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New 2018 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro: Everything under the hood

This minor refresh features an eighth-gen Intel processor, more RAM and storage for the same price.

Justin Jaffe

Justin Jaffe

Managing editor

Justin Jaffe is the Managing Editor for CNET Money. He has more than 20 years of experience publishing books, articles and research on finance and technology for Wired, IDC and others. He is the coauthor of Uninvested (Random House, 2015), which reveals how financial services companies take advantage of customers -- and how to protect yourself. He graduated from Skidmore College with a B.A. in English Literature, spent 10 years in San Francisco and now lives in Portland, Maine.

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Shop for Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (13-inch, space gray, 2018)

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Inside, there are some small tweaks -- but on the surface, the 2018 MacBook Pro looks exactly like the 2017 version.

Sarah Tew/CNET

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 due to a previously undiscovered software problem, 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 first take originally published July 12 follows.

Apple delivers a bit more for your money with this year's version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. The $1,799 starting price remains unchanged and you now get Intel's newest eighth-gen quad-core CPU, a bigger SSD and twice as much RAM.

Here is everything that's new and improved with the 2018 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar:

  • New eighth-gen quad-core Intel CPU (i5 or i7)

  • Twice as much RAM (now up to 16GB)

  • Twice as much SSD storage capacity (now up to 2TB)

  • New display featuring True Tone tech, which optimizes colors to ambient light conditions

  • New T2 subprocessor for Touch ID security and encryption

  • Hands-free Siri (say, "Hey, Siri" to activate)

  • Modest tweaks to the super-flat butterfly keyboard intended to quiet key clack (but not resolve its dust-related issues)

Otherwise, this machine is virtually identical to the version it replaces. Same design, same color schemes, same Touch Bar. Apple has also released a new version of the $2,399 15-inch MacBook Pro, with a similar batch of incrementally upgraded components.

Watch this: Apple's new six-core Core i9 MacBook Pro

For now, the remainder of the Mac portfolio remains unchanged, including the entry-level $1,299 13-inch MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar. The rumors suggest that Apple may update the rest of the lineup -- the 12-inch MacBooks, the iMacs and the aging MacBook Air -- before the end of 2018. Of course, that's completely unofficial; the company hasn't announced anything yet.

Alongside the new 2018 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, Apple also introduced a few new accessories -- a $179 13-inch leather laptop case and a $699 Blackmagic external GPU, which features an integrated AMD Radeon Pro 580 card. College students can pick up a free pair of Beats headphones with the purchase of the new 13-inch MacBook Pro under Apple's annual Back to School program. 

Here's how the new 2018 MacBook Pros with Touch Bar compare with their 2017 predecessors:

2018 vs. 2017 Apple MacBook Pro specs

13-inch MacBook Pro with TouchBar (2018) 13-inch MacBook Pro with TouchBar (2017)15-inch MacBook Pro with TouchBar (2018)15-inch MacBook Pro with TouchBar (2017)
Starting price (US) $1,799$1,799$2,399$2,399
Starting price (UK) £1,749£1,749£2,349£2,349
Starting price (Australia) AU$2,699AU$2,699AU$3,499AU$3,499
Display 13.3-inch,  2,560x1,600-pixel13.3-inch,  2,560x1,600-pixel15.4-inch, 2,880x1,880-pixel15.4-inch, 2,880x1,880-pixel
Pixel density 227 ppi227 ppi220 ppi220 ppi
Dimensions (imperial) 11.97 x 8.36 inches11.97 x 8.36 inches13.75 x 9.48 inches13.75 x 9.48 inches
Dimensions (metric) 304 x 212 mm304 x 212 mm349 x 241 mm349 x 241 mm
Thickness 0.59 in (14.9 mm)0.59 in (14.9 mm)0.61 in (15.5 mm)0.61 in (15.5 mm)
Weight 3.02 pounds (1.37 kg)3.02 pounds (1.37 kg)4.02 pounds (1.83 kg)4.02 pounds (1.83 kg)
Operating system MacOS High SierraMacOS High SierraMacOS High SierraMacOS High Sierra
Processors 2.3GHz, 4-core, Intel i53.1GHz, 2-core, Intel i52.2GHz, 6-core, Intel Core i72.8GHz, 4-core, Intel i7
Graphics Intel Iris Plus 655Intel Iris Plus 650AMD Radeon Pro 650X (4GB)AMD Radeon Pro 555 (2GB)
Up-spec 2.7GHz 4-core Intel i73.5GHz 2-core Intel i72.9GHz 6-core Intel i9, Radeon Pro 560X (4GB)3.1GHz 4-core Intel i7, Radeon 560 (4GB)
Storage options 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB256GB, 512GB, 1TB512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB256GB, 512GB, 2TB
RAM options 8GB, 16GB8GB, 16GB16GB, 32GB16GB
Battery (Apple estimate) 10 hours10 hours10 hours10 hours
Networking 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2
Ports 4x USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), any can charge; 1x 3.5mm headset4x USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), any can charge; 1x 3.5mm headset4x USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), any can charge; 1x 3.5mm headset4x USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), any can charge; 1x 3.5mm headset
Cameras 720p FaceTime HD720p FaceTime HD720p FaceTime HD720p FaceTime HD
Touch Bar/Touch ID Yes, powered by T2 subprocessorYes, powered by T1 subprocessorYes, powered by T2 subprocessorYes, powered by T1 subprocessor
Trackpad Force TouchForce TouchForce TouchForce Touch
Colors Space gray, silverSpace gray, silverSpace gray, silverSpace gray, silver

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