Why it matters: Lack of updates to its entire Mac line and keyboard reliability issues have marred Apple's image in the eyes of many professionals. Apple has to prove to professionals and consumers alike that it cares about the Mac and that it's worth paying its premium prices.
Apple has faced criticism recently for its lack of processor updates on the MacBook Pro line despite most of its Windows PC competitors upgrading their respective models. The company also had to deal with keyboard reliability issues with the butterfly switches. These issues have kept many would-be Apple customers from purchasing new MacBook Pros. However, Apple is finally dealing with one of those issues with its update to the 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.
While the MacBook Pros themselves haven't been redesigned, they offer more than just spec bumps. The 15-inch model gets the new 6-core, 8th generation i7 and i9 Intel chips with turbo boosts up to 4.8Ghz. The RAM can be as much as 32GB of DDR4 memory and GPUs are, of course, discrete AMD Radeon Pros with 4GB of video memory. For those who need maximum storage, the 15-inch can handle up to 4TB of storage. Pricing starts at $2,399 but can be as much as $6,699 if you fully max out.
The 13-inch gets quad-core i5 and i7 chips that turbo up to 4.5Ghz. Those CPUs are paired with integrated Iris Plus 655 graphics. Storage can be maxed out at 2TB. Pricing starts at $1,799.
Aside from the spec increases, the MacBook Pros also have True Tone displays, iPad technology that allows the screen to dynamically shift color temperature based on the color temperature of the room. Another feature ported from iOS includes being able to invoke the "Hey, Siri" phrase to activate Siri instead of a keyboard shortcut. The Touch Bar (which also supports True Tone) and other security features are now powered by a new "T2" chip.
Let's talk about these keyboards. Apple says that the keyboards in this 2018 update contain "third-generation" butterfly switches. There's no indication that these were re-engineered to be more reliable but they are quieter. Apple insists that the keyboard reliability issues only affect a tiny fraction of MacBook Pro users. Also, If you're not a fan of the shallow key travel, you'll be disappointed to know that it hasn't changed.
The new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros are available for purchase today. Unfortunately, these updates only affect the models with Touch Bars and there's no word as to if or when Apple will update the non-Touch Bar MacBook Pros.