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Posts tagged with "macbook pro"

CNET Interviews Phil Schiller About the New MacBook Pro, iPad Pro, and More

To mark the release of the new 16-inch MacBook Pro, Roger Cheng of CNET interviewed Apple’s Phil Schiller. The interview begins with a discussion of the laptop’s new keyboard but covers the role of the iPad Pro in Apple’s hardware lineup as well as Macs in education too.

According to Schiller, Apple spent a lot of time talking to pro users in the wake of criticisms of the MacBook Pro’s butterfly keyboard and was told that pro users wanted something like the Magic Keyboard available for desktop Macs. Of that process Schiller told CNET:

There’s a bunch of learning that happened. Some because of moving the desktop keyboard to the notebook and some because we just learned more along the way and wanted to further advance the technology.

Conspicuously absent from the interview though is any mention of changing the keyboard in response to the hardware failures that many users reported.

Cheng also asked Schiller where the iPad Pro fits in Apple’s pro lineup and whether there are plans to merge it with the Mac lineup. As Apple executives have told CNET for years, Schiller was clear that the compromises that a hybrid touch-based Mac would require wouldn’t benefit either platform. Specifically with respect to the iPad Pro, Schiller said:

It was literally to create a different product category. A couple years ago, we split off and created the iPad Pro. This has been a wonderful thing because it allowed us to create two models where we can push the technology. It really accelerated the use cases for iPad.

So now there are a lot of cases where people will use iPad, especially with Pencil, as an artist-creation tool or as a field-compute tool. What we find is there’s a fair number of people who actually spend more of their compute time on their iPad than personal computer. They didn’t choose one or the other. That’s just where they spent a lot of their time.

It’s refreshing to hear Schiller push back on the notion that Macs and iPads will inevitably merge or that consumers need to choose between the two. As someone who uses a Mac and an iPad Pro, I know that’s nonsense, but I also understand that a ‘winner-takes-all’ narrative is more entertaining.

The interview closes with a short discussion of the Mac in the education market where it has struggled at times against Chromebooks. As a parent who’s seen two of my kids learn to code on a Mac while a cheap, locked-down Chromebook sits idle in my house, except when it’s used to turn in assignments and take tests, this from Schiller resonated with me as true:

Kids who are really into learning and want to learn will have better success. It’s not hard to understand why kids aren’t engaged in a classroom without applying technology in a way that inspires them. You need to have these cutting-edge learning tools to help kids really achieve their best results.

Yet Chromebooks don’t do that. Chromebooks have gotten to the classroom because, frankly, they’re cheap testing tools for required testing. If all you want to do is test kids, well, maybe a cheap notebook will do that. But they’re not going to succeed.

Don’t miss Roger Cheng’s full interview on CNET with Schiller. It’s one of the best articulations of Apple’s pro hardware perspective and the place of the iPad in the company’s hardware lineup that I’ve read in a long while.

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Apple Announces New 16” MacBook Pro with Redesigned Keyboard, Thinner Display Bezels, and Updated Processors

Apple has announced a new 16-inch model of the MacBook Pro that features a redesigned keyboard with keys that use a scissor mechanism, a larger screen with thinner bezels, and 9th generation Intel Core i7 and i9 processors. The new model replaces the existing 15-inch MacBook Pro.

Rumored since early this year, the new laptop is almost identical in size to the 15-inch MacBook Pro, which is 0.61 inches (1.55 cm) tall, 13.75 inches (34.93 cm) wide, and 9.48 inches (24.07 cm) deep. In contrast, the new 16-inch model is 0.64 inches (1.62 cm) tall, 14.09 inches (35.79 cm) wide, and 9.68 inches (24.59 cm) deep. The new MacBook Pro is also heavier, weighing in at 4.3 pounds (2.0 kg) compared to the 15-inch laptop, which is 4.02 pounds (1.83 kg).

The slight increase in size is thanks primarily to the reduction of the new MacBook Pro’s display bezels, which have been virtually eliminated. The laptop features a new high-resolution display too, which Apple lists as 3072 x 1920 pixels with a 226 ppi pixel density. The display is driven by new AMD Radeon Pro 5000M series graphics. Also, the MacBook Pro boasts significantly-improved 6-speaker setup and high-quality microphones to capture less background noise when recording.

Apple has also returned to a scissor mechanism for the new MacBook Pro’s keyboard. It remains to be seen whether the updated design is an improvement over the butterfly mechanism used for the past few years in Apple’s laptops. Before the company moved to the butterfly mechanism, which allowed for reduced key-travel and, consequently, thinner devices, a scissor keyboard mechanism was used in the MacBook Pro.

The keyboard on Apple’s latest pro-level laptop is also notable because it features the return of a physical escape key. The escape key was eliminated in Touch Bar-enabled MacBook Pros in favor of a software escape key on the Touch Bar, but the latest model shortens the Touch Bar to make room for a physical escape key, which many users missed. The new keyboard also features an inverted-T arrow key layout. Apple says:

The 16-inch MacBook Pro features a new Magic Keyboard with a refined scissor mechanism that delivers 1mm of key travel and a stable key feel, as well as an Apple-designed rubber dome that stores more potential energy for a responsive key press. Incorporating extensive research and user studies focused on human factors and key design, the 16-inch MacBook Pro delivers a keyboard with a comfortable, satisfying and quiet typing experience. The new Magic Keyboard also features a physical Escape key and an inverted-“T” arrangement for the arrow keys, along with Touch Bar and Touch ID, for a keyboard that delivers the best typing experience ever on a Mac notebook.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro also features an updated Intel 9th generation i7 and i9 processors with up to 8 cores. The base model runs at 2.6 GHz, which users can upgrade. RAM starts at 16GB and is configurable up to 64GB. Storage starts with a 512GB SSD, which can be increased to as much as 8TB.

To learn more about the new MacBook Pro, listen to episode 271 of Upgrade from Relay FM where Six Colors founder Jason Snell interviews Apple’s MacBook Pro Product Manager Shruti Haldea.

The new laptops are already available to order on apple.com and with the Apple Store app starting at $2,399, the same price as the old 15-inch model, with deliveries beginning later this week. Apple also notes that the Mac Pro will be available to order in December.



Apple Updates Its MacBook Pro Line with Faster CPUs and New Keyboard Mechanisms

Apple updated its MacBook Pros today with new, faster processors and changes to the notebook line’s keyboard mechanism. According to an Apple press release:

The 15-inch MacBook Pro now features faster 6- and 8-core Intel Core processors, delivering Turbo Boost speeds up to 5.0 GHz, while the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar features faster quad-core processors with Turbo Boost speeds up to 4.7 GHz.

Apple says that the new 15-inch MacBook Pro with an 8-core processor is up to two times faster than the previous top-end quad-core model. To put that performance in perspective, Apple claims that:

  • Music producers can play back massive multi-track projects with up to two times more Alchemy plug-ins in Logic Pro X.
  • 3D designers can render scenes up to two times faster in Maya Arnold.
  • Photographers can apply complex edits and filters up to 75 percent faster in Photoshop.
  • Developers can compile code up to 65 percent faster in Xcode.
  • Scientists and researchers can compute complex fluid dynamics simulations up to 50 percent faster in TetrUSS.
  • Video editors can edit up to 11 simultaneous multicam streams of 4K video in Final Cut Pro X.

Interestingly, Apple’s press release makes no mention of the MacBook Pro’s keyboard. However, the company spoke to Matthew Panzarino of TechCrunch who was told:

  1. The MacBook Pro keyboard mechanism has had a materials change in the mechanism. Apple says that this new keyboard mechanism composition will substantially reduce the double type/no type issue. Apple will not specify what it has done, but doubtless tear-downs of the keyboard will reveal what has been updated.
  2. Though Apple believes that this change will greatly reduce the issue, it is also including all butterfly keyboards across its notebook line into its Keyboard Service Program. This means that current MacBook Pros and even the models being released today will have keyboard repairs covered at no cost, in warranty and out of warranty.
  3. Apple tells me that repair times for keyboards have been longer than they would like. It is making substantial improvements to repair processes in Apple Stores to make repairs faster for customers with issues.

According to Panzarino, failing third-generation keyboards will be replaced with the new fourth-generation keyboard found in these updated MacBook Pros.

It’s not unusual for Apple to release product updates shortly before a major event that don’t make the cut for the keynote presentation. Notebooks with faster CPUs fall squarely into that category. With the company’s annual developer conference just around the corner, today’s announcement is likely also be designed to try to satisfy one its biggest pro user groups that the company is trying to put keyboard issues behind it. However, only time will tell whether this version of the MacBook Pro’s keyboard is more reliable than prior iterations.


New Graphics Options Coming to the 15-inch MacBook Pro

Apple quietly updated its site to announce that new GPU options are coming to the MacBook Pro. In late November, the high-end 15-inch MacBook Pros will be available with the Radeon Pro Vega GPU, the same AMD GPU graphics architecture used in the iMac Pro. The new GPU features High Bandwidth Memory, which doubles the memory bandwidth at lower power and results is faster graphics performance that Apple says is up to 60% faster than the AMD Radeon Pro 560X.

According to Apple’s MacBook Pro webpage, the Radeon Pro Vega 16 and 20, each with 4GB of HBM2 memory, will be available in late November as part of the MacBook that comes configured with a 2.66GHz 6-core CPU and 512GB of SSD storage.


You can also follow all of our Apple event coverage through our October 30, 2018 hub, or subscribe to the dedicated October 30, 2018 RSS feed.

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Apple Releases Software Fix to Address MacBook Pro Throttling

Jason Snell, writing for Six Colors:

After a week of controversy following the posting of a video that claimed the new 15-inch MacBook Pro could experience massive slowdowns, Apple on Tuesday acknowledged that the slowdowns exist—and that they’re caused by a bug in the thermal management software of all the 2018 MacBook Pro models. That bug has been fixed in a software update that Apple says it’s pushing out to all 2018 MacBook Pro users as of Tuesday morning.

Here’s the official Apple statement, furnished to Six Colors by an Apple spokesperson:

Following extensive performance testing under numerous workloads, we’ve identified that there is a missing digital key in the firmware that impacts the thermal management system and could drive clock speeds down under heavy thermal loads on the new MacBook Pro. A bug fix is included in today’s macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 Supplemental Update and is recommended. We apologize to any customer who has experienced less than optimal performance on their new systems. Customers can expect the new 15-inch MacBook Pro to be up to 70% faster, and the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar to be up to 2X faster, as shown in the performance results on our website.

The controversy caused this past week over throttling reports surely isn’t the kind of publicity Apple was hoping for with its latest updates to the MacBook Pro. There’s been all kinds of speculation as to the reasons for the excessive throttling that’s been reported, with one popular theory claiming it’s an issue with the MacBook Pro’s thin body – an error similar to that found with the current Mac Pro, whose enclosure can’t sufficiently handle the additional heat caused by powerful chips and heavy workflows.

While official tests will take some time to confirm Apple’s message, it’s great to see that the i9 MacBook Pro’s issues don’t appear to be hardware-related, and Apple moved swiftly to solve them.

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iFixit Tests MacBook Pro’s Keyboard Membrane

iFixit ran more tests and took a closer look at the keyboard membrane that was added to the 2018 MacBook Pro released last week. It turns out, the membrane is one sheet of die-cut silicone with tiny cutouts to allow keycaps to connect to the butterfly switches beneath.

To test how well the new design holds up against dust, iFixit sprayed a new MacBook Pro with a dusting of paint additive. They then tore apart the notebook and found:

Lo and behold, the dust is safely sequestered at the edges of the membrane, leaving the mechanism fairly sheltered. The holes in the membrane allow the keycap clips to pass through, but are covered by the cap itself, blocking dust ingress. The previous-gen butterfly keys are far less protected, and are almost immediately flooded with our glowing granules. On the 2018 keyboard, with the addition of more particulate and some aggressive typing, the dust eventually penetrates under the sheltered clips, and gets on top of the switch—so the ingress-proofing isn’t foolproof just yet. Time will tell how long the barrier will hold up.

iFixit followed up by testing with grittier sand, which managed to cause keys to stick.

It’s good to see that the MacBook Pro’s keyboard withstands fine particles better than earlier models in testing. The real test, of course, is long-term human testing. Only time will tell whether the 2018 MacBook Pros can hold up when faced with a crumbly muffin in your local café or the pollen blowing across your keyboard as you browse the web in your backyard.

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MacBook Pros Updated with Faster Processors, Up to 32 GB RAM, New Keyboards, True Tone Displays, and More

In a press release today, Apple announced updates to its MacBook Pro line of notebook computers. The new models feature faster 8th-generation Intel processors with six cores in the 15-inch model and four cores in the 13-inch model. According to Apple, the 15-inch model is up to 70% faster and the 13-inch model two times faster than earlier models.

The new notebooks also support up to 32 GB of RAM and include a True Tone display and Touch Bar. The 15-inch model can be configured with up to 4 TB of SSD storage, while the 13-inch model is limited to a maximum of 2 TB. The new MacBook Pros feature Apple’s T2 chip, which debuted in the iMac Pro and adds ‘Hey Siri’ support to the Mac.

In the wake of issues with recent-generation MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards, Apple has also updated the keyboard of the new MacBook Pros to a new, quieter third-generation model. Apple’s website doesn’t address the new keyboard’s performance or whether the issues experienced with earlier models have been resolved. However, according to a story on The Verge:

This new third-generation keyboard wasn’t designed to solve those issues, Apple says. In fact, company representatives strenuously insisted that the keyboard issues have only affected a tiny, tiny fraction of its user base.

In addition to the new notebooks, Apple introduced a leather sleeve for the MacBook Pro that is available in Saddle Brown, Midnight Blue, and Black, which is similar to the leather sleeves available for the MacBook.

The new MacBook Pros are also part of a Back to School promotion that Apple announced today.


Apple Will Replace Faulty MacBook Keyboards Free of Charge

It wasn’t long after Apple changed the mechanisms of its MacBook keyboards that reports of sticky keys and other problems surfaced. Over time as anecdotal evidence mounted, it became apparent that the problem was widespread, but of course, only Apple knew exactly how common the issues were.

Now, in response to the keyboard problems, Apple has begun a keyboard service program to fix or replace keyboards with faulty butterfly switch mechanisms. From Apple’s support page about the program:

Apple has determined that a small percentage of the keyboards in certain MacBook and MacBook Pro models may exhibit one or more of the following behaviors:

  • Letters or characters repeat unexpectedly
  • Letters or characters do not appear
  • Key(s) feel “sticky” or do not respond in a consistent manner

The program covers MacBooks and MacBook Pro models from 2015 onward. Service is free of charge for four years after the first retail sale of the computer. To check if your model is covered, visit Apple’s support page for a complete list of eligible models.

My MacBook Pro’s keyboard hasn’t failed, but I know several people whose keyboard has, and I’ve had a few occasions where keys would become sticky for a short period. If my keyboard ever fails, I expect it will be at the most inopportune time, but at least that hassle and frustration won’t come with a big price tag too.