New MacBook Pros vs. old MacBook Pros vs. MacBook

The new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros have a new design and a bunch of new features. Check out how they compare against last year's models and each other.

Patrick Holland Managing Editor
Patrick Holland has been a phone reviewer for CNET since 2016. He is a former theater director who occasionally makes short films. Patrick has an eye for photography and a passion for everything mobile. He is a colorful raconteur who will guide you through the ever-changing, fast-paced world of phones, especially the iPhone and iOS. He used to co-host CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast and interviewed guests like Jeff Goldblum, Alfre Woodard, Stephen Merchant, Sam Jay, Edgar Wright and Roy Wood Jr.
Expertise Apple, iPhone, iOS, Android, Samsung, Sony, Google, Motorola, interviews, coffee equipment, cats Credentials
  • Patrick's play The Cowboy is included in the Best American Short Plays 2011-12 anthology. He co-wrote and starred in the short film Baden Krunk that won the Best Wisconsin Short Film award at the Milwaukee Short Film Festival.
Patrick Holland
3 min read
Watch this: Apple debuts MacBook Pro

For a lot of people, today has been a long time coming: Apple announced completely redesigned MacBook Pros. The new models are thinner and lighter, but also come with a Force Touch trackpad a brand new shortcut interface called the Touch Bar. There's even a fingerprint sensor for using Touch ID.

If you're considering a new Mac, you have a lot of options in regard to price and specs.


On paper, you are going to need at least $1,299 to get into a new Mac. The 12-inch MacBook and last year's 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina screen can both be had for that price. But the newer Macs announced today start at $1,499. If you want that nifty Touch Bar (which you do) then, the price steps up to $1,799. And if you want a bigger screen, a 15-incher will run you at least $2,399.

Enlarge Image

Bye bye function keys. Hello Touch Bar.

Patrick Holland/CNET


Really there's three choices, and all have a Retina display. There's the super svelte 12-inch MacBook, the new 13.3-inch MacBook Pro and for those who love big screens (or who have older eyes) there's the 15-inch MacBook Pro. It should be noted that all these Macs are simple to connect to a monitor or television (though you will most likely need an adapter of some kind).

Haswell vs Skylake processors

One of the biggest updates are the processors. Apple jumped from using Intel Haswell processors to Skylake. The benefits are more efficient power management and even faster performance -- which is great for multitaskers, video gamers and creative professionals. Of course, until we get our hands on the new Macs we won't know for sure just how much faster they are.


You can now get a pro laptop from Apple that's not just Silver -- there's also Space Gray. Apple also made the MacBook Pros even thinner and lighter. The 15-inch model has 20 percent less volume. This is great news for mobile professionals. It'll make travel even easier. The new 13-inch MacBook Pro comes in two body options: one with the Touch Bar and one without.

Touch Bar

There were a lot of rumors that Apple would remove the function keys and replace it with a touch strip. Well, they did. The Touch Bar is a thin Retina display that is multitouch friendly. Depending on the app you're using, different buttons and controls appear on the Touch Bar. One of the cooler uses Apple demoed was using the Touch Bar to edit an image in Photoshop.

As exciting as the Touch Bar is, it only comes on the 15-inch MacBook Pro and the higher end 13-inch MacBook Pro. The 12-inch MacBook doesn't have one. But if you want that new body design without the Touch Bar, there is a lower end 13-inch option.

Goodbye MacBook Air - well, kind of

During the Apple announcement, Phil Schiller made a point of showing how the new MacBook Pros compared size-wise against the much beloved MacBook Air. Let's just say, the MacBook Air looked a bit chunky next to the new models. But Apple has decided to keep the MacBook Air around -- well, just the 13-inch model. The price is now $999.

Take a look at the chart below for a full comparison of the MacBook as well as the new and old MacBook Pros. And checkout CNET for all of today's Apple news.

MacBook vs. Old MacBook Pro vs. New MacBook Pro

12-inch MacBook (early 2016)13-inch MacBook Pro w/Retina display (2015)13-inch MacBook Pro (2016)13-inch MacBook Pro (2016, w/Touch Bar)15-inch MacBook Pro w/Retina display (2015)15-inch MacBook Pro (2016)
Starting price (USD) $1,299$1,299$1,499$1,799$1,999$2,399
Materials AluminumAluminumAluminumAluminumAluminumAluminum
Display 12-inch 2304x1440-pixel13.3-inch 2,560x1,600-pixel13.3-inch 2,560x1,600-pixel13.3-inch 2,560x1,600-pixel15.4-inch 2,880x1,800-pixel15.4-inch 2,880x1,800-pixel
Pixel density 226 PPI227 PPI227 PPI227 PPI220 PPI220 PPI
Dimensions (imperial) 11.04 x 7.74 inches12.35 x 8.62 inches11.97 x 8.36 inches11.97 x 8.36 inches14.13 x 9.73 inches13.75 x 9.48 inches
Dimensions (metric) 280.5 x 96.5mm314 x 219mm304 x 212mm304 x 212mm358.9 x 247.1mm349 x 241mm
Thickness 0.14-0.52 in (3.5-13.1mm)0.71 in (18mm)0.59 in (14.9mm)0.59 in (14.9mm)0.71 in (18mm)0.61 in (15.5mm)
Weight 2.03 lbs (0.92kg)3.48 lb (1.58kg)3.02 lb (1.37kg)3.02 lb (1.37kg)4.49 lb (2.04kg)4.02 lb (1.83kg)
Operating system Mac OS 10.12 SierraMac OS 10.12 SierraMac OS 10.12 SierraMac OS 10.12 SierraMac OS 10.12 SierraMac OS 10.12 Sierra
Processors 1.1GHz 2-core Intel Core m3 "Skylake"2.7GHz 2-core Intel Core i5 "Haswell"2.0GHz 2-core Intel Core i5 "Skylake"2.9GHz 2-core Intel Core i5 "Skylake"2.2GHz 4-core Intel Core i7 "Haswell"2.6GHz 4-core Intel Core i7 "Skylake"
Graphics Intel HD 515Intel Iris 6,100Intel Iris 540Intel Iris 550Intel Iris Pro / AMD Radeon Pro 450 (2GB)AMD Radeon Pro 450 (2GB)
Up-spec 1.3GHz 2-core Intel m73.1GHz 2-core Intel i72.4GHz 2-core Intel i73.3GHz 2-core Intel i72.8GHz 4-core Intel i72.9GHz 4-core Intel i7, Radeon 460 (4GB)
Storage 256GB / 512GB 128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB256GB / 512GB / 1TB256GB / 512GB / 1TB256GB / 512GB / 1TB256GB / 512GB / 1TB / 2TB
RAM 8GB8GB / 16GB8GB / 16GB8GB / 16GB16 GB16GB
Battery 11 hours (mfgr. estimate)12 hours (mfgr. estimate)10 hours (mfgr. estimate)10 hours (mfgr. estimate)9 hours (mfgr. estimate)10 hours (mfgr. estimate)
Networking 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2
Ports 1x USB-C, can charge; 1x 3.5mm headset1x MagSafe 2, 2x Thunderbolt 2, 2x USB 3.0, 1x HDMI, 1x SDXC reader, 1x 3.5mm headset 2x USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), any can charge; 1x 3.5mm headset4x USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), any can charge; 1x 3.5mm headset1x MagSafe 2, 2x Thunderbolt 2, 2x USB 3.0, 1x HDMI, 1x SDXC reader, 1x 3.5mm headset 4x USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), any can charge; 1x 3.5mm headset
Cameras 480p FaceTime HD720p FaceTime HD720p FaceTime HD720p FaceTime HD720p FaceTime HD720p FaceTime HD
Touch Bar/Touch ID NoNoNoYesNoYes
Trackpad Force TouchMechanicalForce TouchForce TouchMechanicalForce Touch
Colors Rose Gold, Space Gray, Gold, SilverSilverSpace Gray, SilverSpace Gray, SilverSilverSpace Gray, Silver