Up to the minute Apple and Mac news alerts
Apple Newsroom: Apple today updated MacBook Pro with faster performance and new pro features, making it the most advanced Mac notebook ever. The new MacBook Pro models with Touch Bar feature 8th-generation Intel Core processors, with 6-core on the 15-inch model for up to 70 percent faster performance and quad-core on the 13-inch model for up to two times faster performance — ideal for manipulating large data sets, performing complex simulations, creating multi-track audio projects or doing advanced image processing or film editing. Already the most popular notebook for developers around the world, the new MacBook Pro can compile code faster and run multiple virtual machines and test environments easier than before. Additional updates include support for up to 32GB of memory, a True Tone display and an improved third-generation keyboard for quieter typing. My top take-aways: Today’s updates are indisputably aimed at genuine “pro” users. Only the high-end machines with the TouchBar have been updated — the non-TouchBar 13-inch MacBook Pro (a.k.a. the MacBook Escape) and the just-plain MacBook are unchanged. Features like supporting 4 GB of SSD storage and 32 GB of RAM are not consumer features. Only the new 15-inch MacBook Pro has the option of 32 GB of RAM. This makes sense — it’s a different Intel architecture that requires a bigger power supply and battery. The new 13-inch models still use LPDDR3 RAM; the new 15-inch models use DDR4 RAM. These are the first Macs with TrueTone displays. That’s not reason enough to upgrade for most people, but I’m so glad to see TrueTone make its way to the Mac. The big question on many people’s minds are the keyboards: Do they resolve the reliability issues that have surfaced ever since Apple switched to butterfly mechanisms? Apple says no, that the only thing they were engineered for is being quieter. But I think only time will tell whether this is true or not. Maybe, as Apple says, the only problem they sought out to solve was the noise. But, if they also sought out to improve the reliability of the keyboards — to fix the problem where keys get stuck, among other problems — I think they would only admit to fixing the noise problem. Marketing-wise, I don’t think they would admit to a reliability problem in the existing butterfly keyboards (especially since they’re still selling second-generation keyboards in all non-TouchBar models), and legal-wise (given the fact that they’re facing multiple lawsuits regarding keyboard reliability) I don’t think they should admit to it. So whether they’ve attempted to address reliability problems along with the noise or not, I think they’d say the exact same thing today: only that they’ve made the keyboards quieter. I have no inside dope on the this (yet?), but to me the reason for optimism is that they’re calling these keyboards “third-generation”, not just a quieter version of the second-generation buttefrly-switch keyboards.