The long-awaited 16-inch MacBook Pro arrived today, touted by Apple as “by far the most powerful notebook we’ve ever made”. Probably the most desired feature of the new MacBook Pro is the new Magic Keyboard, which features a scissor mechanism with 1 mm of travel for responsive and quiet typing…without the mechanical issues of the troublesome butterfly-switch keyboard used on recent models. The new laptop replaces the 15-inch MacBook Pro and starts at a price of $2,399.
Processor: 2.3GHz 8-core Intel Core i9, Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz, with 16MB shared L3 cache. Configurable to 2.4GHz 8-core Intel Core i9, Turbo Boost up to 5.0GHz, with 16MB shared L3 cache
Storage: 1TB SSD, configurable to 2TB, 4TB, or 8TB SSD
Memory; 16GB of 2666MHzDD4 onboard memory, configurable to 32GB or 64 GB of memory
Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 4GB of GDDR6 and automatic graphics switching, Intel UHD Graphics 630. Configurable to AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 8GB of GDDR6 memory.
Retina Display: 16-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology, 3072-b7-1920 native resolution at 226 pixels per inch with support for millions of colors, 500 nits brightness, wide color (P3), True Tone technology
Video Support: Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display at millions of colors and either up to two displays with 6016-by-3384 resolution at 60Hz at over a billion colors or up to four displays with 4096-by-2304 resolution at 60Hz at over a billion colors. Output includes native DisplayPort output over USB-C, VGA; HDMI, DVI and Thunderbolt 2 output supported using adapters.
Audio: High-fidelity six-speaker system with force-cancelling woofers, wide stereo sound, support for Dolby Atmos playback, studio-quality three-mic array with high signal-to-noise ratio and directional beam forming, 3.5mm headphone jack.
Charging and Expansion: Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports with support for charging (96W Power Adapter), DisplayPort, Thunderbolt (up to 40Gb/s) and USB 3.1 Gen 2 (up to 10Gb/s).
Keyboard and Trackpad: 65 (US) or 66 (ISO) keys including 4 arrow keys in an inverted-T arrangement, Touch Bar, Touch ID sensor, ambient light sensor, Force Touch trackpad.
Wi-Fi: 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless networking, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible
Camera: 720p FaceTime HD camera
Battery: built-in 100-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery. Up to 11 hours wireless web, 11 hours Apple TV app movie playback, up to 30 days of standby time
Size and Weight: Height 0.64 inch (1.62 cm), width 14.09 inches (35.79 cm), depth 9.68 inches (24.59 cm), weight 4.3 pounds (2.0 kg)
Apple is going to sell a lot of these, as many MacBook Pro fans have been putting off a purchase decision due to the issues with the “butterfly-switch” keyboards used in recent models.
Apple managed to pack a 16-inch diagonal screen into a case not much larger than that of the 15-inch MacBook Pro by making the bezels around the screen smaller. Power users on the go are going to love the battery life, and now that Thunderbolt 3/USB-C has become commonplace, most people already have peripherals that work with the fast standards.
As usual, some design decisions are perplexing. For example, why use just a 720p FaceTime HD camera when the iPad Pro has used a 1080p HD camera? Why not use Face ID in the new laptop rather than Touch ID?
We’ve come to expect that Apple won’t provide a way for users to expand their devices, and that’s the case with the 16-inch MacBook Pro. You order it with a specific processor, a certain amount of RAM, and your choice of storage capacity, but that’s it — you can’t decide to go back later and install a RAM upgrade.
Fortunately for all of us, OWC has a variety of expansion docks that make it easy to add a plethora of devices and displays to these non-expandable laptops. The OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock ($328.99) is the perfect companion for the new MacBook Pro, giving it 10Gb/s Ethernet for shared video workflows and 10 ports. The CFast 2.0 and SD 4.0 card readers make speedy work of offloading content from cameras, and the ability to access multi-bay external drives through an eSATA port with port multiple support add virtually unlimited storage.
Update 11.18.19: Starting price corrected.