MacBook Pro 2019: what we want to see

 In Computing

While the MacBook Pro 2018 is definitely an upgrade from the 2017 version, there are still a considerable number of MacBook users that are starting to get tired of Apple’s recent moves. Apple is still releasing new MacBook Pros and other devices faster than our bank accounts can keep up. And, while some of these upgrades have resulted in better devices – looking at you, Mac mini – some of these updates are falling flat.

These updates are all due to Apple approaching the MacBook Pro in a different way, which started in 2016, focusing on features that make one of the best Macs more appealing to everyday users by further streamlining the design. This is likely why Apple got rid of all non-Thunderbolt 3 ports. The MacBook Pro is certainly a case of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, but there are plenty of old-school Apple users that are being alienated by Apple’s latest design philosophy.

However, the MacBook Pro 2018 did benefit from a considerable internal revamp, now rocking 8th-generation Coffee Lake processors and some of the fastest SSDs we’ve seen to date – granting 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, all while maintaining battery levels from the 2017 model.

At the time of writing in 2019, Apple has released 15-inch MacBook Pro configurations that tout the latest 8-core Intel Core i9, Intel’s newest 9th generation processor (CPU). These configurations are now Apple’s top-of-the-line models, as far as MacBook Pros are concerned, the cheapest of which supports its 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 rest of Apple’s lineup of MacBook Pro models – save for the 13-inch version sans Touch Bar – has received similar improvements with no changes to pricing.

What does this latest update mean for the MacBook Pro 2019? Well, it does lessen the probability of a true redesign gracing us with its presence, with Apple opting instead to push the release of a completely new model in 2020 or 2021. But, it doesn’t eliminate those chances completely.

The MacBook Pro 2019 that we were expecting could still happen, which might benefit those users who are badly in need of an upgrade but have delayed doing so due to the 2017 and 2018 models’ less favorable features. Only, it won’t likely get any major revamps. 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. And, we’re still keeping our fingers crossed they’ll do give that still-pesky keyboard an overhaul.

If the completely redesigned MacBook Pro 2019 is still in the works, here are the things we’re hoping to see.

Cut to the chase

MacBook Pro 2019

Image Credit: Apple

MacBook Pro 2019 release date

Although a 2019 follow-up redesign to the MacBook Pro (as well as the Mac Pro) is still something Apple fans are looking forward to, there’s no rumored release date at this time. It’s hardly a surprise since the last update just dropped in July 2018, and Apple just released its 9th-gen Intel Core CPU configurations. We might need to wait a few more months for a clearer date, or even a confirmation that it will happen.

However, if we’re going by Apple’s previous release dates – MacBook Pro 2017 launched in June 2017 while the MacBook Pro 2018 model debuted under the radar in July 2018 – a summer release for the MacBook Pro 2019 makes sense and is highly plausible.

Still we must consider that, after Intel announced the 10nm Ice Lake chips at CES 2019 for a late 2019 release date – not to mention the fact that they just gave their 15-inch model a 9th gen refresh – we could see Apple delay the MacBook Pro until Fall to take advantage of the new tech.

While it looks like the possibility of a redesigned MacBook Pro in 2019 is slimmer than before, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen or see another spec bump later in the year. Though we’re stuck waiting until Apple is ready to share any MacBook Pro 2019 information.

MacBook Pro 2019

Image Credit: TechRadar

MacBook Pro 2019 price

Just the fact that Apple hasn’t upgraded its non-Touch Bar MacBook Pros this year says a lot about the direction they’re going, which is likely to phase them out and continue to make us pay for tech that, while promising, hasn’t been perfected yet.

The worst part of the 2018 models is the fact that you need to spend thousands 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 yet. Photographers and filmmakers who need a bigger screen? You can forget about getting a non-Touch Bar model.

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 basic 13-inch with Touch Bar configuration, which has 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and four Thunderbolt 3 ports, will cost you $1,799 (£1,749, A$2,699). You’re basically paying $300 more for the Touch Bar, Touch ID and two additional Thunderbolt 3 ports.

As far as the 15-inch’s 9th gen Intel Core i9 configurations, which start at $2,799, we’d like to keep its price while still getting its design refresh.

MacBook Pro 2019

Image Credit: Apple

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 the users some of the things they need.

More port variety, please
Or, at least, if Apple’s going to insist on Thunderbolt 3, 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 powerful and versatile, offering a port for charging as well as output and data transfers; but we’re still using many devices and accessories that don’t support it. If we’re expected to connect this cable to that adapter to plug in to that port, Apple cannot expect us to be happy about it.

And, while we’re at it, can we just bring back MagSafe charging, please? 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.

However, 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.

Improved Touch Bar
When it comes to the new Touch Bar, it seems that Apple is standing its ground. Despite many grievances from users and the fact that many other would be happier without it, Apple seems to be in the process of phasing out the MacBook Pros without the Touch Bar. In fact, it’s only the MacBook Pros with Touch Bar that were given the 8th-gen Intel processor and True Tone display upgrades this year.

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.

MacBook Pro 2019

Image Credit: TechRadar

Or 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 the MacBook Pro for productivity because streamlined interface and user-friendliness, and those folks won’t have a need for a Touch Bar at all. In fact, it might only get in the way.

We’d like to see an option for such users. Resuscitate the Touch Bar-free 15-inch model and upgrade the 13-inch model without it, perhaps.

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 and has less travel than most keyboards. 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 the keyboard, but we’d rather see a better one. Better yet, Apple could bring back the old design most of us are partial to.

The 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.

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 the technology they come up with, it would be incredible to get a premium set of speakers that are louder and have better base.

New Intel processor, more memory
The MacBook Pro 2018 just got updated with Kaby Lake Refresh and Coffee Lake on the 13-inch and 15-inch, respectively, with the 15-inch touting an Intel Core i9 configuration. 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. We’re expecting to see these chips in late 2019, so if Apple plans to include these next-gen CPUs in its next MacBooks – and it definitely should – it would need to delay the next MacBook Pro until late 2019.

If and when that happens, we’re hoping to see Apple phasing out its 7th gen Kaby Lake configurations as well as awarding its 13-inch model a 9th gen Coffee Lake configuration.

We’ve also seen rumors that Apple is going to back up whatever processor it uses in the MacBook 2019 with more RAM – particularly in the 13-inch model. Where previous 13-inch MacBook Pros top out at 16GB, word on the street is you’ll be able to get an extremely portable Mac with a whopping 32GB of memory. This is excellent news, as memory demands keep going up year over year.

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