Updated February 12: article originally posted January 10.
If you’re looking for a great deal on a new MacBook Pro, Apple has something of interest this week. But, you’ll need to be quick.
For the first time, Apple has listed an M3 MacBook Pro in its refurbished section with a significant discount.
While not “new in the box”, these laptops have been put through a full service by Apple, are offered with the same warranty as a brand new machine, and are eligible for the same levels of AppleCare as a new laptop. Stocks are also limited, so if you are looking for a specific model (such as the entry-level model), you will need to keep an eye on availability.
Of course, this all sits in an Apple Store expecting to debut the new M3-powered MacBook Air in late March and already offers the next generation of Apple Silicon with October’s M3 Pro and M3 Max MacBook Pro models.
Update: Monday February 12: One of the critical parts of any purchasing decision, especially with Apple, is what is coming around the corner. Those considering a refurbished M3 MacBook Pro will be looking at Apple’s plans for the M3 MacBook Air. Historically, it will be cheaper than a new M2 MacBook Pro—by how much remains to be seen—and while it will be down on power, it will still be more than sufficient for most.
Joe Rossignol points to the expected launch in March and what we can expect in the MacBook Air. Putting aside the welcome news that Apple will launch the 13- and 15-inch versions simultaneously (unlike the 12-month gap between the two sizes of M2-powered Airs), the significant updates will be limited to those offered by the M3 chipset.
The same M3 chipset you can find in the refurb MacBook Pro.
If your sole concern is having access to the most power and performance possible, you’ve likely got an M3 Pro or M3 Max on your desk. While the M3 MacBook Pro does not reach those levels, it will have a noticeable performance rise over the M3 MacBook Air’s potential.
I’d argue that the difference in performance between the consumer-focused MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops is not enough to justify the difference in price (and arguably, there’s little practical demand for the M3 MacBook Pro), but with a $240 discount offered by the Refurb Store on the list price of $1,599 there’s a good chance that the refurb model makes this a viable proposition.
We don’t yet know the price of the M3 MacBook Air, which is expected to launch in March. I would expect the M2 MacBook Air to remain on sale but drop to the talismanic $999 price, allowing the M3 MacBook Air to launch at either $1199 or $1299, which puts the $1,359 price of these refurbished models into context. They could be just $50 away from the upcoming MacBook Air.
Whether the benefits of around 20 per cent more performance and the word “Pro” etched on the cover are important enough for you to consider the awkwardly specced (but now slightly cheaper) M3 MacBook Pro is a personal decision… and it has the advantage of being available right now.
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