Apple's mid-year MacBook Pro 2018 update makes now the time to buy

Apple's mid-year MacBook Pro 2018 update makes now the time to buy

It's sometimes tricky working out when to buy your new laptop, unless of course your current one is obviously ready to be retired or has just this morning bit the bullet.

But in the case of Apple's flagship MacBook Pro notebook, that time could be now. Upgrades to the 13-inch and 15-inch machines will hit the streets this week, a year after the last major MacBook Pro release and probably a year ahead of the next significant overhaul.

This mid-life revamp is aimed mainly at the power user brigade courtesy of faster 8th-generation Intel Core ' Coffee Lake' processors, up to 32GB of accelerated DDR4 RAM on the 15-inch model and a much faster solid state drive – in effect blasting away the three main system bottlenecks.

On the outside, everything's the same as it's been since the current MacBook Pro design debuted in 2016 – what's different is under the hood, and there lies some serious grunt.

For the first time, the 13-inch MacBook Pro – which we rate as enjoying the most travel-friendly footprint – packs a quad-core Intel Core processor for double the muscle compared to its 2017 sibling.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro with its six-core processors can now be configured with 32GB of RAM and your choice of Radeon Pro 4GB graphics chips so you've got plenty of headroom when working on complex extra-large project files or switching between a slew of professional apps.

Despite those pumped-up powerplants, battery life remains pegged in the 'all-day' range of 10 hours thanks to a slightly larger battery and faster RAM chips.

Both machines gain what Apple terms True Tone display technology that automatically adjusts the screen's white balance to match ambient lighting levels plus Apple's own T2 security chip for secure boot and on-the-fly encrypted storage.

And if you like talking to your computer, there's also support for hands-free 'Hey Siri' commands to save that oh-so-bothersome process of tapping a key or clicking an icon.

Keyboard warriors will appreciate a revised 'butterfly' design which softens the clackety-clack of earlier models, although we'll have to wait and see if this also improves the keyboard reliability issues which have plagued earlier MacBook Pro machines.

Note that these bump-ups apply only to the MacBook Pros with the TouchBar strip: the more modestly-spec'd 13-inch sans TouchBar remains untouched, although a small price drop will boost its appeal to business travellers looking for a mid-range workhorse machine.

Australian pricing for the mid-2018 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at  $2,699, with the 15-inch MacBook Pro from $3,499.

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

11 comments

  • mviy

    mviy

    16 Jul, 2018 10:18 am

    The price is pretty steep and they should come with more storage capacity for that money imo. It's crazy that Apple continues to offer the same storage capacity on the base models as they have for some years now whilst they've been increasing it on their iOS products.

    Whilst I do want a new Mac at that price I'm going to hold off possibly for as long as I can.
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  • Jay

    ausJCP

    16 Jul, 2018 11:02 am

    The pricing on those machines is nothing short of absurd.
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  • mviy

    mviy

    16 Jul, 2018 11:42 am

    quad-core finally on the 13 inch and six-core on the 15-inch are big improvements. The price point means that I need to wait longer between replacing machines than I would like.
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  • David Townley

    townaz

    16 Jul, 2018 01:45 pm

    They really need to do a 15" version minus the touch bar, no need for such a gimmick. I would prefer a tactile esc key (especially for those in IT that use vim) in lieu of the touch bar.
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  • David Flynn

    David

    16 Jul, 2018 01:55 pm

    Yes, that's one big reason (besides size) that I opted for the 13 inch MacBook Pro sans Touch Bar – for me it's really a bit of a gimmick, I'm quite happy with the standard row of function keys.
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  • -- --

    Bollen

    16 Jul, 2018 02:22 pm

    Who remembers pentium 90 notebooks back in the day that were $9,000 each??

    These prices are in the ballpark of Dell XPS machines. So not that outrageous.
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  • jubsie

    jubsie

    16 Jul, 2018 02:23 pm

    It is very expensive, but my current MacBook Pro has lasted 7 years and is only now crapped out with display issues - was working fine before that albeit slightly reduced battery life. A very good innings in my opinion!
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  • Medon Loupis

    Sibelius

    16 Jul, 2018 05:50 pm

    I'm still using a 2012 MacBook Pro. Admittedly I bought it with a faster-processor option at the time, and I replaced the hard drive with a SSD drive last year, but it's still going strong, and the processor is faster, and the screen better, than many of the entry-level laptops that Apple and its competitors still sell today. I'm perfectly willing to pay a premium for a laptop that lasts 6+ years!
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  • James C

    Carrots

    16 Jul, 2018 03:18 pm

    A little lack lustre, but I guess unsurprising. Thankfully no changes to the non touch bar (phew!).
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  • aggie57

    aggie57

    16 Jul, 2018 03:53 pm

    I just bought a new MacBook Pro, to replace a 2-year old Air. Looked seriously at a Dell XPS 13 but it was within a couple of hundred dollars for the same spec and the MBP is much better built. Of course if I’d waited a couple of weeks!
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  • Medon Loupis

    Sibelius

    16 Jul, 2018 05:46 pm

    If you bought it less than 14 days ago, you're in luck -- Apple has a 14-day, no questions asked, return & refund policy.
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19 Jul, 2019 01:46 am

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