Update, July 24: Apple has confirmed the widespread reports of throttled CPU performance on its 2018 MacBook Pro models, which have emerged since the laptops were released earlier this month. CPU clock speeds were slowed down as internal temperature spiked during high-load computing sessions. The company says the issue was , and that it has issued a patch in the form of the MacOS High Sierra 10.13.6 Supplemental Update (download here) that should address it.
Check out our forthcoming review to see test results before and after the patch is applied. The article originally published July 12 follows.
The Apple MacBook Pro is getting a midsummer update -- but it's a specs-focused, under-the-hood component refresh that leaves the unchanged. The 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models with secondary display are getting updated Intel CPUs, new RAM and storage options, , a new T2 subprocessor for security and encryption and hands-free Siri. The controversial butterfly keyboard, meanwhile, is getting tweaked a bit -- but it won't be completely overhauled.
The two updated MacBook Pros keep the current starting prices of $1,799 (13-inch) and $2,399 (15-inch). And Apple is offering two new accessories: A third-party external GPU option, and new laptop sleeve cases.
Note that Apple has alsoas of today. So outside of remaining stock or refurb offers, these newer models -- with only USB-C ports -- are pretty much you're only option for Pro-level Mac laptops.
Here's the in-depth breakdown of everything that's new.
New eighth-gen Intel processors
The 15-inch Pro moves from older quad-core processors to current-gen, six-core Core i7 and Core i9 parts. The 13-inch Pro moves from dual-core CPUs to eighth-gen, quad-core i5 and i7 models.
RAM, storage and battery upgrades
For the 15-inch MacBook Pro, people who work with lots of large files will be pleased to hear that the max RAM has been doubled, from 16GB to 32GB. The RAM itself moves from older DDR3 memory to newer DDR4. You can find a little background on types of DDR RAM on Wikipedia, but the upshot is that DDR4 is faster and allows for higher capacities, but can also use more power, potentially lowering battery life.
To make up for this, the new MacBook Pros have a larger battery, crammed into the same chassis. Apple says the combination of faster RAM and a larger battery should be a wash, with no change to real-world battery life.
Storage capacities have been doubled as well, from 2TB to 4TB in the 15-inch and from 1TB to 2TB in the 13-inch.
True Tone jumps in from iOS
True Tone, a feature found on recent iPhones and , uses light sensors to automatically adjust the color temperature of the display to best match your viewing environment. It can make the color range warmer or colder on the fly. For example, the screen will display colors in a way that better matches what that color would look on a real-world wall or object in your current lighting conditions.
If you need to be more precise about color while editing photos, illustrations or video, you can turn off True Tone in the settings menu.
T2: Smudgement Day
No, it's not a killing machine from the future made of liquid metal, it's the second generation of fingerprint-reading system-on-chip (SoC) processors for controlling certain security features. In the previous MacBook Pro, the T1 handled fingerprint sensing for TouchID, data encryption and more.
The T2 version, already available in the iMac Pro, adds a few extras, like a secure boot path to make sure no tricky malware sneaks into your bootup process. But for those of us hoping for , the wait continues.
Siri, do you hear me?
The Siri smart assistant has been available on Macs since 2016, but you couldn't wake her up simply by saying, "Hey Siri," without going through a. Now, she'll hear you, just like on your iPhone.
A quiet (keyboard) place
Loud, clacky typing (the kind produced by Apple's current super-flat keyboards) threatening to? The new MacBook Pro models have a tweaked third-generation version of that keyboard that purports to be quieter. Giving it a quick typing test, it wasn't whisper-quiet, but it did lack the sharp click of the previous design.
But if you were waiting for a keyboard fix to tackle the issue some users have of dust or debris causing keys to stick, you're out of luck. Apple says this keyboard update has no new engineering or tweaks to address that issue, currently the subject of bothand a .
Leather laptop sleeves
It's important to remember that all the changes and updates listed here apply to the TouchBar versions of the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro. They don't apply to the 13-inch Pro without the TouchBar, the, the or any other Mac hardware.
But, if you do spring for one these systems, you may want to keep it covered up in one of Apple's new MacBook Pro leather sleeves. Apple already makes these for the 12-inch MacBook, and the new 13- and 15-inch versions will come in brown, blue and black. They'll be $179 for the 13-inch and $199 for the 15-inch.
Blackmagic eGPU boxes for Mac
Also new is a third-party eGPU (external graphics processing unit) from a company called Blackmagic. Unlike most eGPU boxes, like the Razer Core, this one has a vertical design and built-in AMD Radeon Pro 580 graphics hardware, rather than simply a slot for inserting your own off-the-shelf graphics card. It'll be $699 and can output directly to Thunderbolt displays and feed 85W of power back to your MacBook.
What about the rest of the Mac line?
These updates are all about the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro. What about the rest of the Apple lineup? Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo just published a research note with, which pretty much anticipates a refresh of nearly everything else the company produces that hasn't yet been updated this year. It includes:
- 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch iPhones with OLED screens, plus a 6.1-inch LCD iPhone
- New iPad Pro models (11-inch and 12.9-inch) with FaceID and no Home button
- A new generation of Apple Watch with advanced heart-rate detection.
- Updates to the 12-inch MacBook and iMacs, as well as a new Mac Mini and a replacement for the long-serving MacBook Air
In other words: If you've got your eye on any Apple computer besides the MacBook Pro with TouchBar, it's back to the waiting game. The annual iPhone launch in early September is the next obvious choice on the calendar. But that's just a guess -- nothing is locked in.
Find. We'll be testing and reviewing the updated MacBook Pro just as soon as we can get one.
Originally published 5.30 a.m. PT, July 12.
Update, 10:07 a.m. PT: Added note about 2015 MacBook Pro being discontinued.
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