Apple launches revamped MacBook Pros with faster specs for more demanding users
There are new MacBook Pros in town, upgraded to fit the latest i5 and i7 processor chipsets from Intel, and with extra RAM and storage capacities to boot. As for the actual design of these laptops, that remains the same for now – and the Touch Bar is sticking around, too.
The changes are spread across both the 13.3-inch and 15.4-inch models with Touch Bar – the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro without a Touch Bar remains on sale, but hasn't been given any of the spec upgrades that the other configurations have.
The smaller laptop can now be configured with 8th-generation, quad-core Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, reaching Turbo Boost speeds of up to 2.7G Hz and 4.5 GHz respectively. The graphics top out at an Intel Iris Plus 655 unit with 128 MB of memory, while you can ramp up the specs to 16 GB of RAM and 2TB of SSD storage.
As for the larger, more powerful MacBook Pro, you can now buy it with 8th-generation Intel Core i7 or Intel Core i9 processors, going all the way up to 2.9 GHz and 2.8 GHz respectively when in Turbo Mode. You can fit up to 4 TB of SSD space and 32 GB of RAM in these models, with the top graphics choice now an AMD Radeon Pro 560 series with 4 GB of its own video memory.
If you've been poring over MacBook Pro specs since the previous models came out, you'll know that's a significant performance boost (primarily because the Intel chips inside are now the latest versions). Don't worry if all these specs are complete jargon to you though – all you need to know is that the MacBook Pros you can buy today are quite a lot more powerful than the ones that were on sale yesterday.
Apple is promising up to double the performance on the 13.3-inch models and up to 70 percent improvement in performance on the 15.4-inch models, though it depends exactly what you're doing with your laptop at the time (don't expect a massive leap forward in web browsing speed, for example).
Some smaller extras are included in the upgrades too: improved TrueTone displays that adjust to ambient light, and a T2 security chip to better protect information on the device and prevent unauthorized logins.
As for that controversial butterfly-switch keyboard, a substantial number of users insist it fails more often than its predecessors, and is more vulnerable to dust and dirt. Apple hasn't officially acknowledged a problem, but has recently launched a four-year warranty program to fix affected keyboards for free.
When it comes to the new models, Apple is also staying tight-lipped about whether those issues have been ironed out with the refresh. The company does mention a "third-generation" upgrade for the keyboard designed to reduce noise, but it's not clear if any of the mechanics have been changed or improved.
Ongoing keyboard controversy aside, the good news is that the updated MacBook Pros will start at the same price as the ones they're replacing, though of course cost varies depending on your chosen configuration. The 13.3-inch model starts at US$1,799, with the 15.4-inch model starting at $2,399, and the upgraded laptops are available direct from Apple now.