The new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models have officially arrived. This morning I visited my local Apple Store to pick up a 14-inch model, plus a a few apple polishes (don’t ask me why). Check out some quick first impressions below after unpacking Apple’s latest and best MacBook Pro, which is back in shape in many ways.
Although I used (and really enjoyed) the 16-inch MacBook Pro format that was released in 2019, this year I reduced the size to a new 14-inch model in silver. The 16-inch MacBook Pro shape can get bulky pretty quickly, so this year I opted for the 14-inch, which should be far more manageable for things like travel.
Here are the specifications of the machine I bought:
- 10-core M1 Pro CPU
- 16-core GPU
- 16 GB Unified Memory
- 1TB SSD memory
If I repeated that, I would probably opt for 32 GB of RAM instead of 1TB of SSD memory (which is a bit too much for my needs). Still, this is a configuration I could get for the first day of download, and I’m pretty happy with it.
I didn’t believe the rumors about the notch, so I was surprised when they turned out to be true and a little disappointed with the idea of having a notch with no added advantage of Face ID. After a few hours with the new 14-inch MacBook Pro, I’d still love for Apple to bring Face ID to the Mac, but I don’t mind the notch at all.
The comma on the new MacBook Pro exists almost entirely within the menu bar of macOS, which has been a major component for years. The way it works is to have a 16:10 screen below comma and menu area. So, one of the ways to look at things is that the menu bar and the notch area are pure bonus real estate.
The ports (and MagSafe) are back
The new MacBook Pro has three Thunderbolt ports, an HDMI port, an SD card slot and a MagSafe charging port. I feel like 2015, don’t I?
I’ll almost certainly never use the SD card slot on the side of my new MacBook Pro. They can use the HDMI port from time to time, for example to connect to a TV in a hotel room. But MagSafe? I’m thrilled that MagSafe is back on the Mac. In addition, I am very happy to have the extra versatility of charging via the MagSafe or USB-C port.
Just a note if you’re struggling to choose between silver and space gray: the MagSafe connector is no color according to your machine. Instead, you’ll get a silver MagSafe connector whether you choose a silver or space gray MacBook Pro color. Having a MagSafe connector matched in color was enough to encourage me to buy a silver MacBook Pro.
The screen on new MacBooks is simply stunning. The combination of a higher resolution screen, mini-LED backlight and ProMotion refresh rate makes the biggest leap in the quality of the MacBook Pro’s display that can be remembered from year to year.
One of the reasons I opted for the 14-inch model instead of the 16-inch is this higher resolution screen. The 14-inch MacBook Pro has a resolution of 3,024 x 1,964 pixels. That makes 254 pixels per inch, which means the new MacBook Pro comes standard in the original 2x Retina resolution.
On most of my previous MacBook Pro models, I opted for the “More Space” screen resolution option in System Preferences. With a 14-inch MacBook Pro, I’ll stick to the default. It’s so good. The 14-inch screen really feels like a “sweet spot” between 13 inches and 16 inches, especially in this compact and edge-to-edge form.
The combination of the ProMotion screen and the M1 Pro processor means that the performance of the MacBook Pro is smooth in every possible way. The ProMotion screen means animations, web scrolling and more are incredibly fluid – just like on the iPad Pro and iPhone 13 Pro. One thing to note, however, is that there is still work to be done on the software side of things, as Apple and third-party developers continue to update their apps to take advantage of higher refresh rate technology.
It will also take some time to adjust to the new width-to-height ratio by third-party applications.
Finally, in terms of design, the new MacBook Pro models do something that Apple hasn’t done in years: they give priority to function over form. This does not mean that the new machines are not impressive from the point of view of design, but they work much better in establishing a balance between design and functionality.
The new 14-inch MacBook Pro is the same thickness as the 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro released last year, but certainly it seems thicker. This is due to the flatter design around the edges, a change that Apple says allows it to fit more into the interior. It is also noticeably heavier, 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg) versus 3.0 pounds (1.4 kg).
Other design details:
- The “MacBook Pro” brand has disappeared below the screen, but is now engraved on the bottom
- The Apple logo on the back is much larger than before (but still not lit)
- The feet are bigger, but not necessarily in a bad way
- The fan openings are interestingly placed along the lower edges
- The braided MagSafe cable is very beautiful
That’s all for now. I’ll have more thoughts on the new 14-inch MacBook Pro in the coming days and weeks, but I just had to get those initial impressions out of my system. Do you have any questions for me? Let me know in the comments!
FTC: We use auto affiliate links to earn revenue. More.
Watch 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:
Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.