MacBook Pro 2019: What to Expect (and What We Want)

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Feb. 19 Update: This story has been updated per new rumors of a 16-inch MacBook Pro. 

What does Apple have planned for the MacBook Pro in 2019? This year's model added some major features, such as blazing-fast processors, True Tone display technology and a quieter keyboard, which checked off plenty of items on our wish list.

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But as we look toward the future, the problems Apple needs to solve for its next high-end notebook aren't as obvious. Here's what we think 2019 holds for the MacBook Pro, as well as what we want from the new year's model.

News & Rumors (February 2019)

MacBook Pro 2019 Release Date and Possible Pricing

If history is a precedent, the next MacBook Pro should come somewhere after the middle of 2019. For the last six years, Apple's released most of its MacBook Pro updates in June, July or October, with one exception.

Oct. 27, 2016 - The launch of the 4th Gen MacBook Pro, the Type-C-only model sold today, which includes the OLED Touch Bar and 2nd-en butterfly switch keys.

June 5, 2017 - Apple adds Intel's Kaby Lake processors to the MacBook Pro.

July 12, 2018 - The Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pros gained Intel's Coffee Lake processors (up to Core i9), 3rd-gen. butterfly-switch keys, and the T2 chip for security and storage performance. 

But as for a more precise prediction of when the new machine will arrive? Tim Bajarin, president of the Creative Strategies firm, said that Apple's MacBook Pro schedule is "dependent on Intel's chips," which makes the timing harder to peg, especially because Apple uses specific versions of processors that other companies don't.

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If the next MacBook Pro stays with the Touch Bar, Type-C-only format, expect the 13-inch MacBook Pro to stay at around $1,799 and the 15-inch MacBook Pro to start at $2,399. Apple's held to those prices since this design launched, in 2016. 

If Apple redesigns the MacBook Pro, though, expect even higher prices. The 2015 MacBook Pro (which was no slouch) started at $1,299 for the 13-inch model and $1,999 for the 15-inch model.

But it's still hard to gauge how big of an update we'll get this year — or if we'll get any update at all. While MacBook Pro refreshes have happened at least once a year over the last three years, some have been far more miniscule than we'd hoped for.

Avi Greengart, a tech analyst at GlobalData, agreed, noting that Apple's "laptop road map has been far more idiosyncratic" than the company's easily predictable iPhone-upgrade schedule. Just look at the MacBook Air, which went ignored for years. 

"I honestly couldn't tell you if the MacBook Pro is going to get an update at all," Greengart continued, before saying his gut leans toward something slight. "If pressed to speculate, I'd lean towards minor changes or none."

Whiskey Lake Processors

The most likely update for a new MacBook Pro would be a processor jump. The move would bring the superfast macOS machines up to the Intel Whiskey Lake processors, which were announced in August of 2018, the successor to 2017's Intel Coffee Lake chips.

MORE: This Could Be the Heart of the New MacBook Air

What does that mean for you? For starters, Whiskey Lake chips add integrated Gigabit Wi-Fi, so expect faster wireless internet. And while the Whiskey Lake chips provide only a minor performance jump over their Coffee Lake predecessors (they both use Intel's 14++ nanometer process), they're expected to pack twice as fast overall performance as 5-year-old Intel computers. And they should have 1.8x better web performance and three times the video-editing speed.

While there is chatter about Apple switching CPUs, potentially moving from Intel to ARM, that's not expected for 2019.

Change for the Touch Bar?

When asked what (if any) features would be the hallmarks of a 2019 MacBook Pro, Greengart listed potential options, including "a rethink of the Touch Bar." We would love to see that change happen, as the Touch Bar currently feels like a failed idea. 

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Who is this thing actually helping? Sure, it gives you touch buttons for stuff you could click and tap around for, but the primary audience for the Touch Bar is video and audio editors, scrubbing tracks back and forth. So, unless Apple can find ways to make the Touch Bar matter, the company should update the processor and other specs in its non-Touch Bar 13-inch MacBook Pro and make a non-Touch Bar 15-inch MacBook Pro. 

MORE: Best Apple Laptops

Those physical keys are still valuable to those who can't find much use for the Touch Bar (which I primarily use for picking emoji). The new MacBook Air shows that Apple can release a MacBook with both Touch ID and actual Escape and Function keys. And users who prefer that option shouldn't be forced to pay for a touch-sensitive OLED screen above their keyboard that they don't need.

Yes, you can have a virtual Esc key, but trust me — it's too easy to activate accidentally. 

An Improved Retina Display

Sure, Apple added its True Tone display technology to the MacBook Pro, but that screen has yet to be perfected. First of all, its bezels could still stand to get thinner. Just look at the nearly edge-to-edge panels on the Huawei MateBook X Pro and the Dell XPS 13.

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Sure, this would force Apple to rethink where it places its webcam, but I'm sure those geniuses at Cupertino can come up with something. As long as it's not a notch, most users will be happy.

The 2018 MacBook Pro's 227-pixels-per-inch screens could pack their pixels even denser, as we've seen in the 260-ppi MateBook X Pro (260 ppi). Also, while the wide, 1.6:1 ratio of the MacBook Pro screens may be good for video, the MateBook X Pro's 3:2-ratio screens allow you to read a bit more at once.

What We Want from the New MacBook Pro

Face ID: It seems like only a matter of time before Apple's Face ID biometric sensors hit the MacBook Pro. While it appears unlikely that the laptop's thin lid and display could fit the TrueDepth camera system needed, I'd bet Apple's trying to figure out how to do it.

Thinner and lighter design: The 15-inch Pro could also stand to be both thinner and lighter, as its 0.6-inch thick, 4-pound chassis is thicker and heavier than that of the XPS 13 (0.5 inches, 2.65 pounds). Also, the MateBook X Pro (0.6 inches, 2.9 pounds) manages to give you a 14-inch screen and is still lighter than the 13-inch, 3-pound MacBook Pro. 

Longer battery life: The 13-inch MacBook Pro lasted only 8 hours and 43 minutes on our web-surfing test. I'd love it if Apple could get closer to 10 hours, like the 9:55 time that the MateBook X Pro got. And while the 15-inch MacBook Pro lasted a decent 10 hours and 21 minutes, both the XPS 15 (11:53) and Surface Book 2 (11:34) lasted over an hour longer.

Credit: Laptop Mag

Author Bio
Henry T. Casey
Henry T. Casey,
Henry is a senior writer at Laptop Mag, covering security, Apple and operating systems. Prior to joining Laptop Mag — where he's the self-described Rare Oreo Expert — he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. You can find him at your local pro wrestling events, and wondering why Apple decided to ditch its MagSafe power adapters.
Henry T. Casey, on
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20 comments
  • Marco R Says:

    Agree with Rodney, Bruh, Joe, James, Matthew... It is perplexing why the top of the line laptop from the worlds premium, $1Trillion market cap hardware company with a reputation for making intuitive, user-friendly design, still lacks the ability to write on the screen with the iPencil. I am also waiting to upgrade a very old MacBook Pro until this extremely useful feature is there. If they can't get it together in 2019, im going to have to go for a SurfaceBook, and there begins my exit from the Apple ecosystem - no more ties to iPhone, iWatch, iWhatever, and that probably also will coincide with a long term decline in AAPL market cap. Jobs would have had this in place already, and he would have kept the MagSafe, USB ports as well, not pompously try to force people to conform to someone's lofty design thesis. Lose the diddly touch bar. Get it together. MacPadPro.

  • Rodney Winkler Says:

    I've owned Apple since Apple IIe and had several laptops. The last few iterations have been a disappointment as MacBook Pros represent the pinnacle of portable computing at a steep price point; yet, they have continued to remove needed, ports, drives, etc., and owners end up with a bag of adapters, plugs, drives to tote around with their laptop. The design needs to be in line with the market on user upgradable (RAM/HDD) perhaps even other ways- GPU, etc. My suggestion is to make it a "Cadillac". We already have whittled down bare bone choices in the Air and other models with left out components and ports. Think best models out there and one-up em. Note

  • marcelino agis Says:

    ola soy marcelino y me hice catedratico para comprar uno de hestos

  • Vũ Thị Hường Says:

    cho hỏi macbook 2019 có gì hot.

  • Ankur Yadav Says:

    5G is here already. Capturing the promise with Nokia
    With February every year comes the largest mobile technology event in the world: Mobile World Congress. This year is shaping up to be one of the most exciting on record given that 5G is fast becoming a reality
    Read More:https://www.allbestnews.in/2019/02/5g-is-here-already-capturing-promise-with-nokia-allbestnews.html

  • Bruh bruh Says:

    Good god, I hope they get rid of the Touch Bar. It's an idiotic feature, even if executed properly. Even if it was useful (it's not, even for video/music), it wouldn't be worth paying extra for; not to mention the addition of more power-consuming and breakable parts.

    If Apple wants me to spend another $2k, they better offer another 2015-ish MacBook Pro (including the keyboard from this era) with upgraded graphics / other specs and the newer / faster SSD. I have owned 4 MacBook Pros and currently work on a 2013 and have a 2015 for personal stuff. I have been wanting to upgrade my personal since 2017, so that I can work on my 2015 (save the newest / best for personal :), but I won't ever (EVER) buy a MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar. I also don't want a fingerprint reader. Fingerprint readers are more help for phones, where it's difficult to enter a +20 char password quickly. My passwords (incl computer password) are more than 20 characters, and it takes no time to enter it in; it's certainly not worth having a separate processor and space wasted, just to save me 1.2 seconds a few times per day (that's about 1.5 hours saved over a 6 year work period).

    Also, what in the hell were they thinking when they made the Touch Bar's ESC placement about 1cm moved in? That's pretty much the most commonly pressed key for a lot of people; not to mention the fact that you cannot even tell when you press it, since it's not a real key (no Apple, that's not me asking you to develop some useless idiotic haptic feedback system for the Touch Bar - that's me telling you you can shove it, unless you add my top row of keys back).

    I'm already done with iPhone. Think of how stupid Tim Cook is, to remove the fingerprint reader from the phone where it's useful, while at the same time adding it to their notebooks where it's not so much.

  • Joe's Ideas Says:

    I wish they would just listen to the MASS of customers complaining about the shitty keyboard and the touch bar.

    My 2013 MBP has the best keyboard I've ever owned... why change that?

    Thinner/lighter is not equal to better. Who cares really if you're using a Mac Pro it's often a desktop replacement anyways.

    DON'T make it lighter/thinner, just go back to making MB Pro computers the best on the planet. They're not anymore, sadly I've been holding off for years because EVERY one I know has complaints on the new mac laptops over the past few years.

    Come on Apple, be cool maaaaaan 🤙

  • James Says:

    I second Matthew's comment. He summed it up exactly! The GD touchpad is freakish. Can't express in kind words how frustrating it is to code with the havoc caused by random key+touchpad combinations. What the hell were they thinking? And the keyboard is crap; I've replaced at least 3 broken keys and the keyboard itself seems generally prone to dirt/dust as I've had to clean several keys to correct double output (ie. 1 click 2 letters).

  • Matthew Says:

    I can't stand the current keyboard. It's incredibly loud (even on the 2018 model), and the keys yield WAY too many typos.

    I also don't want the damn Touch Bar. I write software, and I use the function keys for debugging. I'd like to be able to feel them without having to look at them. Don't even think about trying to use the Touch Bar outside on a sunny day; it appears pitch black. I do like the fingerprint scanner, though.

    Finally, the track pad is simply too big. Have you ever tried to use these things in a car or bus? Forget it! I'm constantly moving my cursor by mistake and doing terrible things to the code I write.

    My personal MBP is a 2013, and my work MBP is a 2017. I'd like to upgrade my personal Mac, but there's no way in hell I'm doing that until they fix this input debacle.

  • Mogundavey Says:

    For this price start with 32g of ram, and 512g of ssd, or make it as upgradable as a 2012 MBP. 8-12 oz heavier with a bigger battery and a MagSafe powercable. The keyboard needs to roll back to 2013. Add 4g connectivity to the laptop. Add a usb 3.1 port. The display is great, no need to change.

  • Syncope Says:

    You want thinner and lighter but also longer battery life...what else? An improved keyboard and better screen? This is a pro machine, don't ask for the impossible and for things that you know don't go together (can't reduce the space and put in more capacitative batteries). We don't want compromises on the build quality, on the durability, on the battery life, ecc. Most pro users wouldn't mind a slightly thicker and heavier machine if it provided all those fancy numbers in real life without having a computer that dies after 4 hours and can't last more than 2 years without spending hundreds of dollars in reparations, without mentioning the fact it feels like it would break just letting it drop from 10cm of height.

  • Ongota Says:

    Regarding the point you make for smaller bezels and the webcam placement: I have an XPS15 with the webcam (nose-cam) below the screen. That seemed like a trivial and unimportant issue at the time. It isn't: the webcam is truly useless in this position. I would suggest not to wish for smaller bezels at the price of a change in position of the webcam !

  • vmcv2018 Says:

    A 13" Macbook Pro with more ports (I had to buy an adapter to get more ports..ridiculous) up to 32GB RAM at least, better CPU and graphics and a bigger SSD....

  • Johnny Says:

    I wish they would return to the Macsafe power cable - what were Apple thinking in getting rid of it?!

  • Mark Lark Says:

    "Thinner and lighter design" stop, please stop. If you want "thin and light" then you already have the MacBook and the Air, but those of us who need performance only have the Pro. Stop trying to change our only option into your third option.

  • Moushumi Das Says:

    fix the keyboard! I had to buy a new laptop this year, and after being a Mac user for a decade, I had to make the jump to a windows laptop because the keyboard on the macbook pros at present is TERRIBLE! too thin to type comfortably and one ends up making lots of errors. also, tbh, the touchbar is a waste of space.

  • dasdies Says:

    They should fix the unreliable butterfly keyboard. All the other mentioned points are useless. Don't make the thing thinner. Fix the keyboard. Better to have something that actually works than some ultra fast and slim broken piece of status.

  • Joe Bean Says:

    Thanks Henry for pointing out the obvious annoyance that the touch bar is for people who actually uses F keys. You have to pay more for something that drives you crazy.

  • Chun Yin Law Says:

    I wish Apple could introduce a 14inch Macbook in the ultra-thin ultra-light Macbook line. Not everyone who wants a large screen is a power user. Lot's of Windows laptop has 14inch and it's a good size for ultrabooks.

  • theoldhenk Says:

    I'm not sure the 15" can get any thinner/lighter and still retain 45W TDP processors, but I guess we'll see.

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