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Updated 13-inch MacBook Pro Dumps Butterfly Keyboard, Doubles Storage

Hard on the heels of March’s update to the MacBook Air, Apple has updated the 13-inch MacBook Pro, marking the official end of the much-maligned butterfly keyboard. Apple has also doubled the standard amount of flash storage to 256 GB. The new MacBook Pro comes in silver or space gray.

13-inch MacBook Pro keyboard

Rumors had suggested that Apple would replace the 13-inch MacBook Pro with a model featuring a 14-inch screen, much the way the 16-inch MacBook Pro replaced the previous 15-inch model. Those rumors proved either to be wishful thinking or to apply to a future, more significant revision to Apple’s smaller MacBook Pro model. It’s not inconceivable that we could see such a product late this year—in 2019, Apple updated the 15-inch MacBook Pro in May before replacing it in November.

Major Changes: Magic Keyboard and Twice the Storage

Most notable among the changes to the new 13-inch MacBook Pro is, of course, the replacement of the butterfly keyboard with the company’s new Magic Keyboard, which has received positive reviews in both the 16-inch MacBook Pro and the 13-inch MacBook Air.

Like the 16-inch MacBook Pro, the new 13-inch model features a physical Escape key, a Touch Bar, and an independent Touch ID sensor. We aren’t huge fans of the Touch Bar, but like that slightly annoying friend-of-a-friend, it seems unlikely to be leaving the party anytime soon.

The second notable change revolves around the size of the internal storage. Previously, the 13-inch MacBook Pro’s storage choices started at 128 GB. Now, the low end begins at 256 GB, and every standard configuration offers twice as much storage for the same price. Build-to-order options for 512 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB remain available. A 4 TB option is also available for the higher-end models—more on those next.

Minor Changes: Faster CPUs, Improved Display Support, and More RAM

Before we get to the minor changes, remember that there are two types of the 13-inch MacBook Pro: lower-end configurations with two Thunderbolt 3 ports on the left side and higher-end models with four Thunderbolt 3 ports, two on each side. That’s relevant because the first three of these changes apply only to the higher-end models.

  • Processors: The lower-end models retain the same 8th-generation quad-core Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, running at 1.4 GHz and 1.7 GHz (add $300), respectively. The higher-end models, however, switch to either a 2.0 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 or a 2.3 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 (add $200). It’s hard to know how much faster these processors are since Apple claims “up to 2.8 times faster performance” compared to a 13-inch MacBook Pro with dual-core processors (i.e., not the previous generation).
  • Graphics: Apple also says that the 10th-generation processors in the higher-end models, which feature integrated Iris Plus Graphics (currently lacking a version number on the spec page), provide up to 80% faster performance than the previous generation. Plus, the higher-end models can now support the 6K Pro Display XDR, another external 5K display, and two external 4K displays.
  • RAM: The higher-end models now sport 16 GB of onboard memory for the same prices as the 8 GB configurations in the previous generation. Also welcome is the fact that the memory in these higher-end models is 3733 MHz LPDDR4X memory, up from 2133 MHz LPDDR3 memory, which should help with performance as well. The lower-end models can jump to 16 GB of RAM for $100, but best of all, the higher-end models can now take up to 32 GB of RAM, although it costs $400.
  • Audio: The spec page for all models lists “Wide stereo sound,” “Support for Dolby Atmos playback,” and “Directional beamforming” as changes from the audio support in the previous models. It’s hard to know how important those changes are, but it’s better to have them than not, I suppose.
  • Size and weight: Finally, all the new models of the 13-inch MacBook Pro get 0.02 inches (0.7 mm) taller and about 1.3 ounces (30 g) heavier. I can’t imagine anyone will notice in the real world.

No Changes

Everything else about the 13-inch MacBook Pro remains the same. Same 13-inch Retina display. Same Thunderbolt 3 ports. Same 802.1ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 5.0. Same batteries and 61-watt USB-C power adapters.

And of course, in the spec that I’m sure someone at Apple is embarrassed by in these days of constant video calls, the new models sport the same inferior 720p FaceTime HD camera (see “The 2020 MacBook Air’s FaceTime HD Camera Is Still Lousy,” 8 April 2020).

Pricing and Availability

The low-end 13-inch MacBook Pro with two Thunderbolt 3 ports starts at $1299, and the higher-end model with four Thunderbolt 3 ports starts at $1799. In many ways, these are two completely different products. The lower-end models have barely changed, apart from the new Magic Keyboard and more storage, whereas the higher-end models receive a modest speed and spec bump with faster processors, better graphics, more RAM, more storage options, and so on.

If you want a small, fast MacBook Pro, buy one of the higher-end models today. They’re better than last year’s models and boast improved specs, making them cheaper as well.

Things get complicated when you compare with the recently refreshed MacBook Air (see “New MacBook Air Features Magic Keyboard and Lower Price,” 18 March 2020). For instance, if you wanted a top-of-the-line MacBook Air with a 1.2 GHz quad-core 10th-generation Intel Core i7, 16 GB of RAM, and 1 TB SSD ($1849 total), an equivalently equipped lower-end MacBook Pro would cost $1799, or $50 less, albeit with a 1.4 GHz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5. It’s hard to know how the real-world performance would compare. And for just $1999, or $150 more than the MacBook Air, you could get a similarly specced higher-end MacBook Pro with four Thunderbolt 3 ports, a 2.0 GHz quad-core 10th-generation Intel Core i5, and a Touch Bar.

Regardless, what’s most important is that the butterfly keyboard is now pushing up daisies, rather than flitting among them. If you’ve been delaying the purchase of a MacBook of any sort until you could see how things sorted out with the Magic Keyboard-equipped models, the possible choices are now clear.

Personally, once I have need for a laptop again, I’m getting a MacBook Air, since I rely heavily on physical function keys to switch between apps.

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Comments About Updated 13-inch MacBook Pro Dumps Butterfly Keyboard, Doubles Storage

Notable Replies

  1. For those who may find it interesting, I wrote up a comparison between the new 13" MacBook Pro and the 2020 MacBook Air, Apple’s less-expensive 13" laptop.

  2. Well I couldn’t help myself. Needed a new toy to help me shelter in place. A few minutes after Apple announced the release I bought a new silver 13", 2.3 GHz Core i7, 32GB/1TB. Scheduled to arrive Wed, May 20. This should be a nice replacement for my trusty 2013 13" MBP. I won’t lie, I was hoping for a bezel reduction and increase to 14" with this update. But I’m fine with just the CPU/mem upgrade. :slight_smile::+1:

  3. Congrats. You must have had a premonition to start this thread a few days ago.

  4. I agree with you @ace about the 720p camera. I use it for Zoom only basically and the quality there is not an issue. So I’m not adversely affected by the 720p myself. But I do find it a bit pathetic that despite wide bezels and a $2599 price tag my new MBP will be coming with essentially the same shitty (by today’s standard) camera as the 2013 model I already have.

    There’s been some commotion on other sites about the lack of Wifi 6 (.ax) on this MBP. The SE has it, the iPad Pro has it, so what gives, Apple? Again, not something I will be exploiting myself right now (I have Gigabit fiber, but still use an .ac AP Extreme), but on a $2599 MBP you cannot include the same wifi as on your $399 budget iPhone? C’mon.

    Last gripe, although I found most BTO options on the recent MBA and MBP refreshes rather reasonable, the $400 I paid to go from 16GB to 32GB feels steep. Not exactly highway robbery, but definitely impolite. :wink:

  5. Well, “not supposed to” is kind of strong, but some folks were having problems with “kernel task” taking up a lot of CPU resource. I first saw the problem on Stack Exchange:

    The underlying issue was discussed in a TidBITS article and a subsequent Talk thread:

    Though in the TidBITS discussion the location of the temperature sensors weren’t identified as a contributing factor. FWIW, I have a 2019 MBP, charging on the left side, and haven’t seen temperature-related throttling problems. (On the other hand, I don’t think it has been verified that this model suffers from that particular problem.) If you operate in a warm ambient environment or push your CPU or both, however, you probably are better off charging on the right.

    Or, you could take the position that moving the charger to the right side simply masks a problem that the temperature sensor and “kernel task” throttling were supposed to fix, and you’re inviting early failure. Until and unless Apple weighs in, I don’t suppose we’ll know.

  6. What I can’t figure out is why charging on the left should make the logic board run any hotter than charging on the right. IIRC the left and right side ports are connected to two different TB controllers. Is the one running the left side ports doing something else when nothing else is connected?

    A while ago I remember the ports on the right (or rather their controller) had fewer PCIe lanes at their disposal so the recommendation was to run performance critical peripherals off the left side ports. Is that still an issue?

  7. I believe that the problem is that the temperature sensors are on the left side, so that warming up the circuitry around the left-side ports differentially affects the sensors.

  8. Ah, that would make sense. Thanks, @ron.

  9. I agree about the Touch Bar. I actually returned a 13" high end macbook pro because of it. It’s a horrible idea, in my opinion.

  10. This is a great comparison and summary. If my ancient MacBook Pro gives up the ghost before A series machines are released, this will come in very handy.

  11. Nice review!

    What I don’t get is why the two-port MacBook Pros even still exist. One of Jobs’ signature moves during his second round at Apple was to dramatically simplify the product line, which mostly eliminated consumers having to make trade-off evaluations when buying a product.

    By contrast, Tim Cook has presided over a blossoming of SKU’s, often by leaving products like zombie iPads available for purchase at a lower price point than they had when they were current. I now have to regularly have involved conversations with clients contemplating new hardware because they have to make value judgments, rather than looking at “good, better, best” or “small vs better performance”.

    Even though they’ve been refreshed, I feel the two-port MacBook Pro’s are zombie products. Why do they need to exist when there is a MacBook Air? What do they offer? Who are they for? The product line would seem to be simpler if you’ve got Air (general purpose model, a little thinner and lighter), and Pro (robust performance and connectivity).

    The 12-inch MacBook was confusingly named – it should have been the new “Air” in 2015, as it was a kind of spiritual successor to the 11" model. But they kept selling the 13" non-Retina Air as a cheap model, rendering the name meaningless.

    Discontinuing the 12-inch model (which, like the 11" Air, I think only appealed to a niche, though one that I belonged to) and then making a smaller, new 13" Air helped, since the 13" Air was always the general purpose workhorse in the line. Now they’ve got it to the point where if you outfit it with a better CPU, you’ve got a perfectly nice two-port machine.

    So, again, why are they still selling the two-port MacBook Pro’s? What do they offer that an i7 Air doesn’t? (And, to Adam’s point, who cares about the Touch Bar? I’d rather have function keys as well.)

  12. According to my quick comparison, I think they will perform better. The high-end stock Air and the low-end Pro both have an MSRP of $1300. The Pro has a better screen (brighter, wider gamut), and a comparison of the CPUs seems to indicate that the Pro will perform better - yes, it’s an 8th gen vs. a 10th gen, but the clock speed is significantly higher. A benchmark comparison (chip-to-chip, not system-to-system) indicates that the Pro’s CPU will be faster.

    The Air’s advantage over the identically-priced Pro? Larger SSD and slightly lower weight (0.3 lbs lighter).

    I will be very interested to see benchmarks on the new computers instead of just comparing chips.

    I agree that the high-end Air and low-end Pro are somewhat redundant and will likely compete with each other. But it is not at all clear which is the “better” buy.

  13. I agree with you. I think next to the new MBA the 2-port MBPs have become quite unappealing. They offer a better/brighter screen and the TouchBar (which I agree adds no value), but other than that I feel the MBA is the much more interesting Mac being lighter, having more battery life, and being less expensive.

    An argument can be made that the MBP’s low-end CPU will perform better than the MBA. Even the i7 Air will throttle during heavy use due to the tight thermal envelope of the MBA and the 9/15-W CPU. Those are limitations the low-end MBP does not have so during sustained high-load ops, the MBP will in almost all cases perform better. That said, I think an argument should also be made that anybody serious about sustained CPU performance should not be getting either an Air or a low-end MBP, but the serious 10th-gen MBP (4-port model).

    Geekbench has even the 1.2 GHz i7 MBA (10th-gen) at 1101/2838 whereas the 1.4 GHz i5 in the low-end 13" MBP (8th-gen) comes in at 927/3823. And if you spec that MBA with the more affordable 1.1 GHz i5 you’ll be seeing just 1054/2644. Sources below.

    https://browser.geekbench.com/macs/448
    https://browser.geekbench.com/macs/463

  14. One more. Promise it will be the last.

    So the new USB-C charger in the box comes with only a duckbill but no charging cable (like you’d use with a power strip so as not to block adjacent outlets). I actually need to buy that for an extra $19. With a $2600 notebook. Really, Apple? :frowning:

  15. I’ve always understood zombie computers to be machines that were taken over by hackers or viruses:

    Even though they’ve been refreshed, I feel the two-port MacBook Pro’s are zombie products. Why do they need to exist when there is a MacBook Air? What do they offer? Who are they for? The product line would seem to be simpler if you’ve got Air (general purpose model, a little thinner and lighter), and Pro (robust performance and connectivity).

    I think Adam’s article and Shamimo’s chart make it very clear that the new Air and Pro are very distinct and different models.

    The 12-inch MacBook was confusingly named – it should have been the new “Air” in 2015, as it was a kind of spiritual successor to the 11" model. But they kept selling the 13" non-Retina Air as a cheap model, rendering the name meaningless.

    I don’t get this at all.

    Discontinuing the 12-inch model (which, like the 11" Air, I think only appealed to a niche, though one that I belonged to) and then making a smaller, new 13" Air helped, since the 13" Air was always the general purpose workhorse in the line. Now they’ve got it to the point where if you outfit it with a better CPU, you’ve got a perfectly nice two-port machine.

    The Air and Pro models have always been quite distinct, and the names make this quite clear to prospective customers. Airs are lighter and more appealing to road warriors, students and others who have to schlep their laptops around a lot. Pros appeal to heavy duty graphics, video, scientific and computational users; they are willing to pay more for speedy rendering, color management and fidelity.

    So, again, why are they still selling the two-port MacBook Pro’s? What do they offer that an i7 Air doesn’t? (And, to Adam’s point, who cares about the Touch Bar? I’d rather have function keys as well.)

    I have a Pro for the reasons above, and this graphics and video oriented user is very happy to have two ports that I can plug my keyboard and big screen into when I get home or into a client’s office. I know am not alone in appreciating this. And though I would prefer a lighter and less expensive laptop, it currently isn’t practical for me to own an Air rather than a Pro.

    Apple’s laptop product lineup is very small, precisely targeted and highly focused. Just take a look at the confusing, bloated and all over the map lineups that are currently for sale at Dell, Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard, Samsung, etc.

  16. That actually is the simplest use case and one that can easily be solved by a $20 dongle. Any single port MacBook would be more than adequate to solve that issue.

    Marketing drivel. This very discussion is testament to a lack of focus and target.

    Nowadays, Apple is trying to hit every possible price point. That leads to left behind products like the low-end 13" that don’t really make sense other than they hit $1499 or whatever other price gap Schiller and his gang have made out. Contrast this with the past Apple that had a simple and clean mobile Mac lineup — pro and consumer, small and large. All pushing the latest components in their area. Done. I couldn’t possibly care less how Apple fares against corporate box pushers like HP or Dell. I want Apple to match (and surpass) its own former self. In this department, they still have much work left. Not marketing BS, but actual metal.

  17. One less thing to carry and futz around with means less aggravation for me.

    Nowadays, Apple is trying to hit every possible price point.

    Dell is selling over 200 laptop models on its website. I couldn’t quickly get a count of the different product lines. And Walmart is selling hundreds of laptop models for under $200:

    https://www.walmart.com/search/?query=laptop%20computers%20under%20%24200&typeahead=laptop

    That leads to left behind products like the low-end 13" that don’t really make sense other than they hit $1499 or whatever other price gap Schiller and his gang have made out. Contrast this with the past Apple that had a simple and clean mobile Mac lineup — pro and consumer, small and large. All pushing the latest components in their area. Done.

    Steve Jobs’ strategy of a simple and clean product line for Apple and Macs were very much in Alvin Toffler’s mind when he coined the “prosumer” market in 1980, it hasn’t changed since Mac was first introduced. Schiller and Cook make sure of this, and like Steve Jobs, updated and expanded the Mac line as demand for laptops and desktops grew and evolved.

    I couldn’t possibly care less how Apple fares against corporate box pushers like HP or Dell. I want Apple to match (and surpass) its own former self. In this department, they still have much work left. Not marketing BS, but actual metal.

    Then it would be a good idea not to whine about what in reality is Apple’s very limited, but highly customizable product line. Mac would not have survived if it had not expanded the number of its models, which is way, way far less than that of its myriad competitors. It’s something Steve Jobs foresaw when he developed the iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iPad, Music, etc. If you can’t find a Mac that meets your needs, you’ve got literally thousands of PCs to choose from in the US market.

  18. I wrote:
    By contrast, Tim Cook has presided over a blossoming of SKU’s, often by leaving products like zombie iPads available for purchase at a lower price point than they had when they were current.

    MMTalker wrote:
    I’ve always understood zombie computers to be machines that were taken over by hackers or viruses: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zombie_(computing)

    Poor choice of language on my part. I meant them to be “zombies” not in the sense in the sense of White Zombie (1932), where people’s minds are taken over by a voodoo master, but in the sense of Dawn of the Dead (1978), where people just keep wandering around the mall despite having died. See iPad 2, which was sold as a lower cost option from 2012 through 2014, but couldn’t be updated to iOS 10, released just two years after its discontinuation.

    Apple’s current lineup is actually slightly cleaner than it was a couple of years ago, but it’s still more cluttered than it should be, with nonsensical, arbitrary naming (e.g. the current “iPad Air” not being a thinner, smaller, or lighter model than “iPad”; or the two-port “MacBook Pro” being a machine of limited expandability and middling CPU). It makes it hard for non-techie types (and sometimes even techie types) to make easy, clear decisions about what to buy. The two-port MBP’s are part of that clutter, and should be remnants of a product line, not members of it, when they fail to distinguish themselves clearly from a newer member of the product line (the MBA).

    MMTalker wrote:
    I think Adam’s article and Shamimo’s chart make it very clear that the new Air and Pro are very distinct and different models.

    I think they support the conclusion that the new Air and new four-port Pro are distinct and different models…and also the conclusion that a high end new Air and new two-port Pro might be different, but not distinct.

    I wrote:
    The 12-inch MacBook was confusingly named – it should have been the new “Air” in 2015, as it was a kind of spiritual successor to the 11" model. But they kept selling the 13" non-Retina Air as a cheap model, rendering the name meaningless.

    MMTalker wrote:
    I don’t get this at all.

    In my opinion, “Air” meaning “small and light” is clear branding, as is “Pro” meaning “powerful.” Apple abandoned this clarity in 2015 with the introduction of the 12" MacBook, and again in 2016 with the introduction of the USB-C MacBook Pro (which was the same weight and smaller than the concurrently sold 13" non-Retina MacBook Air). Names should mean something, and product lines should be distinct.

    The MacBook Air was introduced in as a “thin and light” alternative to the optical-drive MacBook and MacBook Pro. Hence the “Air” name. By 2010, it was available in two sizes, 11" and 13", and with its 2011 revision had become a decent general-purpose computer, while the Pro was available in 13", 15", and 17", for power users. It was not hard to understand the difference between the Air line (smaller, lighter) and the Pro line (more capable).

    When the 12-inch MacBook was introduced in 2015, it was practically revolutionary in its thinness, lightness, and slience (at the unfortunate expense of performance, keyboard quality, and a much needed second port). It thus was a logical choice to inherit the “Air” name.

    However, Apple decided to continue to sell the existing 13" MacBook Air at a lower price point (while discontinuing the 11"). Thus the name “Air” was rendered meaningless; that model now stood for “entry level,” not “thin and light,” with its outdated screen technology remaining available to buyers all the way through most of 2018. Wouldn’t it have made more sense, if they felt they needed to keep the old model around, to instead call the new sexy thing “Air” and rename the old clunky entry-level thing to “MacBook”? I winced when I saw clients in 2016-2018 who replaced their older MacBook Airs with new non-Retina models, on the assumption that “Air” still meant what it once meant, when in fact they would have been better served by a 12-inch MacBook (super thin and light) or a USB-C 13-inch MacBook Pro (which was the same weight as the non-Retina Air 13", in a smaller form factor).

    The situation is now slightly improved, with the discontinuation of the 12-inch MacBook (whose elegance, if not function, I still miss), and the 2018 MacBook Air redesign – though the waters are still needlessly muddied by the existence of the two-port Pro. Hell, I myself am not even sure how I’d decide between the two machines – the Air is not cute or quiet enough, and the two-port Pro is not capable enough, and they’re practically the same size and weight. But the choice between an Air and a four-port Pro is plenty clear, as it should be.

    MMTalker wrote:
    I have a Pro for the reasons above, and this graphics and video oriented user is very happy to have two ports that I can plug my keyboard and big screen into when I get home or into a client’s office…And though I would prefer a lighter and less expensive laptop, it currently isn’t practical for me to own an Air rather than a Pro.

    Based on your own sources, it’s not clear to me that a maxed out 2020 MacBook Air wouldn’t work equally well for you. I think your two-port MacBook Pro might perform modestly better, without any superior expandability. But if you want performance, as others have said, then a four-port Pro is dramatically better, and substantially more expandable.

    I think the two-port Pro had a questionable name, but it served a purpose before the 2018 MacBook Air redesign. Now I think it represents something of an unhappy medium between the MBA and the four-port Pro, and I’d have a hard time investing money in it; your mileage apparently varies, so maybe Apple knows something I don’t. I do know that I expect Apple to simplify technology, and I don’t think they’re meeting that mark by offering substantially overlapping products.

    (And while their product line may be radically simpler than their competition’s, that’s way too low a bar to clear. By that standard, Windows 95 was great because it was better than MS-DOS. This is Apple. They’re supposed to be in a class of their own, not just “better than.”)

  19. Simon wrote:
    So the new USB-C charger in the box comes with only a duckbill but no charging cable (like you’d use with a power strip so as not to block adjacent outlets). I actually need to buy that for an extra $19. With a $2600 notebook. Really, Apple?

    I actually think this one is defensible. I work with residential clients, and the vast majority of them had no idea what the included cable extender was for – or they did, but they didn’t like the extra bulk it added to a portable machine. I’d constantly find them in drawers, or would ask if they had it in a setup where it could have improved things, only to discover it had been lost or tossed. I believe including them with every machine for the benefit of the few who actually used them was probably wasteful.

    Rather, my complaint is I believe every new Mac laptop needs to include a USB-C to USB-A adapter. Not providing buyers of a new computer ready access to the most overwhelmingly used hardware interface in the world is obnoxious. (I realize Apple has done this in the past, when switching from serial ports, SCSI, ADB, etc, but something about this feels different to me, even if I do think USB-C is the right place to be moving to.)

    Also, selling replacement power bricks and USB-C charging cables separately – not even as a bundle of some kind – also seems churlish.

  20. Just a reminder that in 2009 there was a white plastic MacBook, an aluminum MacBook, a MacBook Air (all 13”), and three sizes of MacBook Pro, of course all with various configurations of processors, RAM, and storage. Before that there were identical white and black plastic MacBooks, though the black was more expensive than the white (IIRC). Apple’s notebook lineup when Steve Jobs was CEO wasn’t always as clean as you remember.

  21. Doug Miller wrote:
    Just a reminder that in 2009 there was a white plastic MacBook, an aluminum MacBook, a MacBook Air (all 13”), and three sizes of MacBook Pro, of course all with various configurations of processors, RAM, and storage. Before that there were identical white and black plastic MacBooks, though the black was more expensive than the white (IIRC). Apple’s notebook lineup when Steve Jobs was CEO wasn’t always as clean as you remember.

    Fair point, and I remember that product confusion starting to diverge with products like the G4 Cube, as well, and the original Air itself expanding the 2x2 grid.

    I think I remember the 2009 unibody polycarbonate MacBook being a successor to the odd-duck 2008 Pro-resembling aluminum mode MacBook – were both models actually sold concurrently?

  22. I was wondering if it’s time to upgrade my 2013 MacBook Pro 13" now that the 2020 version came out. I was sort of hoping they would go for 14" in the same size though. Any others with a 2013 model here? What do you think?

    I’d really like something larger than my 512 GB SSD.

    In the article you wrote, “Personally, once I have need for a laptop again, I’m getting a MacBook Air, since I rely heavily on physical function keys to switch between apps.” What’s the issue with that and the MacBook Pro? You have all the same physical keys on the MBP, don’t you?

    doug

  23. Interesting - you wrote basically the thing I separately posted. I also have the 2013 model. And I was also hoping for an increase to 14" with this release. I’m wondering whether to upgrade or not. I have gift cards burning a hole in my pocket.

    doug

  24. Well, I figured this whole shelter in place situation was a good time to finally tackle migration to a new workhorse along with the whole Catalina circus. Like you, I too had been hoping for 14", but I figure if indeed that arrives in the next year I’ll just resell this 13" and upgrade. If not, I’ll enjoy a great machine that will easily last me years. It’s definitely spec’ed to last. The last time I did this with a 13" was when I went for the i7 16/512 and that has been lasting me really well since 2013. If there would not have been an upgrade I would have continued using it for work. Awesome little Mac. Probably one of the best they ever made. Besides the SE/30 and the IIci that is. :wink:

  25. Funny, I’m the exact opposite.

    I’d rather replace my cables than use adapters here and there. I’m perfectly OK with Apple not shipping any kind of adapter. I’ll buy the few USB-C cables I need to replace my old USB-A types. If anything, I’d prefer Apple switch all their chargers and cables to USB-C right away. Heck, if it were up to me I’d get rid of Lightning right away too. Sure it’s a more sturdy plug, but that’s simply not where the world is going. The iPad Pro is already there.

    When it comes to duckbill chargers I’m used to the following situation. There’s a big meeting or review somewhere and everybody tries plugging in to the power strips before a long day of work awaits. The PC people plug in their cables and the Mac people plug in their duckbill chargers because they forgot to bring their cables. Easily half the outlets are made useless right away by those silly large chargers blocking adjacent outlets.

    For our own lab I’ve been on a crusade to replace the conventional power strips with models that have the plug slots perpendicular to the strip so that the darn duckbills stand out to the side rather than obstructing the other plugs. Truth be told, I’d prefer they shipped with a cable only and offered the duckbill for those who absolutely cannot tolerate a longer cable path. Power Connection should IMHO be grounded anyway.

    And finally, yes, Apple selling chargers without any USB-C cable is just silly.

  26. Mine is the 2.6 GHz Dual Core i5 with 16 GB RAM.

    It still works fine, but 6 keys are worn down. And I’m always having to be careful about disk space.

    doug

  27. douglerner wrote:
    I was wondering if it’s time to upgrade my 2013 MacBook Pro 13" now that the 2020 version came out…I’d really like something larger than my 512 GB SSD.

    Well, if the main concern is storage and you don’t feel like spending $$, and are willing to risk Apple dropping support for a future macOS in a few years, you have storage expansion options, though what they are depends on whether you have an “Early 2013” (MacBookPro10,2) or a “Late 2013” (MacBookPro11,1). The former has a custom SATA interface, and the latter has a much better performing custom PCIe interface.

    Mac accessories stalwart OWC offers upgrades for both, in both 1 TB and 2 TB flavors, and they have the advantage of being designed exclusively for Mac and they’ll support you as such. On the downside, I’ve had less than stellar experiences with these products’ longevity, meaning you might really need that support. (Alternatives I haven’t tried are Transcend Jetdrive, available up to 960 GB, and Mac longtimer MCE Tech’s offerings for 1 TB and 2 TB.)

    Alternatively, you could buy a cheaper mSATA drive (for the Early 2013) or m.2 drive (for the Late 2013) from any vendor like Samsung, etc, and use it with an adapter that you can find on Amazon for around $15, such as those made by Sintech and others. With this solution, you’re 100% on your own – should work, but if it doesn’t, no one’s gonna support you. Also, on the PCIe/NVMe models for the Late 2013, wake from sleep may not work right, and you may have to disable hibernation (sleep when the battery is totally drained).

    Splitting the difference would be products that essentially provide the mSATA or m.2 drive with an adapter as a single ready-to-use Mac-supported unit, such as Fledgling Feather drives, though I’ve seen sleep-related problems on the PCIe/NVMe versions of those, too.

    All of the above are obviously not Apple-supported, and there’s always the chance that a future version of macOS or machine firmware will make them partially or completely incompatible. If you have a Late 2013, and 1 TB is enough for you, and you want to guarantee maximum compatibility for sleep and future firmware, you could instead look for a used Apple part on eBay (usually made by Samsung or Toshiba, with the former preferable). This is probably the route I would take if I wanted to get a couple more years of life out of that machine with twice the space, for a couple hundred bucks or so. Obviously you’d want to get it from a seller that supports returns.

  28. I think the issue here, @MMTalker, is that you’re comparing Apple to other companies, while many of the rest of us are evaluating Apple’s approach on its own merits. No one here is going to say, “Wow, Apple’s laptop lineup is too confusing, I’ll go buy a Dell because that will be simple.” Dell and the others simply aren’t relevant to Mac users—we’ll never even consider them.

    Instead, we’re looking at the high-end MacBook Air and the two-port MacBook Pro and scratching our heads as the features, prices, and performance get all muddled up. The solution is quite simple, and would in fact make Apple’s lineup smaller, better targeted, and even more highly focused.

    The answer is, just drop the two-port MacBook Pro model entirely. Everyone who was confused before and would buy one or the other will buy the MacBook Air. No cannibalism and likely better upsell to the four-port MacBook Pro for those who were on the fence about the number of ports or the performance, thus resulting in more money for Apple (on the assumption that the four-port model has higher margins, being more expensive).

    I couldn’t agree more. Apple understands that names have power, which is why we don’t have model numbers anymore (quick, what was a Performa 6400?), but then the company goes too far in the other direction by reusing them willy-nilly (how many Magic Keyboards do we have now?) and forcing us to bring in dates (Late 2014 27-inch iMac) or generations (seventh-generation iPad) just to identify what we’re talking about. And when the few modifiers that the company does use are applied with no thought to what they mean, it just becomes all the more confusing.

    No, the MacBook Pro has a Touch Bar, whereas the MacBook Air has function keys. I switch between my primary apps using the function keys, and have for 30 years, so I’m not keen on losing them. F1 is my main text editor, F2 is my main browser, F3 is my email client, F4 is my file transfer app (not used so much anymore), F5 is my calendar, F6 is iTunes/Music, and F8 is iChat/Messages. There are a few others as well, like F9 for Trello and F11 for Nisus Writer Pro, that I don’t use nearly as much as I used to, due to not running Take Control Books.

  29. You can simulate a standard function key/control functions setup in the Touch Bar via System Preferences->Keyboard. Of course, you do miss the tactile feedback of having actual keys.

    Note that the new keyboard associated with latest generation MacBook Pros shortened the control strip putting an actual escape key on the left and some space between the control strip and the Touch ID sensor

  30. Was the butterfly keyboard that bad?

  31. ACE wrote:
    quick, what was a Performa 6400?

    Not Googling, so the following is just a memory guess: Tower format. Circa 1996. PowerPC 603 (don’t remember exact speed, but let’s say 200 MHz), LC-PDS slot, TV tuning capabilities with added hardware, IR remote, Comm Slot II for modem or Ethernet, IDE hard drive, Mac OS 7.6. Sold as “LC 6400” in educational markets. How’d I do?

  32. Had no experience with it myself, but there were hundreds if not thousands of complaints and instances of failure reported at the time, and I don’t recall a single positive comment.

  33. The Butterfly Keyboard is an epic, earth shattering disaster that is still being played out. To date, it has been costing Apple millions of $$$$$$$, along with years of very bad press that is still ongoing. It’s also rumored that it was major contributing factor in the departure of Jony Ive:

  34. Just the other day I came across this Steve quote.

    If you keep your eye on the profit, you’re going to skimp on the product. But if you focus on making really great products, then the profits will follow.

    I think this is exactly why the low-end 13" doesn’t make sense right now. Keeping it around serves to have a $1499 “pro” product because apparently that’s an important price point to hit. But the product itself is ill chosen and ill spec’ed because they are trying to hit a low entry price point, and as such is poorly equipped to really make Apple money. What they should do is just make great products, like the new Air and the new high-end 13". The profits will follow even if $1499 doesn’t show up as a price tag.

  35. First Geekbench results are in for the 10th-gen Core i5 (28 W, 10 nm) 13" at $1799.

    They show 1236/4455 single/multi-core as compared to 927/3822 for the left-over 8th-gen Core i5 (15 W, 14 nm) at $1499. That’s +33% (single) and +17% (multi).

    For comparison, the new $1099 MBA with a 10th-gen Core i5 (10 W, 10 nm) does 1052/2755 which is no doubt impressive, but remember that due to its thermal limitations while it will peak at these scores, it won’t be able to maintain them under sustained high load (unlike the better cooled higher-TDP MBP).

    For the new 10th-gen 2.3 GHz Core i7 13" I can so far only find one Geekbench result and it appears to be suspiciously low.

  36. Don’t get me started on the 21.5" iMacs that include 5400 RPM hard drives in all of their default options. Those machines are unusable right out of the box.

  37. If Steve Jobs rose from the dead today I am positive that he would be exactly as focused as Tim Cook obviously is on the current global economic, supply chain, shipping, etc. crisis that is drastically upending the marketplace across the globe. Most of Apple’s suppliers and manufacturers in China, etc. were shut down for months or weeks. Apple has shut down their offices across the globe. Steve would most certainly be adjusting the price points on new hardware releases to respond to challenges emerging every day like this one in the US:

    “Another 3.2 million people filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week, in the latest evidence of the economic devastation from the pandemic. The U.S. government report released Thursday brings the total tally over seven weeks to more than 33 million. The weekly numbers have declined since reaching a peak of 6.9 million claims in late March. But the data remains shocking: Officials in some states say more than a quarter of the work force is jobless.”

    Consumers today are more focused on pricing and value. The new Mac line up was already in production when the Coronavirus crisis hit. The powers that be at Apple are dealing with the fact that Apple Stores across the globe are shut down, as are those of the majority of their retailers, and many nations and localities have imposed quarantines, shelter in place requirements and travel bans. Shipping remains increasingly challenging as many countries have imposed restrictions. Apple can’t even do the WWDC in person this year.

    In February Tim Cook warned that Apple’s hardware sales would be down in the quarter:

    Most certainly he adjusted pricing on the yet to be released Macs as the global economic situation would clearly continue worsen on a long term basis. Steve wouldn’t have done anything different, and that’s why he chose his brilliant wingman, who had a supply and demand background, to be his successor.

  38. I have one of the MacBook Pros with the butterfly keyboard and actually quite like it as a keyboard. It took some getting used to, but so does any new keyboard. Really like the feel of the keys and the short travel.

    The issue, of course, is that the reliability was terrible. I had one keyboard replaced already, and I think the second one is beginning to lose a key. Thankfully, Apple covered the first one, as it requires a substantial replacement and (I think) costs around $700 if you have to pay for it.

  39. Jason Snell’s review of the new MacBook Pro calls out the same thing we’re talking about here—that the low-end model is a completely different machine that’s similar to the MacBook Air.

    John Gruber, responding to Jason’s article, says exactly the same thing at Daring Fireball.

    They’re not bad MacBooks by any sense — but I genuinely wonder who they’re for. Most people who want a 13-inch MacBook should definitely get the new Air; those who want or need more performance should get the high-end MacBook Pro. I’m not sure who the people in the middle are, other than those who feel they should buy a MacBook with “Pro” in the name because that sounds better.

  40. That would perhaps make sense if the low-end 13" was actually good value. It’s not. For most consumers a new i5 Air will perform about the same and spec’ed the same (8/512) it’s actually $200 cheaper. So there’s your coronavirus model.

    Is there somebody out there who prefers the the MBP form factor over the Air? Sure. Is there somebody out there who prefers display brightness over battery life? Sure. But is that typical of the consumer market? Is it typical off the cornonavirus consumer looking for a budget Mac? Of course not. The low-end 13" is unfocused and a product without a real user base. In this market in 2020, a typical product of marketing gone unchecked instead of the result of ambitious engineering. Just the thing Steve abhorred.

  41. We remember Steve Jobs’ original four quadrants product approach, but we forget that he started selling quite a range of machines later on. In early 2006, Apple was selling the eMac, the iMac G5 17", the iMac G5 20", the Mac mini, the Power Mac G5, the Xserve G5, the iBook G4, the iBook G4 14", the PowerBook G4 12", the PowerBook G4 15", and the PowerBook G4 17" plus all their configurations.*

    Right now, we have the MacBook Air, the MacBook Pro 13", the MacBook Pro 16", the Mac mini, the iMac, the iMac Pro, and the Mac Pro plus all their configurations.*

    I’m not really seeing much difference. If anything, Cook’s lineup is less packed than Jobs’.

    *data from wikipedia and the Apple home page.

  42. You are assuming that the majority of Mac purchasers are as savvy, technically oriented and discerning as you, an accomplished and focused and highly educated scientist, are. The majority of Mac purchasers are not. They don’t read TidBITS, Six Colors, Daring Fireball, or other technically focused Mac journals. Gamers will be focused more on speed, road warriors on weight and size, artists and visual production pros on screens, etc., etc. But in the current economic, health and social crisis, price is increasingly a decision making factor an everyone’s mind. A road warrior on a constrained budget will not want to schlep around a heavier machine, a gamer will be less concerned about weight and focused more on speed.

    We don’t know what prices Apple had determined back in 2019 when the new Macs went into production. But we do know that the economic situation dramatically changed beginning this past December when China had a problem that could no longer be ignored. Apple has new products coming off recently unfrozen assembly lines that it needs to sell now. In order to do so they needed to price them accordingly during a rapidly deteriorating economic crisis affecting just about everybody on earth.

    In the past few days I posted about the distress I had, and still have, about when it was announced that the just released, top of the line, 9600 beige box I bought about 6-8 weeks before would be unable to run OS X because Apple announced a new blue and white 9600 which would run a Power PC chip. Though I am still unhappy about not being able to run OS 10 for a few years and the subsequent price drop on my beige box 9600, I could understand why Steve Jobs wanted to release OX 10 ASAP. Did I whine about it on TidBITS Talk? No.

  43. You’ve got it exactly backwards. Because most consumers aren’t nerds, good Apple kept things simple and avoided unnecessary overlap. Now not-so-good Apple has a lineup with two well tailored systems out of three, but only the nerds will know which two those are.

  44. A quick search turns up a lot of results about laptops and tablets flying off the shelves in an even more highly highly price conscious, work and school at home focused market:

    This article is from the WSJ, where it is behind a paywall:

    One of the points covered in the article above is how Apple typically waits to anounce its new lineups with a spectacular show-and-tell, but not this time. I’m sure that Apple as well as all the PC and Chromebook manufacturers in the world are very aware that once things open up, the boom is highly likely to end and they need to rake in whatever they can as quickly as they can.

  45. Thank you for the link, @ace. Exactly the problem. Who is the customer supposed to be for the $1499 13" MBP?

  46. I’m still wondering whether to upgrade my 13" 20013 MBP 2013. I’d definitely like some more SSD. Yet… I really thought they would do a 14" this time, like they did a 16" to upgrade the 15".

    This is from a friend who works at Apple:

    “In the “strange but true” category, Apple is incredibly tight-lipped internally about release dates and features, so the “rumors” sites nearly always have better info than you’ll get internally. It looks like the 14” MBP is most likely to be announced at WWDC, which they just announced will be virtual this year, on June 22. Here’s an example of the rumors:

    The other thing I think is worth paying attention to (not sure, though) is special deals–when resellers or Apple start offering something with a big discount, it might be (I say, cynically) that they think they’re going to get stuck with a big inventory once a newer model is released for roughly the same price."

    I think I might as well wait at least until WWDC to see if there is anything new. But does Apple release upgrades so soon after an upgrade like this?

    doug

  47. If you can wait I guess you might as well. Honestly though, I have a hard time believing Apple would launch a new 14" MBP less than two months after they refresh the 13" MBP in such a considerable way. But of course it’s entirely possible.

    If you’re running out of space now, you could also just get a new 13". If indeed we see a new 14" in a couple months, you can always sell off your still almost new 13" and replace it with a brand spanking new 14". That’s definitely what I’ll be doing if indeed that 14" surfaces.

  48. Really not strange but true. In the 1960s and 70s my father would talk about how much the IBM salespeople didn’t know and how rumors, which turned out to be truek, were unknown to them.

  49. Last fall/winter I got a new battery for my iPhone SE. The guy who worked with me of course tried to talk me into a new phone. I told him all the offerings were too big (and since my case was off I even showed him). I also told him it was highly likely a smaller phone was being announced in the spring. To which he said “Apple has NEVER announced phones in the spring!!!” And I held up my SE and said “Oh yes they did!”

    I really wish I could remember his name now :rofl:

    Diane

  50. So now there are a few more results showing for the 2.3 GHz i7. If I cherry pick the single very best result from that list I see 1361/4885. That’s about 10% better than the 2.0 GHz i5. Base clock speed alone is 15%. And considering most results are lower, I have to admit I’m a bit underwhelmed. Then again, it’s only a $200 upgrade (11%). Probably best to wait for more results to come in.

  51. I’ve been moaning and groaning about how Apple announced a brand new, super powered, cooler looking blue and white 9600 running a just revealed G chip that could run OS X about 6-8 weeks or so after I bought my beige 9600. To add insult to injury, the price of the beige box started dropping not long after. My vote is to wait, especially since the newer A chip Macs are expected soon.

  52. I can imagine so. Problem here is that most people focus on the short term cost of acquisition instead of total costs of ownership. The lower cost MBP’s will probably have a shorter useful lifespan (especially due to the old generation processors), increasing TCO.

    The low-end MBP’s don’t make much sense to me either. I do not think they would be in the lineup if Steve was still around, he was too much of a perfectionist for that.

  53. This latest rumor claims no 14" MBP until 2021. Presumably with mini-LED screen.

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