Update March 5: Amazon is offering a better deal. You can now get a new MacBook Pro 14-inch (M1 Pro/512GB) Laptop for $1,799 ($200 off).
MacBook Pro deals are pretty rare, and you usually have to wait for the next generation to arrive before modest discounts on previous models become commonplace.
But if you’ve been holding off on buying the 14- or 16-inch MacBook Pro 2021 model, now might be the time to pull the trigger — and surprisingly, the discount comes directly from Apple.
MacBook Pro 14" (M1 Pro/512GB): was $1,999 now $1,799 @ Amazon
Save $200: The 2021 MacBook Pro sports Apple's new M1 Pro CPU, which delivers 8 more GPU cores, a better Media Engine, and more memory bandwidth than the already incredible M1 chip. It's also Apple's first 14-inch MacBook Pro featuring a 14.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED display with 3024 x 1984 resolution. Others specs include 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. You also get three Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI port, SDXC card slot, and a MagSafe 3 port.
Refurbished MacBook Pro 14": was $1,999, now $1,799 @ Apple
This deal shaves $200 both the 14- and the 16-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro; Apple is also offering a $350 discount on the 16-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 Max chip.
The catch here is that the laptops in question are refurbished; it’s the first time that last year’s MacBook Pros have appeared on the refurb store. The 14-inch MacBook Pro 2021 starts at $1,799 instead of the usual $1,999, while the 16-inch model begins at $2,249 rather than its usual $2,499.
Those are both M1 Pro powered, but if you want the additional grunt of the M1 Max version, you can currently get the 16-inch model for $3,149 instead of the usual $3,499 — a saving of $350.
Normally it’s right to be a little skeptical when dealing with refurbished goods, because it’s questionably how thorough a job the repairer will have done, but with Apple doing the honors itself, you can feel pretty confident that everything is above board.
“You will receive a ‘like new’ device with genuine Apple replacement parts (as needed) that has been thoroughly cleaned and inspected,” the company explains, adding that you get a one-year limited warranty and up to 90 days of complimentary tech support if required. If you’re still feeling wary, you can purchase AppleCare for further protections, just as you would with a new product.
I personally bought a refurbished MacBook Pro from Apple back in 2014 and it felt like a new model, barring the generic white box it was shipped in. All the cables and manuals were neatly packed inside, and it worked happily for many years, until there was an unfortunate incident with a spilled rum and coke in 2017…
As for the 2021 MacBooks, they’re truly excellent laptops, with the M1 Pro and M1 Max processors capable of serious work — be it transcoding 4K video or editing complex layered images in Photoshop. The notch is slightly off putting, and it’s a pity there are no USB-A ports, but really the only drawback of both machines is the price — something that’s less of a problem with refurbished versions.
It’s not clear how much refurbished stock there is, and how frequently it’ll be replenished once sold. Given the 2021 MacBook Pros are only five months old, you wouldn’t expect too many to be available just yet, so if you’re tempted you may want to act sooner, rather than later.
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Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.