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M2 MacBooks – will they have STRONG sales?

Is it a case of too much of a good thing?

M2 MacBook
image courtesy of author

As good as it gets?

M2 MacBooks coming this year, all the smart money told us. Suddenly, though, last week, that plan seemed to change.

It was a busy week for Apple, one way and another. Not only was there a slew of OS releases, but also it was a week in which the Cupertino-based company announced their latest set of financial results. And, it was those results that gave us the tell-tale clues, that there would be no more hardware coming our way for 2022.

Possibly, just possibly, that’s a good thing. After all, it is not as if we have been left wanting this year, is it?

It was a very good year

The decision to hold back on any more new M2 MacBooks being released this year, seems to stem back, to around this time last year.

It was November 2021, that, everything changed for Apple and the venerable MacBook lineup. That was our first glimpse of the future, as we were gifted the first Apple silicon M1 Max & M1 Pro versions of the MacBook Pro’s.

Power was through the roof, both on Geekbench numbers, and also in real-world usage. Battery life was insanely good, and fan noise, of course, was a thing of the past. We already knew how good the M1 chipset was, having seen it in the 24-inch iMac earlier in 2021. But, these Pro & Max iterations of M1 were the next level. Sales were strong, very strong, in this same period last year as a result of those MacBook releases. Those Macs added $10.9 billion to Apple’s holiday revenue sales.

Tim Cook, aptly, was the one who put the final nail in this year’s MacBook coffin, by stating that “the product line for this year’s holiday period, was, now, set.” I don’t think we are reading too much in to his statement, in assuming, that we are now done on hardware releases for this year.

Cook’s words, were further qualified in the financial statement from Luca Maestri, Apple’s chief financial officer. He admitted that this year’s holiday figures would suffer in comparison to last years –

“There will be no major MacBook Pro launch like there was in the prior year. We have a very challenging compare against last year, which had the benefit of the launch and associated channel fill of our newly redesigned MacBook Pro with M1,” he said. “Therefore, we expect Mac revenue to decline substantially year over year during the December quarter.”

Wall Street doesn’t seem overly concerned at these forecasts. Whilst September saw an 8% growth in sales, December is forecast at only around 3%.

So, when will see new Macs?

Spring 2023 looks most likely at present. And then, we will probably see new versions of both 14-inch, and 16-inch M2 MacBook Pros.

Although there is still talk rumbling around of a January event from Apple, if that does happen, it will purely be for the launch of their multi-reality headset. The new Macs will be launched, as was this year’s Mac Studio, in a March event.

Externally, the 2023 MacBooks, will look almost identical to the current range. The changes will be to the internals, and the upgraded M2 chip. Mark Gurman, has heard that the M2 Max will receive 12 CPU cores, up from the current 10, and the graphics cores will grow to 38 cores.

At that same spring 2023 event, apart from the M2 MacBooks, we may at least also get an M2 Mac mini…and even the much anticipated Mac Pro.

Patience is a virtue

The inaugural Apple silicon Mac Pro will be released a little later than initially hoped for, but the delay is for all the right reasons.

This Mac, although highly niche, is the flagship for Apple and their entire Mac range. Few will ever need the power that will be on tap, but that’s not the point. This Mac is a marker, to the entire marketplace, of what an Apple silicon Mac Pro is truly capable of.

Rather than rushing out a Mac Pro, baed on the M1’s 5-nanometer process, by delaying the release for just a few short months, it means the M2 chip that they’ll use, should be using the faster 3-nanometer process.

The numbers being bandied about for this new Mac Pro, are just the stuff of fantasy!

As reference, the Mac I am working on now, is a 16-inch M1 Max MacBook Pro. It has a 10-core CPU, a 32-core GPU and 32GB of unified memory. This new Mac Pro will have choices of either 24 or 48 CPU cores, and, get this – 76 or 152 graphics cores! As for the unified memory, apparently, the M2 Mac Pro could ship with 256GB of unified memory. The fact these numbers, sound like something otherworldly, is a good thing! That’s precisely what this Mac should be about.

Less is more

What we already have in the shape of M1 Max & Pro chips has taken creative production to another level.

Even when the 14-inch and 16-inch M2 MacBooks do ship, I doubt there will be the same furore as there was when the M1 machines came out late last year. Those upgrades were, a once in a generation kind of development.

Many, clearly myself included, laid down some hard-earned cash last year for the M1 Pro & Max equipped MacBooks. But, these machines have years of life left in them. I made sure to cram my MacBook Pro with as higher spec’s as possible, for that very reason. I wanted to future-proof my MacBook. Whilst already spending eye-watering amounts of cash, to spend a little more, made sense – well, to me at least.

It is possible that Apple may have, to some extent, dug their own grave for a few more years to come. The need to change is simply not there any more. For those creatives who wanted to wave bye-bye to Intel Macs, with their heat & fans, that swap has already been made.

But to change from the already blinding speed & efficiency of an M1 Max MacBook Pro, for a small, incremental uptick in productivity, of an M2 MacBook – surely, there will not be that many takers.

The rules of diminishing returns still apply. Apple re-invented the MacBook and the future of creative computing last year. Lightning tends not to strike twice, so soon.

Has Apple been touched with the Sword of Damocles? When the figures are in, next year, for the new M2 MacBook, I guess we’ll know.

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