Good, better, best: Apple’s professional computers now make sense thanks to the M3 MacBook Pros.

Good, better, best: Apple’s professional computers now make sense thanks to the M3 MacBook Pros.

There are times when you worry that something is wrong with a company. They seem to have lost sight of what made them unique. Every now and again, there’s a second instance where everything seems to fall back into place. As I watched, that’s how Apple’s “Scary Fast” event felt.

The event began in complete darkness with a creepy opening, with Apple HQ looking like a terrifying theme park ride that was full with bats and mist. Unfortunately, Tim Cook was not dressed as a ghost. Rather, he was dressed in very dark grey and black. (Are you sure he’s Batman?) His first action was to get down to business, and the time passed quickly.

Briefness conveys attention. And Apple’s announcements strengthened this. In the context of these announcements, this Apple felt more cohesive than it has in a long time. And that’s fantastic since Apple embodies the renowned Steve Jobs grid at its finest.

According to the narrative, Jobs ultimately lost it during weeks of product review meetings following his return to the company in the late 1990s. He was so frustrated by Apple’s confusing selection of gadgets that he declared Macs should fit into a straightforward grid. 

“Pro” and “consumer” are the two columns. ‘Desktop’ and ‘Portable’ are the two rows. Regular observers of Apple frequently bring up that grid and complain that Apple’s current lineup doesn’t match. However, Apple in 2023 differs from Apple in 1997. It’s a larger organisation with more expansive goals and a more robust network of devices.

Even so, I’ve of late had concerns when Apple slips back to the age of beige, with confusing line-ups and release schedules. For example, the first two generations of Apple Silicon had the more powerful chips lag months behind. Nearly a year passed between the M1 and M1 Pro/M1 Max, 

During which time Apple tried to convince everyone Intel flagships were still great, while they were pummelled in benchmarks by entry-level MacBook Airs. Meanwhile, the MacBook Pro line morphed and creaked, first with a mix of Apple Silicon and Intel models, and later with a legacy unit hanging around like a bad smell, by then loved only by TouchBar fans and masochists. 

During this occurrence, everything was wiped away in thirty minutes. At the same time, the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chips made their debuts. Better yet, the MacBook Pro lineup feels cohesive once more, roughly following the good (M3), better (M3 Pro), and greatest (M3 Max) ideas that guided Apple’s best product lines for a considerable amount of time.

Apple also made a smart point of emphasising who would use these gadgets and how they could be used. Students and those who would be content with a MacBook Air but require a thermal system that enables prolonged performance would be best served by the M3 MacBook Pro. Creatives that wish to have more influence can choose an M3 Pro chip. Those with more demanding processes can choose the M3 Max.

That is not to claim that things are flawless right now. It annoys me that there isn’t a space black M3 MacBook Pro. Regardless of Apple’s assertions (which it has been making since 2020) regarding the efficiency of unified memory, 8GB of RAM remains a meagre starting point. 

Also, the M3’s performance is inferior to that of Windows computers that are roughly equal when it comes to supporting a single external display. However, the MacBook Pros are essentially the same device these days. Despite having an outdated design, a subpar display, and an odd touchscreen strip that nobody uses, One is no longer a relative relic.

All in all, it makes sense. Which may be a low threshold, but it’s one that the industry as a whole doesn’t really understand and one Apple has far too frequently failed to meet. Hopefully, the M3 era will continue to pay homage to that significant component of Apple’s history—its feeling of focus—while technology keeps paving the way for the future.