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Apple updates top-end MacBook Pros with tweaked keyboard and faster processors

Apple updates top-end MacBook Pros with tweaked keyboard and faster processors


8-core processors come to the MacBook Pro for the first time

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Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Apple is refreshing its top laptops again by announcing newly updated specs for its 15-inch and 13-inch MacBook Pro models. It’s bringing faster Intel processors and some slight changes to the much-maligned keyboard that Apple says should reduce issues. (More on those here.)

The biggest changes are coming to the 15-inch model, which is getting Intel’s 9th Gen Core processors. The base model now starts with a 2.6GHz, 6-core i7 processor, which can turbo boost up to 4.5GHz. The next-step-up model is getting a 2.3GHz, 8-core i9 processor — the first ever on a MacBook — which can turbo boost up to 4.8GHz. And for those of you who want the most power possible, Apple will also offer a custom top configuration of an even more powerful 8-core i9 chip with a 2.4GHz base speed, which can boost all the way up to 5.0GHz for what Apple calls “the fastest Mac notebook ever.”

No love for the Touch Bar-less MacBook Pro yet again

The 13-inch Touch Bar models are getting similar (albeit less exciting) processor refreshes: the base model now comes with a 2.4GHz 8th Gen quad-core i5 processor that can boost to 4.1GHz. (For comparison, last year’s entry-level option was a 2.3GHz 8th Gen quad-core i5 processor that could boost to 3.8GHz.) There’s a new top configuration as well that features a quad-core i7 processor, which can reach boosted speeds up to 4.7GHz.

The rest of the specs for the two MacBook Pros will otherwise remain unchanged: they will have the same GPUs and integrated graphics options, memory offers, and design. Importantly, Apple said that it hasn’t significantly changed how these laptops handle thermals, which has been second only to the MacBook’s keyboard as a contentious issue among users.

The only other major change is a lightly updated keyboard. Apple says that it’s now building a part of the mechanism with a new material, which should reduce problems, it says, although the design is still otherwise the same third-generation keyboard that was used on the 2018 MacBook Pros and MacBook Air.

Unfortunately, the updated specs — like the 2018 MacBook Pro refresh — are only gracing the company’s Touch Bar models. That means the 13-inch MacBook Pro without a Touch Bar (also known as the “MacBook Escape”) will not get a refresh. It will keep the increasingly outdated dual-core 7th Gen Intel chips and the problematic second-gen keyboard that it’s had since 2017.

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