Apple opens pre-orders for its new laptop on June 17… but you might not expect it

Without fanfare, but just a publication on its site, Apple announced the opening of pre-orders for its “new” MacBook Pro this Friday. The MacBook Air is still expected for next month, and, apart from the M2, it is he who brings the most novelties.

On June 6, Apple organized a landing worthy of the name, with an impressive (and usual) wave of new versions of its operating systems, but also with two new products announced.

A new MacBook Air, redesigned around the second generation of Apple Silicon chip, and a 13-inch MacBook Pro, which also features the M2, but without benefiting from a redesign of its appearance. Apple then explained that the MacBook Air was its best-selling laptop, woe to the losers, the 13-inch MacBook Pro, in good second, was not entitled to the same attention. Too bad for him, and for us.

Two MacBook Pros, one price up

Anyway, it is indeed its smallest Pro model which Apple has just announced the upcoming availability. It will be possible to pre-order it from next June 17, that is Friday, and people who can hope to receive it a week later, from June 24.

As a reminder, the 13-inch MacBook Pro comes in two models base, it is not possible as always to modify the configuration. As for the previous generation, they are distinguished from each other by the storage capacity offered by default. The first, sold from 1,599 euros (i.e. 150 euros more than the equivalent model in M1), offers 256 GB of storage. While the second is more generous with 512 GB of SSD, but it will take 1,829 euros – again, this is an increase of 150 euros in the prices charged.

The M1 and the M2: a (small) difference in size

The M2, and a few tricks up its sleeves

Obviously, the fact that the MacBook Pro is not entitled to a new design implies that it retains the same tricks and assets as the previous generation, unlike the M2.

The first stone of the second generation of Apple Silicon chips for Mac brings its share of evolutions. Manufactured using the second iteration of TSMC’s 5nm etching process, the SoC features 20 billion transistors, a 25% increase over the M1. The larger chip still sticks to the same core distribution for the GPU part, with four high-performance cores (codenamed Avalanche) and four low-power cores (codenamed Blizzard). However, each core individually performs better – even those that aim for energy efficiency. Apple thus announces up to 18% more power for the same energy consumption.

The GPU part is also more muscular, it now offers ten cores, against eight for the M1, with a number of TFlops revised upwards, 3.6 against 2.6 previously. This allows Apple to promote a 25% increase in performance at equal power consumption, and even a 35% increase in the power deployed with slightly increased energy consumption.

Finally, the last structural link of this M2, the neural network (Neural Engine) shows a performance gain of 44% compared to its elder. This is not at all anecdotal. This part of the Apple Silicon chip is used for everything related to voice, text, image recognition, for applying smart filters, etc. So many new software products that Apple is increasingly highlighting and encouraging developers working in its ecosystem to develop.

Finally, let’s not forget to mention another appreciable progress by users who need the most resources possible, the M2 is compatible with a maximum of 24 GB of RAM (DDR5), with a bandwidth of 100 GB /s, where the M1 capped at 16 GB. It will therefore be more flexibility and responsiveness on a daily basis.

But, and the MacBook Air…

Sold from 100 euros more than the new MacBook Air, the MacBook Pro seems at first sight not to have tons of arguments for him. Its screen is now very slightly smaller, it is a little heavier and bulkier, its webcam remains frozen in 720p – at the time for the lessons to be learned from the pandemic, the audio system is less efficient, and finally it does not stand out not by the amount of RAM it can offer from 8 to 24 GB or by the amount of minimum and maximum storage, from 256 GB to 2 TB.
In short, why choose the MacBook Pro? Briefly, first of all, because it should ensure better autonomy – two hours more according to the figures provided by Apple. On the previous generation, the 13-inch MacBook Pro set the bar high against the MacBook Air.
Then, because the fact that it embeds an active cooling system should allow it to push the M2 chip to its limits for longer while maintaining a high level of performance…

Of course, all this deserves to be verified during tests. And it will be necessary to see if the gains are worth doing without the pleasure of having the impression of working with a redesigned machine.

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