Apple’s Quiet Refresh
As students prepare to head off to college, Apple has updated the Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pro line to provide even more powerful options for students and professionals alike. The changes are primarily under the hood, focusing on faster performance, more RAM, and larger SSD-based storage, but there are a few modest physical changes too, including a quieter keyboard and a True Tone display.
Despite these improvements, pricing remains the same as for last year’s models. Because of this, Simply Computing has decided to reduced the 2017 Touch-Bar models. While stocks last, you can get $200 off the 15” model and $150 off the 13” model.
The non-Touch Bar 13-inch MacBook Pro remains the same, as do the 12-inch MacBook and 13-inch MacBook Air. They also discontinued the 15” MacBook Pro Retina (with traditional ports). There may be still some available from $2,449.
The new MacBook Pros move to Intel’s 8th-generation Core i7 and Core i9 processors. Previously, the 13-inch MacBook Pro used dual-core CPUs, but they now get quad-core chips. And the 15-inch models jump from quad-core chips to processors sporting
6 cores. More cores are better because more tasks can be split up between them, preventing one processor-intensive task from bogging down others.
Processing power is just one aspect of overall performance. If your Mac doesn’t have enough RAM for the apps you’re using, it has to fall back on much slower virtual memory. For those who use memory-intensive apps, the new 15-inch MacBook can now take up to 32 GB of RAM, up from a maximum of 16 GB. RAM in the 15-inch models is also DDR4, which is faster and uses less power than the DDR3 RAM used before.
Finally, if you don’t have enough fast SSD storage in a MacBook Pro, you may be forced to store large items like your Photos library and Parallels Desktop virtual machines on a slow external hard disk. The new MacBook Pros can have twice the SSD capacity as before, but it’s pricey. The 13-inch models max out at 2TB, which will add $1,750 to your bill, and the 15-inch models
can go to 4 TB, assuming you have $4080 to spare. The 512 GB ($240) and 1 TB ($720) upgrades are more reasonably priced.
Apple continues to tweak the controversial butterfly-switch keyboard. Some people haven’t liked the shallow key travel and how much noise it makes, and its keys have a tendency to stick. The new MacBook Pros feature a keyboard that’s quieter and hopefully more reliable.
You’ll also notice the new Retina displays with True Tone. First introduced with the iPad Pro and added to the iPhone in 2017, True Tone adjusts the white balance of the screen based on ambient light to make the screen more comfortable to view. It should be particularly appreciated by students working late into the night.
You know how you can issue commands to Apple’s virtual assistant on your iPhone or iPad by saying “Hey Siri”? That’s possible in the new MacBook Pros also, thanks to the inclusion of Apple’s new T2 chip. The T2 also manages the Touch Bar, facilitates a secure boot feature, and encrypts files on the fly to increase security.
These MacBook Pros are the first to support Bluetooth 5.0, which is backward compatible with Bluetooth 4.2. As Bluetooth 5.0 peripherals become more widespread, they’ll be able to communicate with the MacBook Pro at higher data rates and longer ranges—think of Bluetooth working across your entire house, rather than being limited to a single room.
Price and Availability
The entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2399, and the 15- inch model at $3199. With both models, you can choose between silver and space grey, and they’re available now.
Our take is that, like most of Apple’s speed-bump upgrades, these new MacBook Pros are simply better than the previous models— who turns down better performance for the same price? The True Tone display is also welcome, as is the quieter keyboard. And it’s nice that we can finally talk to Siri without having to hold down a key or click a button.
Visit you nearest Simply Computing to ask about these new machines and what they can offer you. We also offer interest-free financing on all products in store, including the new MacBook Pros and the newly discounted 2017 models.
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