Base prices remains the same, but the base models are up to twice as fast, and there are more high end upgrades that can push the price really high if they are things you need. Need 4 TB SSD storage and 32 GB of RAM? Now you can get that if you’re willing to pay.
Not all MacBook Pros have been updated, however. The non-Touch Bar models weren’t… ….touched. I have a suspicion we may see those come later this year with a rebranding to “MacBook” since they really are not computers that appeal to pro users.
Apple upgraded to a new third-generation butterfly keyboard. The first generation had fairly common problems where keys got stuck or unresponsive. The second generation addressed that somewhat. Time will tell if the third generation really is a big improvement, but early reports are that the keys are much quieter which was another big complaint.
The RAM (memory) in the new computers goes as high as 32 GB for the 15″ model. Previous generations maxed out at 16 which was a major complaint among pros. The 15″ model also gets faster 2400 MHz DDR4, a modest upgrade from the 2133 MHz LPDDR3 of the previous generation. The 13″ is still using the older slower RAM.
The processors get a very significant bump, and you could see processing speeds about twice as fast as last year’s model with the additional cores and the new processor generation. The 13″ goes from a dual-core Kaby Lake to a quad-core Coffee Lake, and the 15″ model goes from a quad-core Kaby Lake to a six-core Coffe Lake.
The graphics processors got a modest increase. The 13″ model with from an Intel Iris Plus 650 to a 655, and the 15″ went from an Intel HD 630 with 2 GB to an Intel UHD 630 with 4 GB.
- The Touch Bar now uses a T2 processor for security management and other hardware functions
- True Tone technology for a screen that’s easier on your eyes
- “Hey Siri” for access without touching the computer
- Configuration options up to 4 TB storage on the 15″ model
- Blutooth 5.0
Choosing your specs
If you’re ready to buy a new MacBook Pro, luckily there aren’t a whole lot of confusing options to choose from.
- Screen Size: 13″ is good for most people, but the 15″ model appeals more to people who need things to be bigger or professionals who want the extra work space. However, if you want to go huge you can always get an enormous desktop monitor and plug it into your laptop. You can often find a 24″ 4K monitor in the $400 range. I recommend getting a monitor with DisplayPort, as many devices struggle with 4K over HDMI, plus the appropriate dock or DisplayPort to USB-C cable.
- Processor: Most people give too much thought to this. Unless you do a lot in multimedia you won’t notice much of a difference between the low-end or the high-end. Also, the higher-end processors chew through your battery power faster. So unless you know you need the extra power just go for the lower speed.
- Memory: If you can afford to upgrade to 16 GB do it. It cannot be upgraded in the future and though 8 GB is probably enough for most people today it might not be in a few years when software gets more complex. It’s a small price to pay to help future-proof your device.
- Storage: Normally I recommend you take a look at how much storage you’re using now and get at least twice that. You can find your current usage in the Apple menu > About this Mac > Storage. You cannot upgrade the storage later so you need to get enough to last you the life of the computer, which could easily be 5 to 10 years. And in the future as cameras get higher quality and we have bigger and more complex files you’ll need more.
- Graphics: If you’re getting a 15″ model you have a choice of graphics processor. It’s a small cost for the upgrade if you play games or are a multimedia professional. But if you don’t do either of those things that upgrade won’t help you at all.
- AppleCare+: Normally I don’t recommend extended warranties, but AppleCare is something to consider as it also includes insurance and repairs can be quite costly without it. I’m not saying I recommend it necessarily, but those of you with children, animals, or butterfingers might sleep easier at night knowing a glass of water dumped on your computer is only going to set you back a $299 deductible.
The computers are available to purchase today online and should arrive in stores later this week.