Apple launched an update range of MacBook Pro laptops on Thursday, with tweaks including eighth-generation Intel processors and a new keyboard. The update comes after months of user complaints about the reliability of the keyboard, culminating in Apple launching a free repair program.

The new laptops — previously suggested in a trademark filing last week — feature much stronger internals than their predecessors while retaining the same basic design. The 15-inch six-core model now offers up to 70 percent faster performance, while the new 13-inch quad-core model offers up to double the speed. The machines also offer a new “True Tone” display and a T2 chip enabling better Siri support. The 15-inch model also supports up to 32GB of RAM, up from the 16GB restricted on the previous models.

Phil Schiller, Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing, described the new release in a statement as “the fastest and most powerful notebook we’ve ever made.”

What’s New

The new MacBook Pro machines support an array of new features. One of the most visible will be “True Tone,” a feature that first debuted on the iPad Pro, which changes the color tones on the main screen and touch bar to better match the surroundings. The screen also offers 500 nits of brightness and support for the P3 wide color gamut, as well as the high-resolution “Retina” support found on previous models.

MacBook Pro can perform multiple tasks at once.
MacBook Pro can perform multiple tasks at once.

The new machines also offer the Apple T2 chip for handing a small number of tasks, like running the Touch ID sensor. Unlike the T1 chip that previously handled this task, the T2 also offers support for secure booting and on-the-fly encrypted storage. The T2 first debuted on last year’s iMac Pro, and researchers were quick to tout its benefits:

Unlike the iMac Pro, though, the T2 found in the MacBook Pro also offers hands-free invoking of the Siri voice assistant by saying “Hey Siri.” This is the first time the feature has been available on the Mac.

The new MacBooks also offer a third-generation keyboard for quieter typing. The “butterfly” design that debuted in the 12-inch MacBook that launched in 2015 has come under intense criticism for regular failures and a lack of key travel. The Outline went as far as to claim that readers should not buy the new MacBook Pro “even on sale.” The company launched a free repair program for older machines last month, but it remains to be seen whether the third-generation model fixes the grievances found in the previous two generations.

What’s Staying the Same

The MacBook Pro is using the same basic design that was introduced in 2016. It has a headphone jack, and either two or four Thunderbolt 3 connectors depending on the model. The connectors use the same plugs as USB-C and also support the protocol, meaning users can plug into a wide variety of newer peripherals, but will require a dongle to use older USB devices. Charging runs through the Thunderbolt connectors, meaning the magnetically-attaching MagSafe is no more.

The MacBook Pro side-by-side.
The MacBook Pro side-by-side.

Unfortunately, those that prefer full-size USB ports may be out of luck. MacRumors notes that Apple has stopped selling the 2015 model with the debut of these 2018 models.

MacBook Pro 15-inch Specifications

  • 6-core Intel Core i7 and Core i9 processors up to 2.9 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 4.8 GHz
  • Up to 32GB of DDR4 memory
  • Powerful Radeon Pro discrete graphics with 4GB of video memory in every configuration
  • Up to 4TB of SSD storage
  • True Tone display technology
  • Apple T2 Chip
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Prices starting at $2,399

MacBook Pro 13-inch Specifications

  • Quad-core Intel Core i5 and i7 processors up to 2.7 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 4.5 GHz and double the eDRAM
  • Intel Iris Plus integrated graphics 655 with 128MB of eDRAM
  • Up to 2TB of SSD storage
  • True Tone display technology
  • Apple T2 Chip
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Prices starting at $1,799