Apple is updating its MacBook Pro lineup for this year with some new under-the-hood improvements instead of visual design changes.
In respect to the 2016-era MacBook, the design is almost unchanged – the new 13 and 15-inch laptops now come with Intel chipsets, more RAM and storage variants, a T2 microchip for encryption handling, and True Tone displays.
Other than that, the company has also made the keyboard quieter.
Design & Display
The design is almost exactly the same as before. There are no noticeable visual changes, and it’s quite hard to tell the two generations apart. There is, however, a newer keyboard – with the same technology – just some tweaks and patches that make it “quieter”, according to Apple.
Both the 15-inch and 13-inch MacBook Pro’s will now come with Apple’s True Tone display, also featured in newer iPhones, which uses different sensors to change color temperature and other display settings based on lighting conditions around you.
This means it can make colors cooler or warmer in real-time, and provide the best possible balance based on where you are sitting. Of course, there’s a way to turn True Tone off in the settings if you want to work on illustrations or drawings and need to manage colors precisely.
Hardware & Storage
For this generation, the 15-inch MacBook Pro will come with the latest Intel Core i7 and Core i9 processors with six-core (instead of quad core, as in the previous MacBooks) configurations. As for the 13-inch variant, Apple decided to move from the previous quad-core processors to newer 8th-gen i5 and i7 counterparts with a similar quad-core configuration.
Moving on to memory options, the latest MacBook Pro can get up to a whopping 32 GB memory, which is good news for those who want to work with resource intensive applications. The memory standard has also been upgraded from DDR3 to the newer DDR4 (due to the 8th gen processors for the most part) so the new update will let the laptop handle more operations but at a cost of slightly lower battery life.
SSD size for both variants has been doubled as well – the 15-inch Pro now comes with 4TB storage (previous gen could go up to 2TB) and the 13-inch one will get up to 2TB this time (as compared to 1TB in the previous gen).
In the new gen laptop, there’s going to be a second T2 system-on-chip (SoC) dedicated to making fingerprints more secure. It controls several security features, and makes sure that the device’s security does not get infected by any sort of malware. T2 primarily handles the data it receives from the TouchID sensor (fingerprints).
Another noticeable new feature, an option to be precise, is a third-party eGPU (external graphics card). MacBooks now support a mountable GPU case from Blackmagic, and have a built-in AMD Radeon Pro 580 graphics processing unit. It lets you output to Thunderbolt based displays and also feeds 85W of power to the MacBook.
Apple also added the “Hey Siri” feature this time, so you can wake the digital assistant just like an iPhone or an iPad. This feature was not available in the previous generation. There’s a Touch Bar too, just like last time, which is a horizontal touch-enabled OLED strip that offers shortcuts for ease of use.
The strip also houses the TouchID sensor on the right corner, and also works with some software to allow more control and efficiency.
Battery, Price, & Availability
To compensate for the power-intensive DDR4 RAM, Apple says that it has packed in larger batteries this time to cancel out the effect of the “demanding” hardware. Seems ironic, considering that the 8th gen processors are much more power efficient than the 6th and 7th gen MacBooks. The company has not changed battery life estimates for the new MacBook Pro, and says that it will last just as long as the predecessor.
Just like last time, there are four Thunderbolt ports, four USB Type-C ports, and a 3.5 mm headphone jack on the MacBooks.
The 15-inch MacBook Pro has a base price of a whopping $2,399, if you max it out with more hardware and accessories the price goes up to an eye-watering $6,699 ($7,198.98 if you include additional software). The cheaper 13-inch model has a $1,299 starting price.
For more details, check out Apple’s newsroom post.