Apple does a surprise Macbook Pro refresh, and axes the 2015 model at the same time. You won’t see any changes from the outside, as the chassis and retina display stay exactly the same as before, but the new lineup will see a large performance boost.
Given the choice, what would you buy? Many have complained about the Macbook Pro redesign that was released in 2016, even going so far as to call it just a Macbook, minus the “pro.” Looking at the beautiful but limited chassis, it’s easy to see why, with a missing card reader slot, any USB type A ports and no more full HDMI port.
The problems didn’t end there for the Macbook redesign, as the butterfly keyboard problems gained enough attention to trigger a class action suit. If you were thinking the problem will be fixed with the 2018 model, think again. Although there is a Butterfly version 3 coming out, it will only protect against dust getting inside the keyboard, not the stickiness that so many have reported. Apple is also working on making Butterfly version 3 more quiet. Personally, I love the tactile feel and auditory click I hear when I type. I find it very satisfying. Unfortunately, older model Macbooks and Macbook Pros will not be getting the newer version 3 keyboard if you send it in under the keyboard replacement program.in the case of users who sent in their 2016 models, the problem simply resurfaced again within months.
On the plus side, the 2018 model of the Macbook pro is released with the newest intel processor…at least on some models. If you still decide to buy the 13 inch base model, you’ll be stuck with the 7th generation dual core processor. The $1799 version of the 13 inch model comes with the latest 8th gen processors with 4 cores and 8 threads, and a turbo boost of 3.8 Ghz, compared to 3.6 Ghz on the 7th gen processors. I doubt you’ll really notice the turbo boost difference, but you will notice the additional cores and threads.
The new 2018 model will now include a ram option of 32GB which is great to hear and will certainly make the Macbook Pro a contender for high level work such as video editing. Keep in mind that the 32 GB option is only available on the Macbook 15 inch, along with the 6 core 12 thread processor. If you do want 32 GB of ram, you’ll have to add $400 to the purchase price, for a total of $2799. A PC doesn’t sound so bad afterall looking at that price. The ram is also DDR4, running at 2400 Mhz, which will also help to boost the speed of the 2018 models.
Apple still failed to update the Retina display to full 4K, something PC makers have been doing for years. It’s likely Apple would have to reduce the alleged 10 hours of battery life which they seem loathe to do. Personally, I’d rather have a higher dpi display than longer battery life.
Perhaps what is most surprising is the fact that Apple has been doing a great job of refreshing the Macbook Pro annually since 2016, even if it is slower than the 6 month refresh cycle of similar PC laptops. It appears as if Apple has heard the criticism about stale options regarding it’s lineup, at least with the Macbook and Macbook Pro. Let’s hope the Mac is soon to follow as well with annual hardware refreshes.
On a sad note, the availability of the 2015 Retina model of the Macbook Pro has come to an end with the release of the powerful 2018 version. Dearly missed will be the highly functional chiclet keyboard, the variety of ports, and the lack of a need for a dongle for every single piece of hardware you want to connect. Think of it this way: If Apple added a card reader, a full HDMI port and one USB A port on the 2018 model, we would have a nearly perfect Macbook Pro. Oh, and a magsafe power connector. And a chiclet keyboard.
The 2018 model does support Thunderbolt 3 on all of its USB C ports, which is a great advantage for hardware that can use it. The 2015 model only has Thunderbolt 2, but it does have two ports, without the need for a dongle. Adding to the fact that the 2015 model is now 3 full generations behind in processor design, there’s little reason to pickup a 2015. Geekbench 4 Single core scores on the 2015 13” 2.7 Ghz model came in at 3,544 and multi core at 6743, versus the leaked scores of a 13” 2018 model single core at 4,448, and multicore of 16,607.
There really is no point in even entertaining the idea of buying a Macbook Pro 2015, unless you can find one used for great price and really only need a glorified internet machine. Cost is still a big factor when considering any Macbook however. The Macbook Pro 2018 with the new Coffee lake 4 core process, 16 GB of ram and 512 GB will run you $2199, while a similarly packaged PC laptop with an i7 processor starts at about $1600, a savings of $600.
Is the 2018 refresh enough to run out and buy a new machine if you have a 2016 or 2017 Macbook Pro? It is if you are a heavy user and need the processing power and added memory. I was very surprised how much faster the quad core Yoga 920 was in comparison to the older dual core Yoga 910. The Coffee lake quad core processors have made nearly a 200% performance improvement in some cases, such a video rendering.
Many viewers have told me Apple consumers don’t care about the savings and are locked hard into the Apple ecosystem. Although that is true to some extent, it’s interesting to see the comments I receive from former Mac users who have jumped ship for a PC based laptop, myself included. But that’s a story for another time.