Apple dropped some pretty big news today: It’s no longer selling the 2015 MacBook Pro, which was arguably the last model that had a decent keyboard. Oh, and Apple also updated its top-shelf MacBook Pros, which will now set you back $10,339 for the most expensive iteration — a 15-inch MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar, 4TB of solid-state storage, 32GB of memory and a six-core, 2.9GHz Intel Core i9 CPU.
Thankfully, Apple hasn’t tweaked the price on the base models of the 13 and 15-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pros, but it has upgraded their specs a bit. You now get 8th-generation “Coffee Lake” Intel chips (maxing out with a six-core on the 15-inch MacBook Pro and a quad-core on the 13-inch MacBook Pro), True Tone displays and a “third-generation keyboard for quieter typing.”
The 15-inch versions of the MacBook Pro also come with DDR4 memory, whereas the 13-inch versions still stick with DDR3.
So, should you buy one? Maybe.
While I tip my hat to Apple for finally sending more love to the MacBook Pro, in the form of off-cycle component upgrades, the real meat of Apple’s upgrades is the quad-core and six-core versions of its MacBooks. So, if you know you want to go big and have been eyeing a 15-inch MacBook Pro for some time, I’d consider buying one. If you’re looking for a slightly smaller powerhouse, you probably want to save up for the quad-core version of the laptop.
I realise that’s a bit of a no-brainer — buying the most powerful laptop you can get, since you probably won’t be looking to upgrade it for years. What compounds the issue is the MacBook Pro’s terrible keyboard, which is something you’ll have to get used to if you’re coming from the now-retired 2015 (or earlier) version of the laptop. (That, and the lack of anything that isn’t a USB-C port, but I digress.)
Though Apple has made the MacBook pro’s keyboard quieter, it hasn’t necessarily made it better. But as the company previously indicated in a statement — apparently only a small subset of MacBook Pro owners have been affected by keyboard issues. (Said issues being that dust, particles, and crumbs can cause keys to become inoperable.)
Here’s that statement, which Apple issued when officially launching a new keyboard service program for frustrated MacBook Pro owners (almost proof in itself that the problem isn’t that small):
Today we launched a keyboard service program for our customers that covers a small percentage of keyboards in certain MacBook and MacBook Pro models which may exhibit one or more of the following behaviours: letters or characters that repeat unexpectedly or don’t appear when pressed or keys that feel ‘sticky’ or aren’t responding in a consistent manner.
The MacBook Air hasn't gotten much love from Apple over the past few years, but that could finally change this autumn. A new report from popular Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors) claims we could get a cheaper MacBook Air in the next few months and until that happens, you should probably hold off on buying any new Apple laptop.Read more
More importantly, there’s no knowing what Apple has up its sleeve for its 2018 announcements. Sure, new iPhones are on the way — why wouldn’t they be? — but the rumour mill has been swirling around the company’s Mac lineup. And rightfully so: If you buy a non-Pro MacBook or MacBook Air right now, you’ll be picking up something that hasn’t been updated in over a year. That means seventh-generation Kaby Lake chips on the MacBook (not bad) and fifth-generation Broadwell chips on the MacBook Air (yuck).
I wouldn’t hold my breath for the MacBook to receive a substantial speed boost this year — nor an OLED keyboard, if you’ve been following some of the crazier rumours. Maybe you’ll get an extra port. Maybe you’ll get a price drop. Either way, if you haven’t purchased a MacBook already, you’ve been waiting pretty long. What’s a few more months to make sure you’re buying the best MacBook you can buy?
As for the MacBook Air, the other ultraportable in Apple’s portfolio, it’s definitely time for some TLC. Whether that comes in the form of a lower-cost, dual-core, Kaby Lake chip or a pricier (but higher-performing) quad-core, Coffee Lake chip — or both — I wouldn’t buy a MacBook Air right now if Tim Cook walked it to my front door himself (politely).
Apple might even go as far as to kill the MacBook Air entirely and rejig the MacBook line, which makes sense: one product line focused on portability and one product line focused on performance. But I also wouldn’t complain about having Coffee Lake performance in a cheaper, Touch Bar-free MacBook.
Anyway, if you’re still a little on the fence about which MacBook to buy, I’d wait. The newly announced MacBook Pros will still be great laptops come October (or whenever) — since September is typically the iPhone’s time to shine.
If you’re dead-set on the absolute fastest, feature-packed system, the MacBook Pro makes sense as long as you’re going quad-core, at minimum. Of course, you might also want to wait a few days to see what the real story is like once everyone’s benchmarks come out. Maybe you won’t need as much power as you think.