Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pro now officially supports Intel's latest 9th-generation Core processors (CPUs) – specifically, one of its 8-core Intel Core i9 parts at the highest end of its 15-inch configuration. The 8-core MBP is real.
The news comes unceremoniously via a press release from Apple (opens in new tab), with little to nothing else changing about its flagship laptops for professionals and 'prosumers' alike.
Apple has updated the 15-inch MacBook Pro configuration with a six-core Intel Core i7 CPU to start, while the more expensive setup now houses that aforementioned 8-core Intel Core i9 part. Thankfully, Apple's pricing for these models remains unchanged, at $2,399 (£2,349, AU$3,499) and $2,799 (£2,699, AU$4,099) to start, respectively.
What does an 8-core MacBook Pro mean?
To put things into context, Apple has provided some figures as to what this jump from last year's quad-core or 6-core MacBook Pro models means for the end user. Naturally, the 8-core, 15-inch MacBook Pro is twice as fast as the most recent quad-core model, and 40% faster than the previous 6-core configurations.
Of course, basic math could tell you as much.
As for what this means in actual everyday use, Apple promises 75% faster complex edits and filter rendering in Photoshop from the 9th-gen Intel Core i9 CPU than the fastest quad-core MacBook Pro model. Likewise, coders can expect 65% faster compiling in a similar comparison via the Xcode software development tool. Apple even highlights light gaming as a possibility on a 15-inch MacBook Pro, particularly Fortnite.
Beyond this processor bump, it appears that absolutely nothing else about the 15-inch MacBook Pro has changed. Likewise, the only performance changes to the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar are in the processors, to the tune of 300MHz Turbo Boost clock speed increases with 9th-generation Intel Core parts containing the same amount of cores as before.
However, it's likely that these new models contain the keyboard fixes that iFixit uncovered earlier this year in later runs of the 2018 products, which could help with longevity of the crucial, much-maligned aspect of the laptop.
This means that, with everything else equal down to the pixel, upgraders from last year's models will experience an immediately noticeable uptick in performance. However, if you're coming in from anything older than that, you can expect a rather transformative level of increased speed and responsiveness.
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The MacBook Pro 2019 we've been waiting for?
This hardware update comes amidst rumors that Apple will once again revisit its MacBook Pro design with a model sporting a 16-inch display, possibly this year or perhaps not until 2020 or even 2021. The processor bumps that Apple has announced today don't necessarily rule out the chances of us seeing such a device later this year – though, it does certainly produce less favorable odds of such a drastic change in mid- to-late 2019.
It would be a strange move for any laptop maker to issue models with an all-new design in the same year that it would have just released otherwise unchanged ones with the very latest mobile CPUs. If anything, this would only confuse consumers deciding between which model to purchase.
At this point, we'd say that chances are low that we will see this rumored major redesign in 2019, and will likely have to wait until 2020 or even further off into 2021. Perhaps Apple is saving that chassis redesign to house its new ARM-based Mac processors that are reportedly in the works.
Regardless, Apple's lineup of MacBook Pro models is now current and competitive with the trends of competitors – at least when it comes to raw CPU power.
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