The MacBook Pro 2019 refresh is an upgrade from its 2018 predecessor, but there are still many MacBook users that are getting fed up with recent moves that Apple’s made. The Cupertino company has been releasing new MacBook Pros and other Apple devices faster than we can replenish our bank accounts. And, while some of these upgrades have resulted in better devices – hats off to you, Mac mini – many of them are falling a bit flat.
These updates are all due to Apple changing the way it approached the MacBook Pro back in 2016, focusing on features that make one of the best Macs more accessible to everyday users by further streamlining the design. This is perhaps why Apple got rid of all the non-Thunderbolt 3 ports. And, the MacBook Pro is certainly a case of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.
However, there are plenty of old-school Apple users that are being alienated by Apple’s latest design philosophy. To be fair, the MacBook Pro 2018 did benefit from a significant internal revamp, now rocking 8th-generation Coffee Lake processors and some of the fastest SSDs we’ve seen to date, giving it unprecedented speed. Additionally, Apple has improved the display with True Tone tech, as well as fixed the issues with the Butterfly keyboard – or some of them at least. It did all that while maintaining the impressive battery levels of the 2017 model.
As of July 2019, these are true as well for the 13-inch MacBook Pro entry-level model, which – thanks to a recent refresh – now touts the 8th-generation Intel Core i5 chip, True Tone Retina display and the improved keyboard – not to mention the Touch Bar, Touch ID and Apple’s T2 security chip.
Even better, Apple has also released 15-inch MacBook Pro configurations that tout the latest 8-core Intel Core i9, Intel’s latest 9th generation processor (CPU). These configurations are now Apple’s top-of-the-line MacBook Pros, the cheapest of which supports the 2.3GHz 8‑core 9th‑generation Intel Core i9 (Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz) CPU with 16GB memory (RAM), a Radeon Pro 560X graphics (GPU) and 512GB SSD storage at $2,799 (£2,699, A$4,099).
The end of the Butterfly
What do these latest improvements mean for the 16-inch MacBook Pro 2019 we've also been anticipating? Recent rumors have reinforced the possibility of a true redesign gracing us with its presence this year, perhaps alongside the new Mac Pro 2019.
However, Apple might opt to roll out a completely new model in 2020 or 2021.
Regardless, the true MacBook Pro 2019 could still happen, especially because the 12-inch MacBook was recently dropped from the lineup.
Famed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has produced some leaks that suggest Apple is going to release a 16-inch MacBook Pro 2019 with an “all-new” design, and that could still happen this year.
Plus, we’re still keeping our fingers crossed they’ll give that still-pesky keyboard a redesign, and recent reports are looking good in that regard.
If the completely overhauled MacBook Pro 2019 is still in the works, here are the things we’re hoping to see.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The first-ever 16-inch MacBook Pro
- When is it out? Possibly late 2019
- How much will it cost? Reports say around $3,000 (about £2,450, AU$4,350)
MacBook Pro 2019 release date
While a 2019 follow-up redesign to the MacBook Pro (as well as the Mac Pro) is still something many Apple fans are looking forward to, there’s only a vague "2019" rumored release date at this time. That’s hardly a surprise since the last major update came out in July 2018, and Apple just dropped its 9th-gen Intel Core CPU configurations and a 13-inch MacBook Pro July 2019 refresh.
Still, it would be curious to see macOS Catalina in an overhauled MacBook Pro. We might need to wait a few more months for a clearer date, or even a confirmation that it will happen, but rumors and reports are piling up.
If we’re going by Apple’s previous release dates – with the MacBook Pro 2017 launching in June 2017 and the MacBook Pro 2018 model debuting under the radar in July 2018 – a summer release for the MacBook Pro 2019 made sense.
We must consider that, after Intel announced the 10nm Ice Lake chips at CES 2019 for a late 2019 release date, and Apple's macOS Catalina is set for a fall release – not to mention the fact that it just gave the 15-inch model a 9th-gen refresh and the 13-inch model an 8th-gen and Touch Bar refresh. With these two factors in mind, we could see Apple release the MacBook Pro somewhere around then to take advantage of the new tech and operating system update immediately.
The possibility of a redesigned MacBook Pro in 2019 is shaky still, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed. We'll be keeping a close eye on Apple's forgone iPhone event in September – if not, we could be looking at an October or even November launch of this 16-inch MacBook Pro.
MacBook Pro 2019 price
Just the fact that Apple has refreshed its non-Touch Bar MacBook Pros this July 2019 to boast a higher processor, a better keyboard, and the Touch Bar and Touch ID features says a lot about the direction in which they’re going.
The worst part of the 2019 models is the fact that you need to spend thousands of dollars to secure the highest amount of RAM (the 32GB RAM option is only available to the 15-inch models) and the largest SSD combo. Otherwise, you’re stuck with smallest amount of RAM and a Touch Bar that isn’t even universally compatible.
You can also forget about upgrading your 13-inch. The majority of its parts are soldered, so you’ll be forced to bring in a professional and break your warranty. You also may have to buy a third-party docking station since the only ports available to you are the USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports and a headphone jack.
Of course, it’s hard to predict these things, but you’ll probably see more of the same price tags. Currently, the base model of a 13-inch MacBook Pro gets you an 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, 128GB SSD storage and the integrated Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645. The good news is that this entry level 13-inch model sticks with the same price tag at $1,299 (£1,299, AU$1,999), despite its recent upgrades.
As far as the 15-inch’s 9th gen Intel Core i9 configurations, which currently start at $2,399 (£2,399, A$3,499), we’d like to keep its price while still getting its design refresh.
A Chinese technology site has recently reported the 16-inch MacBook Pro to start around $3,000 (about £2,450, AU$4,350). Later, analyst Ming Chi-Kuo reported improvements to the keyboard with a new scissor switch design. It may seem outlandish to you, but but "$2,999" sounds like a fine price for Apple to go with.
- Check out our guide on how to reset a MacBook Pro
What we want to see from MacBook Pro 2019
Apple hasn’t been getting a lot of love lately, what with the great keyboard debacle of 2016 through 2019, the problematic Touch Bar and the soldered RAM, to name a few. However, we’re still hoping that Apple takes a new lease on life in 2019, and actually offer its loyal fans some of the things they need and not upsell them on things they don’t need. And, so far, it does look promising.
More port variety, please
If Apple’s going to insist on sticking with only Thunderbolt 3, at least include a docking station or an adapter for USB, Mini DisplayPort and HDMI without an additional charge. You know, instead of making us shell out more money for a third-party one.
Though if we’re really being honest, limiting us to Thunderbolt 3 is inconvenient. MacBook Pro is for professionals who are looking for a seamless workflow. Yes, the Thunderbolt 3 is efficient, powerful and versatile, offering a port for charging as well as super fast output and data transfers. But many of us are still using devices and accessories that don’t support it. If we’re expected to connect this cable to that adapter to plug in to that other port, Apple cannot expect us to be happy about it.
And, is it possible to bring back MagSafe charging? Some of us tend to trip over those cables, and it was nice to know that we wouldn’t damage those older models by doing so.
Seeing as how Apple launched the latest MacBook Air with just two Thunderbolt 3 ports and no MagSafe charger, chances are slim that Apple is going to diversify the ports on the MacBook Pro 2019. So, what we’re really gunning for now is a docking station or an adapter out of the box.
Improved Touch Bar
When it comes to the new Touch Bar, it seems that Apple is standing its ground. In fact, every single current MacBook Pro model and configuration now has it. Despite grievances from many users and the fact that many others would be happier without it, Apple has completely phased out the non-Touch Bar MacBook Pros.
That’s all fine and dandy, and, we admit, the technology is promising. However, if Apple is going to ask for a few hundred bucks for a new feature, we’d like to maximize its use. So far, Touch Bar compatibility is only limited to a few programs and apps, and we demand to see more added to this list if it’s here to stay. Plus, it would be nice to get it properly working sans the freezes and fat finger issues.
Offer an alternative
Again, the Touch Bar shows promise, but it isn’t exactly something that most users need. Not all of us are photographers or filmmakers or artists. Some use just use their MacBook Pros for productivity because of its streamlined interface and user-friendliness, and those folks – the mainstream consumers that Apple is now starting to include in their target market – don’t have a need for a Touch Bar at all. In fact, it might only get in the way and cost them extra for something they’ll hardly use.
We’d like to see an option for such users. We’d like Apple to resuscitate the Touch Bar-free models, and price them cheaper than their Touch Bar counterparts.
Better keyboard, display and sound
Sure, Apple has refined the keyboard so that it’s quieter, but it’s still stiffer than what we’re used to, has less travel than most keyboards and still annoyingly loud. As far as ergonomics, the new keyboard isn’t the best. It’s not that we hate it, but it’s certainly harder to love. Of course, we could get used to its quirks, but we’d rather see a better one, especially since we’re already paying a lot. Better yet, Apple could bring back the old design most of us are partial to, which now seems likely.
In addition, MacBook Pro designers should take cues from the iPhone X and phase out the bezeled design. That’s a lot of valuable real estate wasted, and rolling out a bezel-free screen will give users a bigger display without having to sacrifice size. Additionally, by going bezel-free, it’ll give the update a fresher, more modern look. Also, a laptop designed to edit 4K media should have a 4K screen option – though, we're hearing that 3K is going to be this laptop's game.
And, while Apple’s at it, we’d like to see it reconsider those speakers. We get that Apple is going for a thinner design, but the speakers in the older MacBook Pros are considerably better. With all that technology they come up with, it wouldn’t be that hard to get a premium set of speakers that are louder and have better bass.
New Intel processor
The MacBook Pro 2018 just got updated with Kaby Lake Refresh and Coffee Lake on the 13-inch, and with the 9th-generation chips on the 15-inch. Unfortunately, Intel has already pushed out Whiskey Lake and Amber Lake processors – putting some of the MacBook Pro configurations behind the curve, if only just barely. Whiskey Lake, after all, only provides a minimal boost to performance that most users won’t notice.
At CES 2019, however, Intel announced Ice Lake, its first round of 10nm Sunny Cove processors for laptops. These chips have already begun shipment, and we’re hoping that Apple already has plans to include these next-gen CPUs in the 16-inch MacBook Pro 2019.
If (and, hopefully, when) that happens, we’d like to see Apple offering both 9th-gen and 10th-gen configurations, as well as awarding one of its 13-inch model a 9th-gen Coffee Lake Refresh configuration.
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