Yes, it appears the new MacBook Pro is ‘scary fast’

Apple's Halloween-themed event set the stage for some killer MacBook Pros with upgraded chips--and the death of the Touch Bar once and for all.

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I’m not going to question Apple’s claims: I would bet my life’s savings that the new MacBook Pro is “scary fast.” Because, well, of course it is. During the company’s Halloween-themed event, Apple unveiled its latest line of MacBook Pros equipped with the new M3 series processors, a few other spec bumps, and a sweet new Space Black finish.

And yes, Apple is making its usual claims of making “the most powerful chips you could ever dream of” (or something to that affect, at least).

Here’s the scoop: these new laptops are already replacing the M2 Pro and M2 Max models from January of this year, which means Apple wants to move fast to get their products as up-to-date as possible. Call it a reaction to the Qualcomm news last week, or blame it on the M3 chips simply being ready to ship. Whatever the case, Apple certainly didn’t waste any time getting these new machines out there–after all, the event only lasted 30 minutes.

What’s new?

Apple didn’t give the MacBook Pro another redesign. They look almost identical to how they did back in 2021, besides the fact they’re now available in a badass Space Black finish. You still get either a 14-inch or 16-inch Super Retina XDR display (now 20 percent brighter when viewing SDR content), a chunky aluminum build, a ton of ports, and MagSafe charging.

All of the big changes live inside the laptops, which include the new M3 series of processors. The chips, which are built using a 3-nanometer process for improved efficiency and performance, are Apple’s fastest to date, hence the “scary fast” mantra.

The M3 Pro and M3 Max are the most interesting of the three since they’re the most powerful. The former comes with a 12-core CPU that’s up to 30 percent faster than the M1 Pro, while the 18-core GPU is up to 40 percent faster. Meanwhile, the latter has a 16-core CPU that’s up to 80 percent faster than the M1 Max, while its 40-core GPU is 50 percent faster.

The M3 Pro can be configured with up to 36GB of unified RAM, while the M3 Max supports up to 128GB, which is the most for any MacBook in history. That means you can spec the 16-inch MacBook Pro all the way up to a whopping $7,199 with 128GB of RAM and 8TB of storage (… yikes).

One of the biggest upgrades coming to the M3 series is Dynamic Caching, which can dynamically adjust the GPU memory needed based on what you’re doing. That way, only the exact amount of memory is allocated to each task, as opposed to having all of your memory hogged by a single application. Apple says it’s a first for the industry, so it should be interesting to see how well it works. You also get hardware-accelerated ray tracing thanks to the 3nm process, which can help with rendering complex graphics projects and games.

Then there’s the M3, which lives at the bottom of Apple’s lineup. It comes with an 8-core CPU that’s up to 35 percent faster than the M1 alongside a 10-core GPU that’s up to 65 percent faster, the same Dynamic Caching and ray tracing as the Pro and Max chips, and support for up to 24GB of unified memory. It’s not as impressive as its higher-end siblings, but it’ll certainly get the job done.

You can get a MacBook Pro with any of the three M3 processors, which gives you a lot of customizability at checkout. Of course, storage and RAM options will vary based on the silicone you go with, but that’s to be expected from such a wide-ranging lineup of chips.

Apple says the 16-inch MacBook Pros should last up to 22 hours on a single charge (the 3nm designs and Dynamic Caching will hopefully help with efficiency). I don’t have a number of hours for the 14-inch model, but I’ll update this article if I find it.

And that’s… it. Beyond the new chips and slightly brighter screens, these MacBook Pros aren’t changing. You still get a bunch of ports including a few Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI, an SD card reader, and a headphone jack. There’s a notch at the top of the screens with a 1080p FaceTime camera, a Touch ID sensor in the power button, a huge trackpad, a comfy keyboard, and massive speakers for impressive audio quality. Apple keeping the laptops so similar to the previous generation isn’t a bad thing by any stretch, but if you were looking for something fresh, your only hope is the new Space Black color way.

RIP 13-inch MacBook Pro

With the new MacBook Pro comes the death of an old one: the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. Apple is replacing it with the 14-inch Pro and equipping it with the M3 chip to drive the price down. Granted, the new base model is still $300 more than what the 13-inch model started at, and you’ll only get 8GB of RAM (a.k.a. highway robbery in the year 2023). But at least this signals Apple is officially done with the Touch Bar, which was first introduced in 2016 and never seemed to catch on with anyone.

Pricing and availability

The 14-inch MacBook Pro with M3 starts at $1,599, the M3 Pro model starts at $1,999, and the M3 Max model starts at $3,199. The 16-inch MacBook Pro with M3 Pro starts at $2,499, while the M3 Max model starts at $3,499.

You can order any of these new MacBooks starting today, and they’ll begin to ship on November 7th. An important distinction: the M3 Max models aren’t expected to arrive until later in November, but who knows, maybe you’ll get yours sooner.