Apple Psychology Unveiling the M3 MacBook Pro Existence

Apple Psychology Unveiling the M3 MacBook Pro Existence

The MacBook Pro on a wooden table.

I was very happy when I first heard that the 13-inch MacBook Pro M2 was being replaced by the 14-inch MacBook Pro M3. Finally, a basic MacBook Pro that really looked “pro” thanks to the screen, ports, and premium design.

But after considering it, I have to admit that even the 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro is still baffling. Located between the Air and the Pro, it will undoubtedly pique the curiosity of some buyers due to its name. But as far as I can gather, it’s hard to figure out who exactly this laptop is for. However, peel back the layers and you’ll see a product that has always been key to Apple’s strategy and brand.

A performance mismatch

The keyboard of the 14-inch MacBook Pro on a wooden surface.

Here is the problem. The chassis of the 14-inch MacBook Pro is extremely premium. The build quality and design are top-notch, but it’s the quality of life changes that make it feel extra premium. Not only is the screen colorful and high-resolution, it’s the best HDR mini-LED panel on a laptop – the exact same screen found on the M3 Max models, with a 120Hz dynamic refresh rate. The same goes for the speakers, which are loud and robust. Again, they’re the best you can get in a laptop, aside from the 16-inch MacBook Pro, of course.

However, in terms of performance, the MacBook Pro M3 is not that “pro”. It’s not that the M3 isn’t a very capable chip. It’s extremely efficient and the GPU improvements in this generation are notable. But let’s remember: Apple literally has a chip called “M3 Pro,” which makes the basic M3 the non-Pro configuration. Even just by its name, this is not a “pro” chip. Right now, the MacBook Pro is the only laptop in the lineup that can be configured with the M3, as the MacBook Air hasn’t surpassed the M2 yet. But according to the latest reports, that M3 update will be available in the spring of next year. In other words, this MacBook Pro will soon have performance similar to that of a MacBook Air.

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However, the 8 GB memory option is where things In fact get strange. I won’t repeat the entire debacle, but Apple has defended its choice to offer 8GB of its unified memory as the initial configuration of a MacBook Pro, saying that on a Mac, 8GB is equivalent to 16GB on other systems. Of course, this is not really true. Be able to share memory between the GPU and the CPU is It’s a big deal, but it’s still pretty easy to use 8GB of memory with a fairly simple setup of browser tabs and lightweight apps.

So while anyone would appreciate the improvements the 14-inch MacBook Pro offers, without the performance, they become quality of life improvements rather than necessary features.

The Amateur and Aspiring Demographic

Apple MacBook Pro seen from the side.

Let’s not forget what the M3 MacBook Pro is replacing: the 13-inch MacBook Pro is dead and gone. It’s a laptop that has always had an interesting place in the range, even before the transition to Apple Silicon. In the Intel era, the 13-inch MacBook Pro didn’t have discrete graphics like the 15-inch (or later, 16-inch) model. It had a slightly higher power Intel processor than the 13-inch MacBook Air, but it wasn’t a very noticeable difference.

Instead, what you got was the feeling of owning and using a more powerful laptop. It had that appearance. The screen. The speakers. Came in space gray. It looks like a laptop that YouTubers, music producers, designers, and photographers could do real work on, even if they would struggle to do so in practice. Pros at the time knew that the 15-inch MacBook Pro was the only serious option, and even there, you’d be better off with an iMac.

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But the hobbyist or aspiring creator has always been an important part of Apple’s Mac philosophy. Don’t forget: turning regular people into “creators” has always been part of the Mac ethos. Delivering creative tools to hobbyists and students is what helped transform the entire perception of the PC into something friendlier and more accessible, while at the same time that he convinced an entire generation that the Mac was the platform of choice for young creatives. That is to say, these types of devices have always played an important role in Apple’s marketing psychology.

And the 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro fits that mold exactly. It is a springboard, perhaps a tool intended more to inspire than to satisfy. If you take your hobby too seriously, you will run into hardware limitations. But what if you are entering the world of video production, graphic design or coding? I think if you asked Apple, they would say who is this machine for?

But my job is not to repeat Apple’s marketing lines, and the question remains whether this laptop is really worth buying for the audience it claims to be aimed at.

Who is the M3 MacBook Pro really for?

The open MacBook Pro on a wooden table.

Based on my own testing, the 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro is not worth the purchase for that aspiring creative. It won’t give you the advantage you think you need. A 15-inch MacBook Air will probably be more than powerful enough, especially if you can wait until the M3 models come out in early 2024. If you’re just dabbling in using these more intensive apps, it will be powerful enough. as long as you configure it with enough memory.

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When it comes down to it, there’s really only one audience for whom the M3 MacBook Pro feels justified: someone willing to pay for those quality-of-life upgrades. It’s for someone who may not need the extra performance of a true pro machine, but has some extra money to shell out for a better screen, speakers, and extra ports. Look: It’s a great laptop for watching movies or shows, and even just listening to music is great. Meanwhile, if you occasionally want to access the SD card slot or HDMI port, it’s useful for that reason too.

Is it worth the extra $100 and the extra weight and thickness that comes with the 14-inch MacBook Pro? Difficult decision. For some, absolutely. But most people will be more than happy with a MacBook Air, especially since you can find great deals on them right now.

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