Apple has announced a new crop of MacBook Pro models with Intel's newest 8th and 9th generation Core processors and is addressing concerns with its ultra slim butterfly keyboards with new enhancements to substantially reduce issues users may experience with stuck or unresponsive keys.
The new eight-core 15-inch MacBook Pro powerhouse
Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pro was updated twice in 2018, with one update just after the 2018 World Wide Developer's conference, and another in November with Vega graphics. Now, at the same price points as the summer update, Apple's top tier MacBook Pro is gaining Intel's 9th Generation 45-Watt Core i7 CPUs.
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The $2399 model is jumping 400MHz to a 6-core i7-9750 CPU with Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz, while the $2799 model now uses an 8-core i9-9980 CPU at 4.8GHz.
There will also be a custom configuration 15-inch MacBook Pro option to use Intel's 8-core i9 overclocked to run at 5GHz. The new chips, which Intel just announced a few weeks ago, are designed to deliver "desktop caliber performance on the go" in the chipmaker's marketing, which describes the new processors as intended for "Musclebooks" and "content creation" machines.
Apple's latest 15-inch Retina Display MacBook Pros continue to feature 220ppi 2880 by 1800 screens with P3 Wide Color Gamut, 500-nits of brightness, and the company's True Tone display technology. They are equipped with Radeon Pro 560X or Vega 20 graphics with up to 4GB of HBM2 memory; 16 or 32GB of DDR4 RAM; and 512GB or 1, 2, or 4TB SSD storage options.
Carried forward from the previous model are four Thunderbolt 3 ports that support USB-C connectivity of all types, and four 4K or two 5K external displays via DisplayPort 1.4.
The new quad-core 13-inch MacBook Pro mobile creation machine
The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar was also last updated last July, but is now getting a similar overhaul commensurate with its more efficient, compact design. The $1799 model now getting a 300MHz jump in CPU speed to use Intel's 8th Generation 15 Watt Core i5-8365 CPU with a Turbo Boost speed of 4.1 GHz.
The custom option for an Intel i7 is also getting upgraded by 300MHz to Intel's Core i7-8665U.
Apple's latest 13-inch Retina Display MacBook Pros continue to feature 227ppi 2560 by 1600 screens with P3 Wide Color Gamut, 500-nits of brightness, and True Tone display technology. They also use Intel's premium-tier Iris Plus integrated graphics with 128 MB eDRAM; offer 8 or 16GB of RAM; and either 256, 512GB, or 1 or 2TB SSD storage options.
Four Thunderbolt 3 ports are also on the 13-inch model. The quartet supports two 4K displays or one 5K external display. The 13-inch MacBook Pro also includes the same T2 chip, Touch Bar, and Touch ID authentication.
As with the 15-inch models, Apple is addressing keyboard concerns with an enhanced design intended to improve its ultra slim butterfly mechanism so as to substantially reduce issues users may experience with unresponsive or double-typing keys.
Both new MacBook Pro lines are available to order through Apple now, and will be in stores later this week.
The new MacBook Pros also include Apple's custom T2 chip, which is essentially a variant of the A10 processor used in iOS devices. The 64-bit ARMv8 chip runs its own "bridgeOS" operating system closely related to watchOS.
It drives the graphical Touch Bar input system and Touch ID authentication. The T2 chip also provides a secure enclave for encrypted keys and enables users to lock the system's boot process, and includes an Image Signal Processor for the FaceTime camera and audio use as well as hardware-accelerated disk and media encryption and decryption, and supports "Hey Siri" functionality.
Apart from addressing Pro-users' voracious appetites for processing performance, the newly revamped MacBook Pro models also address keyboard issues that have continued to dog Apple's butterfly keyboard design.
The company has maintained that its butterfly design is used without problem by the vast majority of its users and that its notebooks achieve overall quality levels that are the best it has ever delivered. However, it has worked to continued to improve the design of its ultra slim butterfly mechanism so as to substantially reduce issues users may experience with unresponsive or double-typing keys.