Apple just dropped two surprise announcements out of the blue, upgrading both the MacBook Pro and Mac mini with top-of-the-line M2 chips.

It’s very unusual for Apple to release new products in January, but this year the trend has been bucked for a couple of overdue changes. Apple’s notebook lineup was beginning to look a bit fractured, with two competing MacBook Pro designs alongside a much cheaper M2 MacBook Air – and the Mac mini hadn’t seen an update since M1 first came onto the scene.

This new MacBook Pro simplifies the choice for anyone looking for the best of the best, combining the 2021 MacBook Pro designs (14- and 16-inch) with next-generation M2 Pro and M2 Max chips. It also boasts improved battery life, better power efficiency, Wi-Fi 6E connectivity, and upgraded ports that can support 8K displays. The 14-inch model starts at $1,999 with the 16-inch version starting at $2,499.

From Apple’s press release: “Today the MacBook Pro gets even better. With faster performance, enhanced connectivity, and the longest battery life ever in a Mac, along with the best display in a laptop, there’s simply nothing else like it.”

A new Mac mini is here too, offering a choice between the standard M2 chip or the M2 Pro. Starting at $599, it’s more affordable than it has been for a long time too – although optional upgrades beyond the baseline spec remain typically pricey.

“Bringing even more performance and a lower starting price, Mac mini with M2 is a tremendous value. And for users who need powerful pro performance, Mac mini with M2 Pro is unlike any other desktop in its class.”

These new M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, by the way, might be overkill for the average user – but anyone involved with pro-level workflows will feel the difference.

Apple says image processing in Photoshop with an M2 Pro is 40% faster than M1 Pro, and 80% faster than Apple’s top-of-the-line Intel MacBook Pro. App developers compiling code will see a boost too, with Xcode performance 25% faster than M1 Pro, and a whopping 2.5x faster than the Intel MacBook Pro.

M2 Max goes even harder, with more GPU cores and more graphics memory to allow users to tackle powerful projects such as visual effects and machine learning.

All these new models are available for pre-order today, and will be available in stores from Tuesday, 24 January.