any of Apple’s other MacBook laptops offer a better experience in terms of performance, portability and potential? Yes. The M2 MacBook Pro may be discounted, but that doesn’t change the fact that Apple offers far more value to the macOS user base with all other laptops.

Now read the latest MacBook, iPhone and iPad headlines in Forbes’ weekly Apple Loop news digest…

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Steven L. Nielsen