Well, that didn’t take long. A month after the excellent new MacBook Air’s arrival, Apple has completed the revamp of its laptop line-up that began with last year’s also excellent MacBook Pro 16-inch.
So why should you care about the MacBook Pro 13-inch that was announced today? Well, it’s pretty much the best of both worlds if you’re in search of an Apple-made laptop: portable enough to chuck in a rucksack and schlep around once lockdown is eased; powerful enough to do the heavy-duty photo and video editing that the Air just isn’t made for. Plus, it now features Apple’s Magic Keyboard for a much-improved typing experience compared to the butterfly mechanism of old.
Having spoken to the boffs at Cupertino about the MacBook Pro 13-inch, here’s what you need to know about it.
More power. Same price
The MacBook Pro is Apple’s laptop for “power users”, a group of people that extends from students with their own YouTube channel to media brands with their own YouTube channel and, of course, proper TV and movie types. Of course, not all of these folks have the finances to stretch to a top-of-the-range MacBook Pro 16-inch and that’s where the new 13-inch model comes into play.
Judged purely on its internals, you get a good bit more for your money here when compared to its previous iteration. That means double the storage space via a 256GB SSD and double the memory with 16GB RAM. Depending on which model you opt for, you can also upgrade to Intel’s latest 10th generation Core i5 processors. And if all that reads like interminable jargon, just trust us when we say it has the speed you need for Adobe Photoshop, Premiere, Bandcamp or whatever your editing software of choice happens to be.
Crucially, beyond the 13-inch MacBook Pro’s smaller screen and a less impressive speaker array, there’s not a huge amount that you’re missing out on by opting for it over the 16-inch. A turn of events that makes its $1,299 starter price all the more appealing.
The keyboard is... key
We won’t relitigate the issues Apple had with its butterfly keyboard here, mainly because you cannot buy a MacBook with the setup any more. The MacBook Pro 13-inch is the last Apple laptop to be upgraded to a Magic Keyboard and, make no mistake, it is a definitive upgrade. The keys have more travel, you get bonuses such as an “esc” key and an inverted T arrow keys, and the whole thing promises to be a lot more reliable.
As such, some people have legitimately held back on getting a new MacBook Pro until Apple resolved the issue. While we haven’t gotten hands-on with the 13-inch Pro ourselves, we’ve used the Magic Keyboard arrangement across the 16-inch Pro, latest Air and even the Magic Keyboard case for iPad. It’s slightly different but fundamentally sound across each of these products, ranking as one of the very best laptop keyboards going. We can’t imagine Apple bucking this trend at the final time of asking.
That’s all folks
While there is more to the latest MacBook Pro 13-inch, such as its claimed all-day battery life and Retina display with an ample 500 nits brightness, there’s not that much more. What elevates this model over the standard spec bump Apple gives most of its laptops on an annual basis is that unchanged price and totally revamped keyboard. The rest remains mostly unchanged and that is A-OK by us. The MacBook Pro 13-inch was already a mighty fine laptop for creatives, but these changes elevate it to a cut above.
From $1,299 at apple.com