In a move that highlights Apple’s desire to refocus on its pro users it announced last Thursday that it had refreshed the MacBook Pro line up.
It’s been a busy time for this range. Introduced in October 2016 it got an internal refresh in June 2017 and a year later it has been tweaked again.
So, what’s changed? To answer that, first let’s explain what hasn’t changed. The 13” MacBook Pro with function keys remains untouched. It has the same 7th generation Intel processors and is still the perfect machine for those who perform office admin tasks.
The 13 and 15” Touch Bar models now come with the 8th generation Intel I processors. This means that on the 13” you now get Quad Core processors as standard and Six core on the 15” models. Impressively the 15” can now be specified up to an i9 2.9Ghz processor with Turbo Boost up to 4.8Ghz.
In a move that will surely please pro users the 15” model can now be upgraded to 32GB RAM and there are also extended SSD options. The 13” can be specified with a 2TB SSD whilst the 15” can now accommodate a 4TB SSD.
Both models have received a boost in graphics performance. The 13” models now include an Intel Iris Plus 655 graphics and the 15” now comes with the Radeon Pro 555X 4GB on the i7 2.2Ghz and the Radeon Pro 560X 4GB on the i7 2.6Ghz model. It is possible to upgrade to the 560X card on the lower powered machine if you require.
Should you want even more graphics performance you can add a BlackMagic externalGPU. This includes the AMD Radeon Pro 580 8GB graphics card. It’s the same one that comes with the top of the range 27” iMac. It will override the onboard graphics card and give you even more desktop graphic capability. We will see if we can get our hands on one to do a review later on this year.
One of the biggest bug bears with the MacBook Pros has been the Butterfly Keyboard. Those of us who have been unfortunate enough to get a toast crumb or spec of dust under one of the keys will have been plagued by the key being unresponsive. Whilst not addressing these problems openly the 2018 models it would appear that this 3rd variation of the butterfly keyboard has a small silicon sleeve underneath each key to prevent penetration of dust and alike. The keyboard is also meant to be quieter although I have to be honest and say the sound of the keyboard has never been an issue for me.
Finally, both models now use the same the True Tone technology that is already found on the iPad Pro. That means there’s an ambient light sensor inside telling the machine to adjust the screen’s colour temperature depending on where you’re sitting. The Touch Bar is also now True Tone to help compliment the overall user experience.
As 2018 continues it will be interesting to see what Apple does to the rest of the Mac line up. Since the iMac Pro launch last year there has been increasing confidence that Apple is listening to its Pro users and is starting to develop machines that meet their needs.
Check out the new MacBooks here.