NEXT GENERATION: ALL-NEW MACBOOK PRO LINEUP ANNOUNCED BY APPLE
ALL-NEW MACBOOK PRO LINEUP ANNOUNCED BY APPLE
A PROFESSIONAL MACBOOK FOR POWER USERS
When Apple unveiled the fourth generation of its popular MacBook Pro lineup back in 2016, tech fans and consumers were thrilled. MacBook has been an integral part in Apple’s success for a number of years, but it’s fair to say that the company has shifted its focus to smartphones and tablets. With the 2016 MacBook Pro, however, Apple showed professionals that they still cared about creating cutting-edge laptops that rivaled the biggest names in technology; and they delivered.
Less than six months later, in June of 2017, Apple refreshed the lineup, increasing processing power and memory, and giving users more control over their machine. July 2018’s MacBook Pro refresh takes the MacBook range to a whole new level and adds more processing power and a next-generation butterfly keyboard. Today, we delve deeper into the refreshed MacBook Pro.
While the new MacBook Pros may look familiar, it’s what’s on the inside that counts, and the technology packaged inside of the notebooks is impressive by anyone’s standards. Keen to follow on from the success of their iMac Pro announcement last year, the new MacBook Pro models are designed with professionals in mind, all featuring new eighth-generation Intel Core processors, up from last year’s seventhgeneration processors. These rocket-powered addons make 15-inch models now up to 70 percent faster compared to benchmarks, while the 13-inch model is up to twice as fast as the older models.
Giving users more flexibility, the 15-inch MacBook Pro models can be upgraded to suit more professional standards, with a 2.9GHz sixcore Core i9 processor. Power users can also get their hands on a quad-core 13-inch Pro with the Touch Bar, with a maxed out 2.7GHz processor.
Other impressive inclusions in this year’s MacBook Pro range include 32GB of DDR4 RAM, an upgrade that was requested by power users who wanted to get more out of their machines for gaming and video editing. Comparing this to the 16GB of LPDDR3 RAM on the 2017 models, it’s likely that users will notice a significant increase in speed and performance should they choose to purchase a $6,999 maxed-out machine with all of the possible add-ons.
Moving on to graphics, and AMD’s Radeon Pro graphics cards are now installed with 4GB of GDDR5 on all 15-inch models, while 13-inch models receive 128MB of embedded DRAM. And finally, Apple has increased its SSD storage capacities for the models; 13-inch machines can now hold up to 2TB of data, while 15-inch models can be upgraded to a 4TB solid state drive.
HEY SIRI SUPPORT ON THE MAC
With Amazon Alexa and Google Home taking up a significant share of the smart speaker market, many have criticized Apple for not doing more to improve its artificial intelligent assistant Siri. While Siri was ahead of its time when it came packaged with iOS 5 back in 2011, critics such as Kevin Murnane for Forbes described Siri as “beyond dumb, it’s an embarrassment.”
With iOS 12, set for release this September, Apple has invested more of its time than ever into improving its AI assistant and making her more intelligent and customizable than ever. One of the ways in which it hopes to improve Siri’s fortunes is through a new Shortcuts tool, which allows users to program their own commands and have Siri execute tasks such as calling a contact and switching on a radio station. And through the new 2018 MacBook Pro, Apple is set to make Siri even more convenient, thanks to a new T2 chip which will introduce support for its ‘Hey Siri’ functionality. It’s a feature that has
been available on iOS since 2015, and makes activating the voice assistant more convenient. Whether this will tie in with Apple’s new Shortcuts app and more advanced Siri functionality remains to be seen, but we’ll know for certain when macOS Mojave drops in September.
A BUNCH OF ADDITIONAL IMPROVEMENTS
While speed and performance were key to the 2018 MacBook Pro lineup, there are other new features and improvements designed to improve the everyday use of the machine. All updated Pros now feature an “improved thirdgeneration keyboard for quieter typing”, which is designed to address issues with sticky and unresponsive keys that were found on the 2017 Pro models. Early reviews have been positive, with TechCrunch complimenting the keyboard’s sound compared with previous “butterfly” versions.
Aside from a new keyboard design, the Pros now feature Bluetooth 5.0, up from Bluetooth 4.2, which will allow for improved speed
and greater range. Apple is expected to launch a brand new version of its AirPods at its September event, alongside an AirPower wireless charging pad, and so any improvement to the Mac’s Bluetooth capability will go down well with music lovers and video editors who like to use wireless headphones when working on their projects in public.
Another significant upgrade from the 2017 models is the introduction of True Tone displays, both on the main screen and the Touch Bar. Just like the latest displays on the iPad and iPhone X, the new MacBook Pros will now adjust to match the color temperature for more natural viewing.
New 13-inch models start at $1,799, but it’s important to note that the 13-inch models without the Touch Bar have remained unchanged following today’s upgrades. 15-inch models start at $2,399 in the United States, are are available to order online and from the Apple Store now.
MORE NEW MACS ON THE WAY
Apple made the unusual move of announcing its latest MacBook Pro lineup without the typical fanfare of a new product rollout. Many fans and critics were expecting Apple to announce a new lineup of MacBooks at a special October event. However, while the new Pro machines have already been unveiled, some still expect Apple to refresh the rest of its Mac line soon.
According to reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is set to refresh its entire Mac lineup later in the year, to coincide with the release of a brand new iPhone X and Apple
Watch. As well as a three brand new iPhones (a refresh of the iPhone X, an iPhone X Plus, and a lower-cost iPhone) and a new iPad Pro with Face ID, Apple is expected to launch a new Mac Mini with an upgraded processor. It would be the first upgrade for the pint-sized Mac in more than three years and would appease budgetconscious consumers who want to enjoy Apple’s macOS operating system while being able to use their own hardware, like a custom monitor, keyboard and mouse.
The MacBook Pro refresh has already been announced, as predicted by Ming-Chi
Kuo just a couple of days prior, but a new MacBook processor upgrade is also expected. To complement Apple’s entry-level 12-inch MacBook machines, a new low-price notebook is expected to be added to the Mac family. While the analyst first predicted that Apple would sell the new device under the MacBook Air name, it’s now believed that it will be an entry-level MacBook instead, signaling that Apple’s iconic MacBook Air products may be coming to the end of their shelf life.
The iMac received some love last year when it announced a true professional desktop solution for editors and designers with the iMac Pro,
but it’s now believed that Apple will refresh the rest of the iMac lineup. According to Kuo, Apple will give the iMac range a “significant display performance upgrade” and that, like the other Mac refreshes, the iMac processing power will also be boosted.
While Kuo doesn’t give details on when Apple will release the rest of its new Macs, many predict that the company will save the new units for a special event in October, alongside a new set of iPads. The run-up to the holiday season is a particularly lucrative period, so if Apple brings the goods with a whole host of new hardware, it will no doubt have a winning earnings quarter.
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