Forget the new Macbook Pro 13-inch: M2 Pro and M2 Max chips are coming soon

Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (2022) front-on view
(Image credit: Apple)

If you've so far been unimpressed by the base M2 chip that features within the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13-inch then there's some good news - it's likely that the updated MacBook Pro features a choice of M2 Pro and M2 Max chips will be released between Q3 2022 and Q1 2023.

This rumor comes from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, a well-respected Apple analyst who made the prediction within his Power On newsletter. According to Gurman, Apple has set itself the goal to launch the expanded range of M2 chips as early as Q3 2022, and Gurman's sources also claim that a refreshed version of both the 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-Inch Macbook Pro set to contain them are already in development.

As reported by 9to5Mac, the design is expected to remain largely the same as these two laptops are still sporting a relatively fresh look, so most (if not all) of the update will be in regards to what's under the hood. There are no official details at this stage, though Gurman shared that the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips will focus on the graphics side of things, as Apple did with the previous M1 Pro and M1 Max.

This is great news for creative professionals such as video editors who need the high-end Apple silicon for tasks like 4K video encoding and decoding, or even those who work with demanding 3D applications like Maya.

As with all speculative information, take this all with a pinch of salt. Gurman even gives himself an out within the newsletter, stating “given the continued supply-chain challenges, it’s hard to predict exactly when these will hit store shelves.” 

Apple has been facing a slew of issues within its supply chains thanks to things like the ongoing global chip shortage and Covid-19-related lockdowns closing their assembly lines which have caused various delays to shipping and production. With any luck, the situation will have improved by the time preorders go live for these larger, more powerful MacBooks.

Analysis: Should you wait for a new MacBook Pro?

Apple’s MacBook Pro with M2 chip is essentially the same laptop as its predecessor, the MacBook Pro 13-inch M1, as shown by a teardown of the device, with the only real difference being upgrading the M1 SoC ('system-on-a-chip') to an M2, and giving the option to select more system RAM (24GB if needed). 

In fact, the storage on the entry-level model of the M2 MacBook Pro is actually slower than the M1 MacBook Pro, due to a different configuration for the SSD (though this is only true for that base model). If you're in need of some serious power, you'd be better off buying up one of the M1 Max or M1 Ultra models of MacBook Pro, otherwise, you'll have to wait for the M2 models to see a real boost to performance.

The very existence of these 13-inch Macbooks is a smidge perplexing given the minimal boost they offer over the more affordable MacBook Air (as they both contain the same base model M2 SoC), but Apple has previously confirmed that the M1 MacBook Pro 13-inch is the second most popular product within the Mac family. This is likely because while it's pricer than the Air, it's significantly more affordable than the 14-inch and 16-inch Macbook Pro models which makes it the only 'budget' option for those looking to buy an Apple portable workstation laptop.

We would suggest waiting until the new chips make an appearance, even if you currently have your heart set on either the M2 13-inch MacBook Pro or any of the Pro models featuring the M1 Pro, Max, or Ultra chips, even if only to ensure that you're getting fair market value for the performance of your device.

It's also worth remembering that Gurman has also predicted a 15-inch Macbook and a 12-inch Macbook could hit the market sometime in the coming months which will hopefully fill the performance gap between the 13-inch model and its larger, more powerful siblings. Still, we collate the best deals on Macbooks that are currently available for those who are especially impatient.

Jess Weatherbed

Jess is a former TechRadar Computing writer, where she covered all aspects of Mac and PC hardware, including PC gaming and peripherals. She has been interviewed as an industry expert for the BBC, and while her educational background was in prosthetics and model-making, her true love is in tech and she has built numerous desktop computers over the last 10 years for gaming and content creation. Jess is now a journalist at The Verge.