14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro: Buy now or wait?
While the MacBook Air is hugely popular, some users need a little more. More performance, a bigger battery, more ports, a bigger screen…if you need more, you need a 14- or 16-inch MacBook Pro.
Before spending all that money on something you hope to keep and use for years, it’s worth asking if it’s a good time to buy. In the world of computing, there is always something better coming, but if it is a lot better and it will come soonyou might want to wait.
It’s been about a year since the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro were first released, and an update may be coming soon. Here is our buying advice for the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro.
14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro: Prices and specifications
Published: October 2021
The 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro received a massive Apple silicon upgrade at Apple’s “Unleashed” event. It starts with a new processor (M1 Pro or M1 Max), but it’s more than just speed. It has a new screen (Liquid Retina XDR), more ports (three Thunderbolt 4, HDMI, SDXC slot), a number of full-sized function keys and a new design. It replaces the Intel model released in 2019.
14-inch MacBook Pro (2021)
£1,899 (8-Core CPU, 14-Core GPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD); £2,399 (10-core CPU, 16-core GPU, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD)
Read our full 14-inch MacBook Pro (2021) review
16-inch MacBook Pro (2021)
£2,399 (M1 Pro 10-Core CPU, 16-Core GPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD); £2,599 (M1 Pro 10-Core CPU, 16-Core GPU, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD); £3,299 (M1 Max 10-Core CPU, 32-Core GPU, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD)
The 14-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,999. The 16-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,499. There are processor, RAM and storage options that can push it over $6,000.
14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro: Why you should buy
The MacBook Pro is a great machine that ticks almost every box on a professional user’s wish list. Fast, capable and powerful, it brings Apple’s pro laptop to the forefront. The display is reason enough to want one, bringing mini-LED and ProMotion to a Mac for the first time with extreme brightness (1,600-nit peak) and excellent color accuracy. Apple claims the M1 Pro chip is 70 percent faster than the M1, and the M1 Max has a GPU four times more powerful than the one in the M1. It also has more RAM, several times more memory bandwidth and a crazy fast SSD.
There are also many more ports. Apple added three Thunderbolt 4 ports to the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros, as well as HDMI and an SDXC card slot. There’s also an upgraded 1080p FaceTime camera, though you’ll have to deal with a screen notch like on the iPhone. But we think it’s an acceptable trade-off for so much power.
14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro: Why you should buy
A new MacBook Pro is a big investment, but if you need the power it provides right now, get one. Every new Mac is always the best Apple has ever made, but the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros are a giant leap both from the previous model and in the history of the MacBook Pro, and we think you’ll be very satisfied with your purchase.
We recommend that you get as much storage and memory as you can afford. The 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros start at 16GB of RAM and go up to 32GB with M1 Pro and 64GB with M1 Max chips. The upgrades aren’t cheap, but they’ll be worth the investment years from now when your machine is still running as smoothly as it was when you bought it.
If you decide to make the investment right now, don’t buy it directly from Apple. Third-party retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy are offering the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro at deep discounts, as much as $400 off the regular price. (The Apple Store doesn’t sell sale items or offer sale prices on current inventory.) The catch with shopping at one of these sales is that customization options are limited, so you’ll have to settle for, say, the RAM and SSD configuration that’s being offered . But if you’re fine with it, you’ll save a lot of money.
Why do third-party retailers offer such deep discounts? This leads us to…
Macworld recommends: WAIT
Several reports have stated that Apple could update the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro in the next few weeks. The sales at third-party retailers are likely due to Apple wanting to clear inventory to make room for the new version.
This upcoming update will be a processor upgrade for the M2 Pro and Max, the follow-up to the M1 Pro and Max. Performance will improve, but probably not as dramatically as the switch from Intel chips to the M1 series.
Since the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro’s design is only a year old, Apple won’t change it. It must have the same screen, ports, keyboard and trackpad. It’s all about the processor and GPU for this upgrade.
So if you absolutely want the latest technology and are willing to pay full price, hold off on buying a new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro.