Apple this week have launched a spec bump update to their MacBook Pro line with Touch Bar. Whilst the update won’t entirely fix user problems with the devices, such as the keyboard (more on that later) and the port array, it does show Apple’s slightly higher dedication at providing more timely updates to a Mac line, which has sure being lacking recently.
8th and 9th gen Intel CPUs and more!
Visibly, Apple have literally just spec bumped the MacBook Pro line with this update, but Apple can now promise a MacBook Pro with a Turbo Boost of up to 5GHz … providing it doesn’t thermal throttle with those heat producing Core i9s.
As far as the update that’s gone out, whilst Apple are now actively updating the Touch Bar MacBook Pro’s, it’s pretty crazy to state that Apple still haven’t updated the non-Touch Bar models, of which are £1249 and £1449, which to us is pretty ridiculous as they’re still on dual-core 7th gen, but nothing surprises us with Apple recently.
13 INCH UPDATES
For the lowest price 13 inch MacBook Pro, you’re looking at a very asking £1,749, which gets you a 2.4Ghz Quad-Core 8th Gen i5, 8GB 2133Mhz RAM, 256GB SSD and the Intel Iris 655. For the price, I find it quite irritating Apple couldn’t try to add some dedicated graphics, or just price them more in line.
Apple also offer an additional £1,949 configuration which ups the Storage to 512GB.
As far as how far you can push these things, you can spec out a 13 inch MacBook Pro to a pretty penny of just £3,399, by adding a 2.8GHz i7 option, 16GB max RAM, though the most cost will come from the SSD, an extra £1,000 for a 2TB SSD. It is worth noting, Apple do use NVME drives, so in some cases, it maybe possible to get an upgrade even to Storage post purchase.
15 INCH UPDATES
As always, the 15 inch MacBook Pro is the one that gets all the gubbins, including now 9th Generation Intel CPUs across the board, aside from the 8th gen on the 13 inch model, as well as the 15 inch MacBook Pro featuring dedicated AMD mobile Graphics. The base 15 inch MacBook Pro will set you back £2,349 and will give you a 2.6Ghz 6-Core Intel Core i7 (4.5Ghz turbo), 16GB faster 2400Mhz DDR4 RAM, a fairly small for the price 256GB SSD and AMD Radeon Pro 555X with 4GB GDDR5.
Apple also offer an additional £2,699 configuration which adds an 2.3Ghz 8-Core Intel Core i9 (4.8Ghz Turbo), 512GB SSD and a slightly faster AMD Radeon Pro 560X.
As far as how far you can push Apple’s most powerful MacBook Pro, you can take this thing all the way up to the region of £6,074 … no really. Again, the SSD is the biggest chunk of that as its £2,250 more just for a 4TB SSD, but you can also get either a Vega 16 with 4GB or a slightly faster Vega 20 both which have 4GB of HMB2 memory. As far as the Vega GPUs are concerned, for the MacBook Pro, it probably is worth going for just due to the more efficient HMB2 memory, SSDs though, as we mentioned with the 13-inch, can be post-purchased.
“New” Butterfly Keyboard
Easily one of the biggest criticisms of Apple’s latest MacBook Pro design, not to mention MacBook and MacBook Air, is most definitely the Keyboard design. Ever since the introduction of the infamous “butterfly keyboard”, it’s fair to say stating they’ve had a divided reception would be a compliment. However, Apple are sticking to their guns and continuing to distribute them, and, now we’re at the 4th generation of the Butterfly keys. Whilst Apple haven’t specified entirely what they’ve changed, they have mentioned that they’ve added a “new material”.
But, of course, this is the Internet, we don’t take their word for it, we wait for iFixit to tear it apart and then have a look. Whilst it’s true, Apple have used a new material for the keys, the change was described by iFixit as “subtle”, and doesn’t seem to be that much of a change in terms of keeping things out of the keys, and, naturally preventing issues with keys going forward.
One thing that is interesting, however, is that the new material Apple are using for the keys, are now available for all Mac laptops featuring a Butterfly keyboard variant, so it’s clear Apple’s confident, though that confidence slips when you realise, Apple’s new replacement program, which we’ll get to, also features these same models that have just been announced.
Updated Keyboard Service Program
It’s probably not too far from the truth to state that only Apple love the Butterfly keyboards. Ever since they launched on the 2012 MacBook, Apple have expanded where they are, and, as a result, we all have to suffer … or should we say “hve th suffr”, or some bugger up to that effect.
Despite their verbal confidence, despite an apology about this, Apple are now expanding their Keyboard Repair Program, now including ALL Macs featuring any form of Butterfly keyboard, this can be any generation of MacBook or MacBook Pro (including this latest) and the current generation MacBook Air. Apple also say this will be a free and speedy repair.
What’s intriguing about the Repair Program, is that Apple will apparently install the newer material upon repair, even if it’s from an older generation Butterfly keyboard. Time will tell, if the new Keyboard fits bill, and, if not, just how many times and how long Apple will offer these repairs, especially out of warranty, as these constant repair programs don’t leave confidence to purchasing one of these MacBooks.
What irritates us about this, is that the last generation MacBook Air, the last design for the MacBook Pro, and a collection of Macs prior, were regarded as having the best keyboards in the industry with no problems, so it’s rather insane that Apple are still struggling along with such a proven flawed design, but they’re committed to their madness and it’s clearly continuing.
Whilst it’s nice to see Apple actively updating their MacBook Pro line, what isn’t nice to see is that not only are they no longer price competitive after an update, which they used to be, but they’re also featuring arguably one of the worst keyboards to enter a Laptop, so for those reasons we’re seriously struggling to recommend these systems.
One positive to note, is that reviewers who are testing these have found minimum thermal throttling, so that’s something, even with the Core i9, but we stand by our convictions that these are not the great Computers they used to be.
Apple is rumoured to be launching a more Pro 16 inch variant of a MacBook Pro, completely redesigned, we just hope its price competitive, a beast in performance and has a decent keyboard … or even just the old one pleeeasse Apple!