With Apple’s latest event wrapping up, consumers are left with another decision to make regarding Apple’s newest line of devices: To buy or not to buy?
The introduction of the new “Touch Bar” is certainly a cool feature, however, Apple isn’t the first one to do this. Lenovo’s X1 carbon series introduced the “adaptive key” bar nearly two years ago, although Apple has since improved this feature, allowing nearly every application to change the functions of the bar. The Touch Bar is certainly much more developed that any iteration that came before it, however, it’s usefulness is yet to be known. We’ll just have to wait and see, especially with Microsoft’s new super cool (and expensive) Surface Dial and Studio incoming.
Another new introduction is Touch ID, Apple’s biometric fingerprint security feature that is integrated into the Touch Bar. Again, Apple is certainly not the first to integrate a fingerprint scanner into their computers. In fact, you can turn time back to just over four years ago and still see functioning fingerprint scanners in computers from companies like Lenovo, HP, Microsoft, Dell and many more.
The new MacBook Pro is offered in three versions:
- The 13-inch ($1900)
- The 13-inch with Touch Bar and Touch ID ($2299 or $2550 for extra storage)
- The 15-inch with Touch Bar and Touch ID ($3000 or $3500)
Of course, each comes with its own price, but if you’re looking to pick one of these computers up, you’re going to have to set your budget to over $1900, as this is where the cheapest model starts.
Apple boasted heavily that their new computers are extremely fast and powerful. Speeds like:
- 130% faster in graphics
- 60% faster in gaming
- 57% faster at video editing
were mentioned, however, it is important to note that this is compared to themselves, not to the average in the market. Apple also boasted that their new display was better than ever before, but neglected to mention the actual resolution.
With that in mind, it was easy enough to find the real specification on their website – much less distracting than the keynote.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro’s are actually 13.3 inches boasting a 2560×1600 IPS display, which is incredibly detailed but also takes a lot to power.
The 15-inch MacBook Pro is a 15.4-inch display with an IPS monitor and an even more detailed 2880×1800 resolution.
These two computers certainly won’t provide anything less than amazing on the display front, let’s just hope it can properly power it.
Processing and Graphics
Starting at the bottom, the 13-inch MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar has a moderate Intel i5 processor at 2.0Ghz which can Turbo Boost up to 3.4Ghz. It isn’t anything special, but it certainly isn’t weak either. However, the graphics are disappointing, Apple went with an integrated Iris 540. This inclusion wouldn’t be bad at all if Apple had gone with a 1080p display, however since the native resolution of the 13-inch is 2560×1600, nobody should expect to play games without downscaling the display resolution first.
The 13-inch with the Touch Bar is about the same with a few differences being in the CPU and GPU. You get a 2.9Ghz i5 that can Turbo Boost to 3.3 Ghz and a slight upgrade in the graphics card, an Iris 550 as opposed to a 540. These differences are minor, so if you don’t care for the Touch Bar, you won’t be missing out on much with the regular 13-inch.
The 15-inch with Touch Bar is much more powerful. Boasting an i7 at 2.6Ghz, Turbo Boosting to 3.5, this laptop’s processor is no joke. The graphics card is also no laughing matter, a Radeon Pro 450, part of AMDs latest laptop lineup of GPUs, is a dedicated GPU with its own 2GB of GDDR5. This card looks promising, but it is too early to tell how well it will perform, especially up against that monster display mentioned earlier.
Storage and Memory
Starting at the bottom again, the 13-inch MacBook Pro without Touch Bar has 8GB of RAM and an unimpressive amount of space – 256GB on an SSD. While an SSD is significantly faster and slimmer than an HDD, you’re going to run out of space fast, and that means external storage, which will be difficult because Apple removed everything and replaced it all with Thunderbolt type 3 ports (more on this in another article, but you’ll be spending well over $170 on adapters).
The 13-inch with Touch Bar is slightly different, offering the same amount of RAM and an optional 512GB instead of 256GB (if you’re willing to dish out $2550). Nothing special here.
Finally, the 15-inch MacBook Pro at the price of $3000 has the same 256GB as all its other counterparts, or you can upgrade to 512GB if you want to spend $3500. The RAM, however, is a welcome change, offering 16GB on both models, you certainly won’t run out of memory anytime soon.
All MacBook Pro models have four Thunderbolt 3 ports. You’re going to have to buy dongles (Like before, more on this in another article)
The new MacBook Pro lineup offers some moderate specifications with a few nice surprises here and there. However, the large prices and lack of ports (which just add onto that price) are big enough to scare off consumers. Especially with products like the Surface Studio on the rise, which runs for $3000 but is more powerful than the 15-inch MacBook Pro, consumers are left to wonder what it is they want. As for now, I wouldn’t buy any of these laptops until the general population does, and works out some of the uncertainties like the Touch Bar and GPU performance.