Apple Unleashes 14 and 16" MacBook Pro with M1 Pro and M1 Max Silicon

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During its special keynote event, Apple “Unleashed” the updated MacBook Pro lineup, featuring 14 and 16" models with your choice of Apple’s new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. Like the original M1 silicon, these new chips promise to deliver dramatically improved performance and power efficiency. The MacBook Pros were announced alongside the next generation of Airpods, as well as some updated color options for the HomePod Mini. Here’s a full look at the biggest announcements.

MacBook Pro

MacBook Pro
MacBook Pro

The obvious headliner of Apple's live event was the announcement of the newly overhauled MacBook Pro, featuring Apple’s all-new “pro chips,” which were designed specifically for the Mac: the M1 Pro and M1 Max.

Exactly how powerful are these new chips? According to Apple, by scaling up the original M1’s architecture, the M1 Pro delivers dramatically increased performance speed, battery life, and power efficiency. And the M1 Max takes those improved capabilities even further. How much further? Here’s a small sample.

Compared to a high-end configuration of last year’s 13" MacBook Pro with M1 Chip, a new 14" MacBook Pro can:

  • Render 4K video up to 9.2x faster in Final Cut Pro with M1 Pro and up to 13.4x faster with M1 Max

  • Render effects up to 3.6x faster in Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve Studio with M1 Pro, and up to 5x faster with M1 Max

  • Track objects up to 8.7x faster in Final Cut Pro with M1 Pro and up to 11.5x faster with M1 Max

How did Apple manage to make these new chips so much more powerful? According to Apple, M1 Pro and M1 Max introduced a system-on-a-chip (SoC) architecture that features fast unified memory and better performance per watt, along with increased 200 GB/s of memory bandwidth with support for up to 32GB of unified memory for the M1 Pro and up to 400 GB/s of memory bandwidth and support for up to 64GB of unified memory. That’s a very wordy explanation, but the result is an absolute performance monster that somehow manages to outpace last year’s ultra-powerful M1 chip-based MacBooks in nearly every category.

Both chips also add a ProRes accelerator in the media engine, which Apple claims will deliver uncompromisingly fast performance and video processing. As a result, professional video editors can edit up to 30 streams of 4K ProRes video, or up to seven streams of 8K ProRes video, in Final Cut Pro. And that’s not all. For the first time ever, video editors can now use their Mac to color-grade video in HDR on 8K ProRes 4444.

Too many numbers? Here are some more practical stats.

Using the same comparison models as before, the new 14" MacBook Pro will deliver:

  • Up to 2.9x faster combined vector and raster GPU performance in Affinity Photo with M1 Pro, and up to 4.5x faster with M1 Max

  • Up to 4.4x faster scene edit detection in 1080p ProRes 422 video in Adobe Premiere Pro

  • Up to 1.5x faster performance with M1 Pro and up to 2x faster with M1 Max when selecting subjects in images in Adobe Photoshop

The examples of how well the new MacBook Pro outperforms last year’s model (which, just a reminder, was, until now, the most powerful laptop Apple had ever built) are essentially endless. The takeaway is the new MacBook Pro featuring the M1 Pro or M1 Max chip can crush any resource-hungry task, such as high-res photo and video editing, enabling even pro users to fly through the most demanding workflows.

 Magsafe Charger
Magsafe Charger

In terms of physical design, the updated MacBook Pro features an all-new aluminum enclosure and thermal design. The redesign adds an upgraded I/O as well, including a built-in HDMI and SDXC card slot. Even the Magsafe charger makes a comeback. According to Apple, the internal fans rarely need to turn on, making this one of the most quiet MacBooks to date. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 are both onboard. Battery life gets a notable boost, as well. According to Apple, the 14" model delivers up to 17 hours of video playback, while the 16" model delivers up to a remarkable 21 hours of video playback.

Last but not least, the new MacBook also features a redesigned Liquid Retina XDR display. The new screen utilizes the same mini-LED technology that made the most recent iPad Pro’s display so vibrant and undeniably gorgeous. Speaking of vibrant: The MacBook Pro’s new display can deliver up to 1,600 nits of peak brightness, and 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. And, at long last, ProMotion technology comes to the Macbook Pro, bringing with it an adaptive refresh rate up to 120Hz, optimizing video footage and ensuring ultra-fluid and responsive performance all-around.

AirPods

AirPods
AirPods

Apple also unveiled the third generation of its best-selling AirPods series. Sporting a fresh redesign, Spatial Audio, and even longer battery life, the new AirPods seem poised to continue their reign as the “world’s most popular wireless headphones.”

Similar to previous generations, the third-gen AirPods are lightweight and focused on comfort, secure fit, and optimal position for delivering audio into the ear. The redesign also features a slightly shorter stem that is meant to make the already-slight AirPods even less obtrusive.

The new design also includes new audio features, including some of the breakthrough sound experiences found in Apple’s premium AirPods Max headphones—such as Adaptive EQ and Apple’s new spatial audio feature with dynamic head tracking. These new features support the AirPods' already outstanding overall audio performance.

Battery life, which was already solid among wireless headphones, also gets a boost. The third-generation AirPods deliver a full extra hour of battery life, bringing the total amount of listening time you get—including a full charge case—up to 30 hours.

HomePod mini

HomePod mini
HomePod mini

The HomePod mini didn’t receive any kind of performance upgrade, but it got some fresh new color options. In addition to the classic white and space gray color schemes, you can get your HomePod mini in yellow, orange, or blue.

All the products unveiled at Apple's live event will be available to order at B&H.

Planning on picking up an insanely powerful new MacBook Pro, or are you in the market for a bright, bold new HomePod mini? Let us know what you think about Apple’s latest and greatest in the Comments section, below. 

14 Comments

Does anyone with any of these laptops know if they will be able to handle R3D 6k/8k footage? I'm wondering whether this can truly act as a desktop replacement.

Hi Patrick - 
We have not actually performed any editing tasks yet, but this is very encouraging:
"Both chips also add a ProRes accelerator in the media engine, which Apple claims will deliver uncompromisingly fast performance and video processing. As a result, professional video editors can edit up to 30 streams of 4K ProRes video, or up to seven streams of 8K ProRes video, in Final Cut Pro. And that’s not all. For the first time ever, video editors can now use their Mac to color-grade video in HDR on 8K ProRes 4444."

I recently bought the 13" MacBook Pro with the M1 chip. My luck that when I buy an Apple product, Apple updates that product immediately. Thank you Apple for raining on my parade.

I have been waiting for this new MacBook Pro to replace my 8 year old MacBook 15".  I don't do video editing, just photography with LR and PS.  Since I do not have large desktop computer, it will be my main photo editing computer that I can take with me when traveling and at home.  Which should I get?  Is the 16" too large to travel with and do I need a M1 Max or just Pro chip?  Is the 14" adequate.  Please help me decide since I cannot see the actual laptops yet.  Thanks!

The M1 Pro is good enough for Lightroom and Lightroom Classic, both already optimized for Apple silicon; nevertheless, the 14” can be configured with the M1 Max.

Do you think 14" with M1 Pro is good enough for LR and PS or do I need 16" with M1 Max?

You can configure the 14” with the max, too. So choose size based on your screen size preference. 
 

Either processor is more than sufficient for photo work. Get M1 Max if you edit 4k video on a regular basis. 

I would agree that the M1 Pro in a 14" would be fine for Lightroom and Lightroom CC, especially since it would be more travel-friendly.

Hello, I am considering the 14" version with the 10-core Pro chip and 32 GB RAM. Will this setup work for video editing - mostly drone and gopro footage in 4k. Drone can go up to 5.2k and would like to ensure I have a setup that works.

Yes, it works fine, specially with Final Cut Pro.

Hi Philip - 
The 10-core will work fine for HD and most 4K editing tasks/projects wit your GoPros and drones.  I would recommend a higher core count if you are consistently editing large 4K and 5.2K files.

Too bad the 16" display is only 3456 x 2234, forcing scaling of DCI 4k of 4096 x 2160 and even 3840 x 2160.  Apple is now over SEVEN years behind in matching PC laptop screen resolution.

You don't really need higher resolution at that size, with the Retina display (254 ppi) you already can't distinguish individual pixels, and a higher resolution display would only impact battery life.

When will you be ready to take my money? Would like to write one of these off on this year's taxes. :-) 

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