Thursday, July 12th, Apple released its new upgrade to the MacBook Pro line of computers. Although the design hasn’t changed, the new MacBook Pro offers improved performance for video editors and other power users.
The improved performance bump is made possible by Intel’s eighth generation of Core CPUs, along with newer faster RAM, and a new graphics processor. The new Intel “Coffee Lake” processors actually became available last April, and PC laptops with the new CPU have been on the market since springtime. Apple claims a 70 percent speed improvement for the 15-inch MacBook Pro, while the 13-inch MacBook Pro offer 2x the speed of last year’s model.
At the media event to introduce the laptops, Apple hosted several demos by “pro users” who have been trying out the new hardware. In one demo, editors from Elastic People, the makers of the “Despacito” music video, talked about how the new MacBook Pro allowed them to stop relying on proxies (smaller copies of the master files) while editing in Final Cut Pro X. In another demo, music producer Warren “Oak” Felder, who most recently worked with pop singer Alessia Cara, said that he often pushed Mac hardware to its limits while working in Logic Pro, and that with the new 15-inch MacBook Pro, he hadn’t “reached that limit” yet.
Apple’s MacBook and MacBook Air lineup, and the 13-inch MacBook Pro without Touch Bar, remain unchanged.
In addition to the new CPUs, the 2018 MacBook Pros now use DDR4 RAM which will bring a nice speed bump. The maximum amount of RAM supported doubles to 32GB in the 15-inch model and 16GB in the 13-inch version.
The 2018 MacBook Pro has a bit larger battery, but Apple says that the power demands of the DDR4 RAM negates any gain in battery life over the previous models. Both models are advertised with the same 10 hour battery life we’ve been seeing in Apple MacBook Pros for several years.
Apple offered a specialized T1 in earlier TouchBar models and the new MacBook Pro has a new T2 processor that is used for dedicated processes, such as the Touch Bar, Touch ID, Secure Enclave, and storage encryption. The T2 offers new support for “Hey Siri,” where, just like on the iPhone, speaking the phrase invokes Apple’s Siri digital assistant.
Apple has upgraded the display with their True Tone technology which can sense the ambient light of your work environment and adjusts colors so that images appear consistent under different light sources.
Perhaps the most important update to the MacBook Pro in light of class-action lawsuits and a recently announced repair program for 2016 & 2017 models of the MacBook Pro, Apple is introducing a new third generation butterfly keyboard. The keyboard has been improved so that it is quieter than before. Whether the keyboard is more reliable remains to be seen.
New 15-inch MacBook Pro prices starts at $2,399.
Specs for 15-inch MacBook Pro models include:
6-core Intel Core i7 and Core i9 processors, with speeds up to 2.9GHz (Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz)
Base configuration of 16GB of DDR4 RAM (32GB max)
4GB Radeon Pro discrete graphics subsystem
Maximum 4TB SSD storage
Four Thunderbolt 3 ports
New 13-inch MacBook Pro prices starts at $1,799.
Specs for the 13-inch MacBook Pro models include:
Quad-core Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, with speeds up to 2.7GHz (Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz)
Base configuration of 8GB of DDR4 RAM (16GB max)
Intel Iris Plus 655 integrated graphics 655 with 128MB of eDRAM
Maximum 2TB SSD storage
Two Thunderbolt 3 ports