The week before a World Wide Developer Conference can sometimes have new items become known. The release for these is because the items will not be discussed at the WWDC keynote. This year there are two hardware updates and a service update.
16-inch MacBook Pro Graphics
The first update is for the 16-inch MacBook Pro. There is a new graphics option available. You can now configure a 16-inch MacBook Pro with an AMD Radeon 5600M with 8GB of HBM2 memory. The other options available are all GDDR6 memory. The difference with the HBM2 memory is that it has more bandwidth available and ideally suited for Artificial Intelligence and advanced computing, like Machine Learning. Typically, HBM2 is more expensive than GDDR6 and this new option will cost you $800 to add to a 16-inch MacBook Pro.
Mac Pro SSD Kit
If you are using the high-end of the high-end, the Mac Pro, there is a new kit for you, the SSD Kit. The SSD Kit for the Mac Pro will allow you to swap out the internal storage on your Mac Pro. The SSD Kit comes in 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, or 8TB kits. Once you have purchased your SSD Kit you can see how to install the new SSD with Apple’s support article.
Apple Card Payments
When you want to go and purchase that new 16-inch MacBook Pro, you may want to be able to use your Apple Card and finance it. Previously you could finance an iPhone over 24 months, but now you can finance other products as well. You can finance a HomePod, AirPods, and the Apple TV for six months, or an iPad or Mac for 12 months. When you do this, you get the Apple Pay Cash right up front.
The inclusion of the new hardware options will be great for pro users who can benefit from the options and can significantly enhance their productivity. For those who may not be able to utilize the hardware, you can use the monthly payments option on your purchase of a Mac, iPad, HomePod, or AirPods, in addition to an iPhone.
Yesterday Apple unveiled a replacement for the 15.4-inch MacBook Pro, the 16-inch MacBook Pro. The 16-inch MacBook Pro takes form factor of the 15.4-inch model and enhances it. The 16-inch MacBook Pro still comes with a Touch Bar.
There is a change that cannot be expressed in words. To quote from Apple’s press release,
The 16-inch MacBook Pro introduces a completely redesigned six-speaker, high-fidelity sound system designed to bring musicians, podcasters and video editors the most advanced audio experience ever in a notebook. New Apple-patented force-canceling woofers use dual opposed speaker drivers to reduce unwanted vibrations that distort sound. As a result, music sounds more clear and natural than ever before, and the bass can go half an octave deeper. An upgraded high-performance mic array delivers a 40 percent reduction in hiss and an improved signal-to-noise ratio that rivals that of popular professional-grade digital microphones, delivering super-clean recordings that capture even the quietest details.
One of the biggest, and most needed, changes is the keyboard. The old style keyboard which was introduced in 2016 has been replaced with a Magic Keyboard. The mechanism that you type on was previously a butterfly switches. This has been replaced with the traditional scissor switches. This change should reduce the overall issues that have affected the keyboards, but only time will be able to tell if that is really the case.
The keyboard has two additional features that many users have been asking for. The first is a physical escape key. Many developers will be glad to see this key return, as they are constantly using it. The second keyboard feature that many users have wanted is the “inverted t” arrangement for the arrow keys. The return of inverted-t arrangement will allow users to easily identify which key they are pressing.
One thing that has changed, but may be more of a subtle change is the new screen. The screen is larger than the previous model and has a P3 Color Gamut, still 500 nits of brightness, but it does have a resolution of 3072 by 1920. The screen will also now support a wider range of refresh rates. The supported rates are 47.95Hz, 48.00Hz, 50.00Hz, 59.94Hz, and 60.00Hz.
There are two models of 16-inch MacBook Pro. The first comes with a 2.6GHz 6‑core Intel Core i7 processor and the AMD Radeon 5300M graphics card, 512GB of SSD storage. The second model comes with a 2.3GHz 8-core Intel Core i9 processor and the AMD Radeon 5500M graphics card with 4GB of memory and 1TB of storage.
These are configurable to a 2.4GHz 8-core Intel Core i9 processor and an AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with either 4GB or 8GB of memory. The possibilities for upgrading the storage have increased as well. You now have the options of a1TB, 2TB, 4TB, or 8TB SSD.
There have been some reviews of the new 16-inch MacBook Pro. Most notably from Marco Arment, John Gruber, and Rene Ritchie. There is one last thing, Jonathan Morrison was able to sit down with Apple’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, Phil Schiller to discuss the MacBook Pro.
As mentioned earlier, the 16-inch MacBook Pro model replaces the 15.4-inch model. The new line-up consists of the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the 16-inch MacBook Pro. The 16-inch MacBook Pro is available for order today starting at $2399. The second model starts at $2799.
It is good to see Apple providing the features that their professional users want in devices. Hopefully, this is just the first step in making their laptops even better.
I am not sure if I will end up getting one at some point or not. My early-2015 MacBook Pro is still working, but is limited in terms of storage space, time will tell. If I do end up getting one, I will be sure to review it.
Today Apple released updates to the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro. Let us look at each, starting with the MacBook Air.
When it was introduced in 2008 it was the lightest laptop Apple had made to date. It famously fit into standard manilla envelope. Since then, the MacBook Air has been a favorite of many Apple laptop purchasers. When it was first introduced it was more expensive than other models, like the MacBook, but it was intended to be lighter than any other laptop. The form factor of the MacBook Air remained largely unchanged until last year when Apple introduced the new MacBook Air with an all new design similar to the MacBook Pros. Apple kept the older 13-inch MacBook Air around, because it was $999 and that is a great price point.
Today’s MacBook Air updates builds upon last year’s model and adds a couple of features. The first is the screen has been updated to be a True Tone display. A True Tone display allows you to see colors even better than before.
The second change the storage options available. Last year you could get 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1.5TB of storage. These options have been modified. the 1.5TB option is gone and has been replaced with a 1TB option instead.
The last big change is that the price has dropped $100. This means that the base model MacBook Air now starts at $1099. This is still $100 higher than the old-style MacBook Air. If you are a college student you can get a MacBook Air starting at $999, so you can still get the price, but you have to be a college student.
The other items are still the same. The screen size, color options, and weight all remain the same. Now let us look at the MacBook Pro.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro has seen a bit more of a change than the MacBook Air. The Pro is designed to be the device that those who need a bit more power will purchase. The MacBook Pro has seen some big changes.
The first of these changes is that now all 13-inch MacBook Pro models include the Touch Bar. Previously, only the higher end models would include the Touch Bar. The inclusion of the Touch Bar means that all MacBook Pros now come with the T2 security chip. Having a T2 security chip results in better security, like having encryption for your SSD automatically enabled. This is definitely a welcome one, for those security minded individuals.
The second change is the processor. There are four starting points for the 13-inch MacBook Pro. The two less expensive models now have a 1.4GHz 8th generation Intel processor. The previous models were 2.3GHz, which may seem like a downgrade in terms of speed, and it might be. However, the new MacBook Pros are quad-core processors with 128MB of eDRAM. The previous models were dual-core with 64MB of eDRAM. These can be configured for a 1.7GHz processor.
With the processor upgrade, the graphics on the base-models have also been updated. It now has an Intel Iris Plus 645, instead of the 640 that last year’s models had.
The storage within the MacBook Pros have also changed. You are now able to configure the base model with 128GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB drives. Previously these topped out at 1TB. The option for a 2TB drive will definitely be welcome for some users.
There have been a couple other changes which are worth noting. The first of these is that the 12-inch MacBook is no longer for sale. With the 13-inch MacBook Air being released last year, the MacBook was a bit of an oddity. The screen size was smaller, it did not have Thunderbolt and it had not been updated since 2015. Some may be sad to see it go, but who knows what will happen in the future.
The second change to be discussed is pricing for upgrading storage on all Macs. With today’s updates, the price of storage has changed. Prices are now at least $200 less expensive than they were before. A drop in price for storage is always welcome and should result in some opting for larger storage for their Macs. This change applies to all Macs, not just the newly released MacBook Air and MacBook Pros.
Today’s updates are solid updates. The new MacBook Air includes a True Tone display and is cheaper than last year’s model. With the price drop on storage, you may be able to get more storage for less than before, which is always good to see.
The base-model MacBook Pros now includes the Touch Bar, 8th generation Intel processors, and you have more storage options than before.
If you are in the market for a new Mac, now is the time to purchase. This is particularly true if you are looking for a laptop for college, because you get an extra $100 off.
At the WWDC 2019 Keynote Apple unveiled a whole lot with their operating systems, tvOS, watchOs, iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. However, they also showed a preview of the all new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR. Let us look at each of these in turn. These will not be super in-depth dives into the products, but just a general overview.
The Mac Pro has always been for the most power hungry of applications. This could be anything from video editing to audio production or even building machine learning models. The Mac Pro is not designed to be a consumer device, not in the slightest.
The Mac Pro has an all new chassis. It is made of Stainless Steel and should accommodate a variety of different components. The front and back of the case have vents that are designed to allow air to flow over the components. The cooling with will be needed.
The Mac Pro is designed to be a powerhouse. To this end it comes with a variety of processor options. This ranges from an 8-core processor up to a 28-core processor. The different options are 8, 12, 16, 24, and 28-core options. The base speeds are 3.5GHz, 3.3GHz, 3.2GHz, 2.7GHz, and 2.5GHz, respectively. The turbo speeds are 4.4GHz, except for the 8-core which tops out at 4.0GHz.
The motherboard consists of eight PCI Express slots. This includes four double-wide slots, three single-wide slots, and one half-length slot, which is pre-configured with Apple’s own I/O card.
One of the main uses of the Mac Pro is for use with graphically heavy tasks. This includes video editing. The Mac Pro has you covered there too. Apple has created a new module, called the Mac Pro Expansion Module, or MPX Module.
The MPX Module is designed to provide even more power, up to 500 Watts. This is done by taking a standard PCI Express and adding a second connector to integrate thunderbolt and provide even more capabilities. You then take the connector and connect a second graphics for even more processing. Yes, you can get two Radeon Pro Vega II graphics cards in a single MPX module. You can even have two of these modules in the Mac Pro.
The three options available for graphics cards are the Radeon Pro 580X, the Radeon Pro Vega II, and the Radeon Pro Vega II Duo.
There is even more graphics processing available with the Mac Pro with a new product called Afterburner
Afterburner is an Apple-designed hardware accelerator with over one million logic cells that can process up to 6.3 billion pixels per second. What does this mean? It means that you can process three streams of 8K ProRes RAW or 12 streams of 4K ProRes Raw, simultaneously.
The Mac Pro come with 256GB of storage standard, but can be configured for 1TB, 2TB, or 4TB. All of this is encrypted with the built-in T2 Security Chip. So everything will be more secure, to the booting of macOS to the items stored on the Mac Pro.
The Mac Pro comes with four Thunderbolt 3 ports, two USB-A ports, and two 10Gb Ethernet ports. It should also be noted that there is in fact a 3.5mm Headphone connection should you require one. It also comes with 802.11AC wireless, and Bluetooth 5.0.
One topic we have not looked at is the amount of memory that the Mac Pro can have. It can be configured for up to 1.5TB of ECC memory. The 8, 12, and 16-core processors can support up to 1TB, while the 24-core and 28-core processors can support the 1.5TB. All of this memory runs at 2933MHz, except for the 8-core which is 2666MHz. All of the RAM is DDR4.
In order to be able to power everything in the Mac Pro it comes with a 1.4 Kilowatt power supply. This should be able to handle pretty much everything that you can include in the Mac Pro.
Dimensions and Weight
The Mac Pro is not a small machine. It is approximately 21-inches tall by 18 inches deep by 8.6 inches wide. For the more metric minded this is 53cm tall, 45cm deep, and 22cm wide. If you include the optional wheels the height comes to 21.9 inches, or approximately 56cm tall.
The Mac Pro comes in at almost 40 pounds, or 18 kilograms. This is not a light machine.
The base Price of the Mac Pro is $5999. This is for an 8-core machine with 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage.
To go with the new Mac Pro is a whole new Display, the Pro Display XDR.
Pro Display HDR
When Apple discontinued the Cinema Display line, it was presumed that Apple would get out of the display business, except for its own integrated displays. This was the original plan, however when it came to building a new Mac Pro, they had to have a display to go with it.
The Pro Display XDR is a behemoth. It is a 32-inch display Retina 6K Display. It can support up to 1600 nits of brightness with a contrast ratio of 1 million to 1.
The Pro Display XDR goes beyond traditional High Dynamic Range and provides even more. It does this by providing 1000 nits of full-screen sustained brightness. You get 10-bit color and the P3 wide-color gamut for those times when you need to have just the right color. There is also a wider viewing angle than most displays, which Apple states is 25x better for off-axis contrast as compared to a typical LCD.
One area that can become problematic for users is glare. To work against this Apple has crated a Matte version of its display that includes an etched Nano-texture glass which will reduce the glare and significantly reduce the hazing that can be seen with other matte finishes.
Each display is calibrate at the factor and should produce the best image possible.
There is some connectivity on the Pro Display XDR as well. It includes one Thunderbolt 3/USB-C port, and three USB-C ports. The Thunderbolt port is so you can connect it to your Mac and the USB-C ports allow you to charge and connect devices. These devices will only run at USB2 speeds though, not USB3. This means that you can use the Display for expansion or connecting other accessories.
One accessory for the Pro Display XDR is the stand. The Pro Stand can be adjusted for height, tile, and it can even rotate so you can view something in Portrait if you need to.
The Pro Display XDR starts at $4999, that is without the Pro Stand, which is another $999. The Matte Finish for the Mac Pro display is $5999. The VESA mount is $199.
The Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR are not meant for consumers, and the prices reflect this. The Mac Pro is designed to allow professionals get the most out of their machines. The range of options, along with the modularity, means that professionals will be able to configure their Mac Pro to their exact needs, from the most basic to the most extreme.
The Pro Display XDR is the monitor of monitors. It supports a whole range of capabilities, including 10-bit color, P3 Color Display, and the price reflects that.
If you were to get a base model Mac Pro, a Pro Display XDR with the Stand, it will set you back almost $12,000 and that’s just the base price. It goes up from there. For those who need it, it looks like the Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR will be a great solution. They should both be available this fall.
Today Apple released an update to some of MacBook Pro laptops. Specifically, the MacBook Pros with Touch Bar. These are minor updates, and are only updates of the processors. There is also a change surrounding the keyboard, but more on that in a bit.
The 13-inch MacBook Pros with Touch Bar have gotten a processor bump. You now get an 8th generation 2.4GHz quad-core Core i5 processor with 128GB of eDRAM. You can configure a 2.8GHz quad-core Core i7 with 128GB of eDRAM. The remainder of the items like the memory, video card, and storage all remain the same as the previous models.
The 15-inch MacBook Pro models has two different tiers. The less expensive tier comes with a 9th Generation 2.6GHz six-core Core i7 processor. The improvement with the processor comes with the L3 cache, which has 33% more, at 12MB. The more expensive tier comes with a 9th Generation 8-core 2.3GHz Core i9 processor with 16MB of L3 Cache. This is an increase of 77%, up from 9MB.
Both of these 15-inch are configurable with an 8-core 2.4GHz Core-i9 processor. The remainder of the items like memory, video card, and storage remain the same as the previous models.
Apple indicates that these new processors are twice as fast as the previous quad-core models, and 40% faster than the 6-core models.
I am going to quote Matthew Panzarino of TechCrunch:
Today, however, they told me they’re taking three explicit steps to help with the keyboard situation:
The MacBook Pro keyboard mechanism has had a materials change in the mechanism. Apple says that this new keyboard mechanism composition will substantially reduce the double-type/no-type issue. Apple will not specify what it has done, but doubtless tear-downs of the keyboard will reveal what has been updated.
Though Apple believes this change will greatly reduce the issue, it is also including all butterfly keyboards across its notebook line in its Keyboard Service Program. This means that current MacBook Pros and even the models being released today will have keyboard repairs covered at no cost, in warranty and out of warranty.
Apple tells me that repair times for keyboards have been longer than they would like. It is making substantial improvements to repair processes in Apple Stores to make repairs faster for customers with issues.
These new MacBook Pros are available for order today. The processor updates are minor ones, but it is good to see Apple keeping the processors up to date. More importantly, I think it is good to see Apple taking real action with the keyboards. Will this new keyboard ultimately fix the problems that have been occurring with the MacBook Pros? We will not know for a while, or until Casey Johnston tries out the new MacBook Pros and see if she has any issues, because she seems to be the one who has the most experience with the problematic keyboards.