The MacBook Pro 2022 could be a big letdown for me — here's why

MacBook Pro 2020 13-inch
(Image credit: Future)

Apple is reportedly prepping a new entry-level MacBook Pro 2022, and it could appear as soon as the Apple Event on March 8, dubbed Peak Performance.

That would seem to be good news for me, as I’ve been using a 2019 MacBook Pro as my main computer for longer than I would like, and I'm ready to shop for one of the best laptops. Three years doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but that Core i5-powered system with 16GB of RAM seems dog slow compared to the newer MacBook Pros with M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. 

And I know this first-hand because I’ve had a chance to use the new MacBook Pro 14-inch with an M1 Pro chip and a robust 32GB of RAM. As someone who keeps way too many Chrome tabs open, the newer MacBook Pro is much more responsive — and a lot more quiet. 

Apple already added a speed boost to its laptop lineup in 2020 with the MacBook Pro M1 13-inch, but I sat out that round in terms of upgrading because I was hoping for a better screen, more ports and a better webcam. We got all that with the 14-inch MacBook Pro, but I wasn’t about to spend $2,000 on a laptop.

So what about the new 13-inch MacBook Pro? The biggest upgrade is rumored to be a new M2 chip. It’s tipped to offer the same number of CPU cores (8) but offer more high-performance cores. Plus, the M2 could jump from 8 to 10 graphics cores.

The M1 chip was already fast, but the M2 could help justify the premium between the $999 MacBook Air and $1,299 MacBook Pro — if Apple decides to keep pricing for the 13-incher the same. 

Here’s the problem. The MacBook Pro is not expected to offer a redesign, which means you would get the same 13-inch display, same skimpy port selection (Thunderbolt only) and maybe the same frustratingly useless Touch Bar. Apple ditched the Touch Bar for the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro, and I think that was a wise decision. 

I can live without a miniLED display, but now that I’ve used a 14-inch panel, a 13-inch screen would feel more cramped. 

We also don’t anticipate a sharper webcam for the new 13-inch MacBook Pro based on the rumors. That would be a shame, but the M2 chip could at least boost the image quality from the 720p webcam.

While I can live without an HDMI port, I really do hope Apple includes an SD card slot on the 13-inch MacBook Pro or at least a microSD card slot. As someone who take a lot of pictures with a mirrorless camera, I find the slot on the 14-inch MacBook Pro immensely useful. 

There’s no guarantee at all that the MacBook Pro 2022 will launch at the Apple event, and it could be pushed to later in the year. But if the leaks prove accurate, I’ll be pretty disappointed. And I might just have to bite the bullet and buy the 14-inch MacBook Pro to get all the features I want. 

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Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.