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Bryson
Rocket Surgeon
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Whitby
 
2020-05-04, 08:37

https://www.apple.com/ca/macbook-pro-13/

A new 13" MacBook Pro to match the 16" released last year. Not 14" as was rumoured. But no more butterfly keys.

Still, this is the machine I really should buy to replace my venerable 2015 MBP that I treat very harshly. I just need to find a couple of grand down the back of the couch....

Interestingly, the upgrade to the faster processors also gets you extra TB ports. Hmm.
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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
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2020-05-04, 08:54

So this is… a little bit disappointing. Like, not huge deal Apple is doomed, but nowhere near as nice an upgrade as the 16-inch in November and the Ice Lake Air in March were.

All of them are Magic Keyboard now. The $1299 option now also has a 256 GB SSD. Good. I guess the keyboard change does make it a "new" machine, but other than that, it's really the July 2019 model with with double the storage. And honestly, with the Air being a so much better offering as of March, I'm not really sure what those $300 are supposed to buy you? A CPU/GPU that's really more of a wash? A slightly nicer screen and set of speakers? The Touch Bar? I guess the good news is the Air continues to be a really, really good Mac to recommend?

It's only with the $1799 and up that you get a newer CPU, and since these are apparently once again completely unannounced Intel parts (as was already the case with the Air), we don't really know about benchmarks just yet. As with the Ice Lake Air, two things are already clear: 1) the RAM is way faster on these tenth-gen model (3733 MHz instead of 2133), but the clock is slower, and 2) the GPU is much newer. Those two should help, but it's not clear by how much until we have more data. There may in fact be areas in which these new CPUs are worse than their Coffee Lake predecessors. And, because this isn't Comet Lake, there's no six-core option (but Comet Lake wasn't gonna happen; its integrated graphics are way too weak for Apple's needs).

TL;DR: all of these have the Magic Keyboard now. Good. The pricier options have a tenth-generation CPU, but it seems a bit hohum at this point, which may change once we have benchmarks. And lastly, the low-cost option seems to compare poorly to the Air.

Get the Air. Or, if you want something powerful, get the 16-inch.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2020-05-04, 09:29

To my utter shock they actually outfitted the two higher-end models with16GB RAM out of the box, making this the first Mac I could just walk into a store, locally (Best Buy, Simply Mac), and buy off the shelf...no online BTO, etc.

So glad they did this, as it was really the only thing I was wanting at those two price levels. I’ll delve into the rest later but I’m happy they didn’t do the chintzy 8GB on a “pro”-labeled machine. Means I don’t have to be all pissy/disappointed about things, first thing on a Monday morning.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2020-05-04, 09:53

Looks like those two lower-end models got a new keyboard and storage increase. If you’re going to play in that $1,000-1,500 space, I’d just buy an Air bumped to i5 and 16GB. You can get that for $1,299 and that would be a fine machine and it couldn't be that much less of a performer than those two lower-end 13" Pros (especially since they didn't get updated to the latest Intel stuff).

Seems the new 13” Pro is only compelling once you get into the $1,799+ offerings. I would never spend $1,299 on a crippled “pro” (that I’d still need to BTO a few things on, taking it well into the $1,499-and-up realm...at which point, just buy the $1,799 model and have better everything, right?) but it makes all the sense, to me, to spend that on an upgraded/enhanced Air. Always aim/shoot upward. A tricked-out Air is just a better use of $$$ than a hobbled, weirdo Pro, IMO.

I’m betting this is the last 13” with Intel we see. A year from now, we’ll see a new 14” with their in-house guts. Today’s release is probably more of a stopgap deal, big picture.

I’d be okay with either. Just need to figure if that extra $500 is worth it. 5-10 years ago, definitely. These days, not so clear cut.

Last edited by pscates2.0 : 2020-05-04 at 11:44.
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chucker
 
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2020-05-04, 10:02

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
Looks like those two lower-end models got a new keyboard and storage increase. If you’re going to play in that &1,000-1,500 space, I’d just buy an Air bumped to i5 and 16GB. You can get that for $1,299.

Seems the new 13” Pro is only compelling, once you get into the $1,799+ offerings. I would never spend $1,299 on a crippled “pro” (that I’d still need to BTO a few things) but it makes all the sense, to me, to spend that on an upgraded/enhanced Air. Always aim/shoot upward. A tricked-out Air is just a better use of $$$ than a hobbled, weirdo Pro, IMO.
Yup.

The Air (including the base, but especially with the $100 midrange CPU upgrade), the $1799 Pro, the $2399 16-inch Pro are all no-brainer MacBook configs right now. The $1299 Pro is… honestly not. You almost certainly want the $1299 Air midrange config instead if you're looking to spend $1299.

I'm 50-50 on whether this is a cost-saving measure, or in part rooted by continued supply problems on Intel's part. All of the newer CPUs seem to be custom parts; at least one of the Ice Lake CPUs announced August 1st, 2019 still isn't available at all.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2020-05-04, 11:50

Buy the Air or the 4-port MBP. That $1299-$1499 thing is just …

Should have dropped that model altogether. It has absolutely no reason to exist.

Apple will require us to have a floor model, and that will be the extent of our inventory.

- AppleNova is the best Mac-users forum on the internet. We are smart, educated, capable, and helpful. We are also loaded with smart-alecks! :)
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2020-05-04, 12:15

For $1,649 you can have an i7-based Air with 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD.

I can't believe there's enough true performance difference in that $1,000-1,500 space between the Air (especially tricked-out a bit) and those two lower-cost 13" Pro models. Maybe there is and I just don't realize it, but I'm not really seeing it on paper.

Just seems like Apple could simplify their lives (manufacturing, stocking, shipping, etc.) AND customer perception/buying by ceding that $1,000-1,500 notebook space to the Air (and its various BTO options) and just making the 13" Pro consist of those two upper models, starting at $1,799 (and, ideally, even less some day...$1,599 or 1,699?). But right now, with 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, the latest Intel stuff, etc., the new $1,799 is a pretty nice offering and nothing to apologize, or make excuses, for.

Having those hobbled $1,299 and $1,499 models around, labeled "pro", seems weirder than ever.

The smart-ass/cynic in me kinda wonders if they're kept around for the crowd who will only buy/own "pro"-level gear (even when it isn't) because their egos won't let them walk around with a Non-Serious™ "Mommy blogger laptop" like the Air? They'd truly rather own a less-than "pro" model (for the sake of appearances) than to ever walk around like a "total pussy and lightweight" (their characterization, not mine) with something without the word "pro" written on it.

Don't scoff too hard...I've known point-missing, spec-whore dipshits like this.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2020-05-04, 13:18

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
Don't scoff too hard...I've known point-missing, spec-whore dipshits like this.
Yep. We sometimes sell computers to them, and then roll our eyes as they walk out the door.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2020-05-04, 13:59

I'm all for folks spending their money in whatever way they see fit - it's their money, after all - but I'm not lying when I say I've had actual discussions with people who, for professional/work/peer appearances' sake absolutely refuse to consider an Air (or, back in the day, an iBook, the colored toilet seat models or even the white glossy Chiclets). Even though, to me, the Air looks very sleek and "professional" (and not "toy-ish" at all), some people just have that hang-up, I've come to learn over the years.

I know for a fact that mindset exists among some, so if they can snag a 13" Pro for $1,299, they're very happy (then they spend all their time trying to pass it off as the $1,999 model, of course).

So that's what makes me think maybe that's who those two lower-level 13" Pros appeal to? They're not doing anything they couldn't do on an Air, but they'd just rather have the prestige(?) of doing it on (and being seen with) a MacBook Pro? And they must sell in levels that Apple sees fit to keep them around, even if they're blatantly "less than" compared to the $1,799+ models.

Sure does needlessly clutter the lineup, though.

On more than a few occasions I've had to explain the 13" MacBook Pro lineup to potential buyers (or folks just asking for my general advice) and the looks/questions I get while doing so are tough to navigate.

"Uh, I don't know...just because? Tim hasn't called to clue me in on these things..." is rarely the kind of answer I like giving.

Last edited by pscates2.0 : 2020-05-04 at 14:19.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2020-05-04, 14:04

It's a pain in the ass from a sales standpoint. There just isn't an easy way to explain "this one is more expensive because reasons".
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chucker
 
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2020-05-04, 14:07

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
So that's what makes me think maybe that's who those two lower-level 13" Pros appeal to? They're not doing anything they couldn't do on an Air
To be clear, the CPU in the Pro does beat the Air at multi-core tasks. So in that sense, it is a more "pro" model still.

But I don't think it's a great bang for the buck. You're probably better off either putting that money in maxing out the Air, or if you need the CPU power, getting the $1799-and-up Pro.

Like you said, the lower-end models today seem more like a stop-gap. The higher-end ones are pretty good.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2020-05-04, 14:26

There is that difference. I just don't know if it's something most folks know/recognize? But maybe that's what it is, enough of a reason to offer it up. There is a $500 gap between a decently-spec'd Air ($1,299ish) and the upper-end Pro at $1,799. Just seems like that could be achieved via BTO on the Air, but maybe not. They may never have the performance of the stuff that goes into the Pro (even the cheaper ones). For space/thermal reasons, the Airs could never be outfitted with anything you'd see on a Pro? Maybe that little bit of knowledge is what makes the difference to some?

"I do need more 'oomph' than I could ever get from an Air, but I just can't justify $1,800...".

Is that enough of a market to support those two offerings?* Must be...they're still available after this morning (but they didn't get anything more than a new keyboard and doubled storage, so that's kinda interesting in its own way).

This will all come out in a book in about 15-20 years, and I can't wait to hear the low-down on it. To be a fly on the wall in Cupertino...those are probably some interesting, funny meetings and product discussions/conferences. I bet they get animated and lively!


*I do think it might play better, and be easier to understand, if maybe those two models were simply called MacBook, occupying that space between the affordable-as-possible Air and the no-compromise $1,799+ Pro? Especially if they styled it a bit differently, as a perfect middle-ground/hybrid of the Air and Pro? Then it wouldn't be so weird having to explain/accept hobbled "pro" models. They would just be decent middle-range notebooks called MacBook, sans the Air or Pro designation...a tad beefier/more capable than an Air, but more affordable (and not as balls-out as the upper-end Pros). But they probably don't want to go adding a third line to things. Can't blame them. I'm not sure which is the ideal approach: the current way where the word "pro" is kinda used in a questionable, not-entirely-true way that confuses folks and clutters/splits the Pro lineup, or perhaps having a three-tier, more clearly defined lineup: 1) affordable, 2) for the in-betweeners and 3) no-compromise performance?

Hell, just keep everything as is and simply remove the word "Pro" from the $1,299 and $1,499 models? It could actually be that easy. Just make up some new bezels and packaging without the word "pro" for those two models? Because that's really how those two models sit...more than the Air, but not quite up to Pro snuff. The actual technical work is already done, it's just a renaming/packaging/marketing job at this point.

Last edited by pscates2.0 : 2020-05-04 at 15:00.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2020-05-04, 14:30

The modest gains you get with the Pro are just not worth the $300. Either you need the power, or you don't. If you need it, go for the 4-port model (we shouldn't have to call it that); if you don't need it, the Air is cheaper. There shouldn't even be a debate here, because there shouldn't even be a product.

- AppleNova is the best Mac-users forum on the internet. We are smart, educated, capable, and helpful. We are also loaded with smart-alecks! :)
- Stand for something, or fall for anything!
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2020-05-04, 15:07

Well, that too.

But if they insist on keeping those $1,299 and $1,499 models, then my idea in the last two paragraphs of my previous post would work. It simply reflects reality, and what's already in place, better than the current naming/pricing structure.

But the easiest is indeed Air and Pro, with generous BTO for each to properly cover the space from $999 to the mid-$2,000's (for those who want a powerful-as-possible 13" and would never consider the 16" under any circumstances).

And if it ever went that route, I'd also be okay with the "Air" designation eventually removed and then you just have two simple tiers (and designs) of Apple notebook: MacBook and MacBook Pro.

You know, the way it should be already...

Do you want an affordable, lightweight and "friendly" tapered wedge that meets the needs of most of the population, or do you require something with a bit more under the hood for the more demanding work you do? Give it some thought and reach for your wallet accordingly.

The "Air" designation means less and less as the years roll on, IMO. Just call it MacBook and let it be known that's what you buy when you've got $1,000 to $1,500 to spend (and you're not a filmmaker, 3D animator or professional photographer).
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2020-05-04, 15:16

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
You know, the way it should be already...

The "Air" designation means less and less as the years roll on, IMO. Just call it MacBook and let it be known that's what you buy when you've got $1,000 to $1,500 to spend (and you're not a filmmaker, 3D animator or professional photographer).
Yep.
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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
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2020-05-04, 15:19

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
For $1,649 you can have an i7-based Air with 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD.

I can't believe there's enough true performance difference in that $1,000-1,500 space between the Air (especially tricked-out a bit) and those two lower-cost 13" Pro models. Maybe there is and I just don't realize it, but I'm not really seeing it on paper.
So, if you compare that against a $1,899 i7 Pro with the same RAM and SSD, the Air is 6% faster in single-core, but the Pro is 38% faster in multi-core.

OTOH, at that point, why not spend, uh, $100 less (???) and get the beefier base-model i5. It has twice the ports (there are technical reasons for the weird two-port thing, but it doesn't make it any less stupid) and comes with the same RAM and SSD standard. Only question is: is its CPU better? (Probably! But we don't really know yet.)
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2020-05-04, 15:33

Yeah.

If I were going to buy an Apple notebook this afternoon, in about 15 minutes, I would only consider one of two options (this morning's release made it a bit easier)

1) An Air BTO to the i5 and 16GB RAM for $1,299

or

2) I'd lose my mind and drop another $500 and just get the new, stock $1,799 13" Pro now that it has 16GB out of the box, plus the roomier storage and all the others things that, in theory, should tally up to $500-ish (but my doodling, iMovie and Sketchup usage/projects would really have to increase in a way they've not been in recent years for me to seriously consider - and justify - that).

If you put a gun to my head on May 4, 2020 and made me pick, then it's the $1,299 Air, hands down.
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chucker
 
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2020-05-04, 15:50

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
Yeah.

If I were going to buy an Apple notebook this afternoon, in about 15 minutes, I would only consider one of two options (this morning's release made it a bit easier)

1) An Air BTO to the i5 and 16GB RAM for $1,299

or

2) I'd lose my mind and drop another $500 and just get the new, stock $1,799 13" Pro now that it has 16GB out of the box, plus the roomier storage and all the others things that, in theory, should tally up to $500-ish (but my doodling, iMovie and Sketchup usage/projects would really have to increase in a way they've not been in recent years for me to seriously consider - and justify - that).
Both good choices, I think!

Before someone decides between either of those, I recommend waiting a week or two for reviews. Two things to watch out for are benchmarks (Apple seems to have gotten custom parts from Intel again, so we need more data on just how fast the new $1799-and-up models are) and thermals (where Apple has arguably had a spotty record in recent years due to Thinnovation™).
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Frank777
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Toronto
 
2020-05-05, 08:34

Isn't the Touch Bar the real demarcator between the 13" Air and the base 13" Pro? That is where the $300. is, right?

Since I have no interest in the Touch Bar, I'm an Air guy. If you're willing to pay the premium for fancy keyboard buttons, You're a Pro guy.

If you have basic needs, either with do. If you have need of higher processor speeds, you go with the second-level 13" Pro.

I'm not seeing the customer confusion here. Apple seems to have covered the bases well.
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chucker
 
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2020-05-05, 09:24

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
Isn't the Touch Bar the real demarcator between the 13" Air and the base 13" Pro? That is where the $300. is, right?
If it is, that's just too much. The Touch Bar isn't even universally accepted as great, but it surely isn't $300 great.
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Frank777
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Toronto
 
2020-05-05, 10:21

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
If it is, that's just too much. The Touch Bar isn't even universally accepted as great, but it surely isn't $300 great.
The Touch Bar probably costs Apple at least $100 per machine.
That would include the parts, design and engineering, support costs and marketing the extra SKU.

Charging $300. for it would be consistent with Apple's margins.
And as you noted, there are some marginal processor differences etc., to sweeten the pot.

It's not onerous, given that we are being given the option to choose the Touch Bar or not.
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Ryan
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Promise Land of Trustafarians
 
2020-05-05, 10:32

Totally agree that the low-end 13" MBP configs are pointless.

But that $2000 model with 16GB RAM and a 1TB SSD? I might just have to get one of those.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2020-05-05, 10:45

As odd and "huh?" as the two lower-end models now are (even more so, after yesterday), those two upper-end models just got really nice and totally warrant their name. As I've said before, for any Mac with "pro" in its name, here in 2020, to not come out of the box with (at least) 16GB RAM is just absurd. I was so happy they did this. Should've been done a year ago, but that's in the past. They've done it now, and that's what matters.

When you look at all those two upper models got - the new (old?) keyboard that works, double the storage, double the RAM, the newer Intel processors and all that entails - and they stayed at the same $1,799 and $1,999 they were before yesterday...that's pretty awesome. Apple could've jacked them up $100 or so and most buyers wouldn't have blinked, considering. But to have all that improvement/upgrade at the same price as before...hard to squawk about that! Those two higher-end 13" models are, out of the box and with no BTO fiddling, ready to go. You can certainly improve them, but, for the first time in a loooooong time, you don't have too. That stock $1,799 model would serve most designer/illustrator (lower-case)/artistic types without one thing added or upgraded.

As for those other two, just do what I suggested yesterday: remove the "Pro" from their name/packaging. Because they're definitely hobbled, compared to the "real" ($1,799+) Pro models, especially now...they didn't even get a processor upgrade, which even the Air got last month). They're still respectable, mid-range machines but calling them MacBook Pros when they're actually more akin to a really beefed-up Air is what causes any confusion (and "confusion" may be the wrong word, but I know for a fact people look at the four offerings of 13" MacBook Pros and aren't finding very much "pro" about those two lower-end models). It just looks weird/bad, IMO.

I guarantee you if they were just called MacBook, nobody would care...they'd be (rightly) seen as a separate, mid-range line...better than the Air, not quite the powerhouse of the Pro. To me, that one simple act clarifies/simplifies things tremendously. It just looks bad, IMO, to offer a "pro" machine that is obviously so hobbled/held back compared to the other two.

Words mean things.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2020-05-05, 11:57

Don't know why this just hit me...this marks the end of the butterfly(?) keyboard era, right? Everything has transitioned back to the tried-and-true design after several years...the 16", the Air last month and these 13" models yesterday. Nice.

I keep forgetting that 12" MacBook is no longer in the mix.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2020-05-05, 12:05

I think the Touch Bar demonstrates endless possibilities for future machines. However, I have yet to see the Touch Bar sell a MacBook Pro over an Air. People just don't care that much. And for $1300, a MacBook Air with a quad-core 1.1 and 512GB SSD is a better value than a Pro with a quad 1.4 and the Touch Bar. It just is. There is not enough of a differentiator in power, and the Touch Bar has yet to demonstrate itself as anything other than a novelty that has little support from developers*.

It should just be Air from $999 to $1600, and Pro from there on up. In 2004-ish the lineup made sense. There was the iBook and the PowerBook and there was no confusion. Price vs. power. It was the same in 2006 with MacBook and MacBook Pro. Then the Air dropped in and the Air was obviously very different and justified its price by being super thin and light. Now, that justification can no longer be made, so the middle tier no longer makes sense and the naming conventions are all jumbled up. Just "MacBook" and "MacBook Pro" please. The "Air" name is no longer a differentiator of being super thin and light. They are all super thin and light.

* I like the Touch Bar, but it's gone nowhere in 4 years.

- AppleNova is the best Mac-users forum on the internet. We are smart, educated, capable, and helpful. We are also loaded with smart-alecks! :)
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2020-05-05, 12:59

I’ve messed with the touchbar a bit and I can see where it might be handy/novel in a few specific scenarios, I can’t imagine it being a “reason” for any buying decision I’d ever make.

EDIT: My term paper on "what future MacBooks will probably look/work like", as enlightening and forward-thinking as it might be, is probably best for another time/thread.

Last edited by pscates2.0 : 2020-05-05 at 13:11.
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Frank777
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Toronto
 
2020-05-05, 13:11

Nah, it's more likely than the individual key functions will change dynamically using TouchBar tech. Key Travel is a real and necessary thing.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2020-05-05, 13:39

Not for those who haven't grown up on it. We're years and years from that, but somewhere down the road, one's MacBook keyboard/trackpad area will likely be a big iPad screen. We wouldn't care about keyboard feedback/travel if we never grew up on it and knew what it was. This generation coming up - and certainly the one behind them (my niece and nephew's kids, in another 15-20 years) - definitely won't be tied to old traditional ideas of text input.

If you've done nothing but type on glass since you were 10-12 years old, you don't have any strong feelings about/ties to those things. Why would you, as it was never really part of your life? If you learned to type on an iOS device, and that's all you've really ever used, there's no way you're going to be precious about hardware keyboards the way we are, those of us in our 40's/50's (and older).

We came up on physical keyboards. They're coming up on something totally different.

Mind you, I'm not talking about something that's going to take place in 3-5 years. I'm talking a good 15-20 (and maybe even longer). All of us will have to croak off and then all the people my niece's age (17) will have to be in their 30's and 40's, and their kids getting their hands on tech of the day (Siri will probably be reading our minds at that point anyway, so keyboards, period, won't even be a thing).

Last edited by pscates2.0 : 2020-05-05 at 13:54.
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Ryan
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Promise Land of Trustafarians
 
2020-05-05, 21:49

I've come around on the touch bar. Now that I've customized it, I like it quite a bit.
  • Mic toggle button that's red when my mic is hot
  • Current Spotify song
  • Next event on my calendar
  • Weather
  • Tea timer
  • Current incident status or all-clear (a work thing, tells me at a glance if something's borked)
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Brave Ulysses
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Join Date: Dec 2005
 
2020-05-05, 22:46

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan View Post
I've come around on the touch bar. Now that I've customized it, I like it quite a bit.
  • Mic toggle button that's red when my mic is hot
  • Current Spotify song
  • Next event on my calendar
  • Weather
  • Tea timer
  • Current incident status or all-clear (a work thing, tells me at a glance if something's borked)
Glad you have found value in it. No one else has, including Apple.
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