- Apple is launching a new MacBook Pro with a 16-inch screen, an improved keyboard that no longer uses the “butterfly” mechanism, and improved audio and performance.
- It costs the same as the 15-inch MacBook Pro, which it will replace in Apple’s lineup, and is available to order starting Wednesday.
- The new keyboard, built on a “scissor” mechanism, feels like a major upgrade over Apple’s butterfly keyboard that people have complained about.
- Apples MacBook Pro laptops were always meant for professionals, but the company’s emphasis on audio and microphone quality makes that feel truer than ever on the 16-inch model.
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Apple is launching a new MacBook Pro with significant upgrades to the two areas you probably interact with the most: the keyboard and the screen.
Apple has finally taken the wraps off itslong rumoured 16 inch MacBook Pro, which has a larger, higher-resolution screen framed by slimmer bezels; more powerful performance; and much-improved audio. It starts at $US2,400 and is available to order online Wednesday and will be in stores by the end of the week.
That’s particularly important because Apple’s butterfly keyboard has been criticised heavily in the years since its launch. Users have reported various issues, such as keys that register twice when tapped once or don’t respond at all when pushed. It’s been such a point of contention that a Change.org petition encouraging Apple to scrap the butterfly keyboard design has garnered more than 37,000 signatures.
Otherwise, the new MacBook Pro’s headlining feature is its larger, 16 inch display , the biggest screen on an Apple laptop since the 17-inch model the company launched in 2011. It has a 3072×1920 resolution, higher than the 2880×1800 resolution of the 15-inch MacBook Pro it’s replacing.
It also has a bigger, 100-watt-hour battery, which Apple says should enable it to last 11 hours on a single charge, one hour longer than its slightly smaller predecessor.
Taken together, the MacBook Pro’s bigger display, improved audio and microphone systems, and larger memory and storage options show that Apple is leaning into the professional audience the MacBook Pro has always been intended for. In 2019, the difference between the MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air feels more obvious than ever.
Here’s a closer look at The new MacBook Pro and what it’s been like to use it over the past day.
Performance, storage, and audio
Since Apple’s “Pro” laptops are usually targeted at professionals rather than the average person looking to browse the web or work in Microsoft Office, Apple has also upgraded the new MacBook Pro’s processing power and storage capacity.
For the first time, the the 16 inch MacBook Pro has a 64 GB memory option, double the highest memory configuration available for Apple’s 15-inch MacBook Pro.
It’s available in six-core Core i7 or eight-core Core i9 configurations with options for AMD Radeon Pro 5300M or Radeon Pro 5500M graphics.
You’ll also get more storage space with Apple’s new Pro, which comes in 512 GB and 1 TB options and is configurable up to 8 TB for the first time. The 15-inch MacBook Pro, by comparison, came in 256 GB and 512 GB storage options and was customisable up to 4 TB of storage.
Processing power, display quality, keyboard performance, and battery life are usually among the most important features of any laptop, whether it’s for work or personal use. But for the new 16-inch MacBook Pro, the audio and microphones are also a big deal. The MacBook Pro has a new six-speaker audio system and a three-microphone array designed to reduce background hiss – features that Apple likely is hoping will make its new Pro the laptop of choice for podcasters and content creators.
I’ve spent less than a day with the new MacBook Pro, but I can already tell that typing on this machine feels like a dream compared with the butterfly keyboard I’ve been using on my 13-inch 2017 MacBook Pro.
There’s much more tactile feedback that adds depth as you type, unlike the butterfly keyboard, which usually feels stiff and flat. It’s also much quieter than the butterfly keyboard on my 2017 13-inch MacBook Pro, something I imagine will be useful for taking notes in meetings or working in public spaces.
The non-butterfly keyboard is one of the only reasons I keep reaching for the ageing 11-inch MacBook Air I purchased in 2015, so it’s exciting to see Apple take this direction with its newest laptop. Even if you’ve never experienced any of the mishaps that some MacBook laptop owners have encountered with the butterfly keyboard, the new keyboard will still probably feel like an upgrade.
The slimmer bezels around the screen are also a welcome addition that makes the MacBook Pro’s design feel more modern. Competitors like Dell have for years offered laptops with seemingly borderless displays, and it’s nice to see Apple taking this approach with the MacBook Pro.
The MacBook Pro’s audio quality is also surprisingly impressive. I typically use my laptop with headphones, but the MacBook Pro actually makes me want to blast tunes from the laptop’s speakers for a change.
The speaker grills on either side of the keyboard are noticeably larger than those on the 15-inch MacBook Pro. Music coming out of the new 16-inch model was on a whole different level than my 13-inch 2017 MacBook Pro. It sounded more open and full-bodied, and I could clearly hear bass notes that weren’t very noticeable when I was listening on the 13-inch MacBook Pro at the same volume.
With its new16 inch MacBook Pro, Apple is clearly leaning into the Pro’s intended core audience of professional users more than ever before.
It’s too soon to provide a final verdict on the new MacBook Pro, but it’s clear that Apple wants this to be the go-to machine for creative professionals.
But as is usually the case, there are other noteworthy options out there for those who need a laptop for getting serious work done that won’t cost quite as much as the MacBook Pro. HP’s Spectre x360 15t Touch, for example, starts at $US1,250. The base configuration gets you a ninth-generation Intel Core i7 processor with Nvidia graphics and a 4K touchscreen, the latter of which Apple’s laptops lack in favour of the Touch Bar.
Apple’s laptop may offer some benefits that are hard to find elsewhere, like the option to upgrade to 64 GB of memory. But the Pro’s high price makes it seem clearly pointed at niche professionals or those willing to pay a premium to stay in Apple’s ecosystem.
Even so, if you’re willing to spend the money, the new MacBook Pro’s improved keyboard, roomier screen, and improved audio make it feel like it lives up to that price.