Tuesday, July 9, 2019

MacBook Air 2019 and New 13-inch MacBook Pro

Joe Rossignol:

Apple today announced that it has updated the MacBook Air with a True Tone display and lowered the price of the notebook to $1,099 in the United States, or $999 for qualifying students through Apple’s education store.


Alongside today’s update and price drop, Apple has also discontinued the 2017 MacBook Air, which it had continued to sell for $999 following the introduction of the revamped MacBook Air last October.

It is great to see more frequent Mac updates. Now the only non-Retina Mac is the base iMac—unless you count the Mac Pro and Mac mini because of the available external displays.

Joe Rossignol:

Apple today announced it has updated its entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro with the latest 8th-generation Intel Core quad-core processors for up to two times faster performance compared to the previous generation. The notebook now also features a Touch Bar with Touch ID, a True Tone display, and the Apple T2 security chip.

It’s sad to no longer be able to get a MacBook Pro without a Touch Bar, but the 13-inch MacBook Escape hadn’t been updated in more than two years.

Wojtek Pietrusiewicz:

If Apple hadn’t added the Touch Bar to the non-Touch Bar model and just upgraded the CPU, I would be ordering one right now — the new CPUs are exactly what I have been waiting for. Unfortunately, they did, so that probably means no more Macs for me, at least until they get rid of the Touch Bar. And no, the Air is not sufficient for my needs — it lacks Display P3 and a proper processor.


99%+ of my usage of the touchbar is pressing escape, adjusting screen brightness, speaker volume, or accessing music controls.

All of these worked flawlessly when I had physical keys, but now it’s hard to know what I’m pressing without looking, and sometimes the controls become unresponsive to touches or drags.

I am also a musician. The Touch Bar is fantastic to adjust tuneables in GarageBand, without the gorilla arm or wobbly screen effect you get on touchscreens.

Mark Munz:

Apple adds Touch Bar to entry level MacBook Pro, because THAT’S what everyone has been clamoring for – more Touch Bar.


Nick Heer:

This simplifies the lineup dramatically. No longer are there three similar yet purportedly different computers within $200 of each other; now, there’s a simple choice of consumer models and professional models, and at respectably lower price points to boot.

Stephen Hackett:

I think for almost everyone, the MacBook Air is the right notebook. It’s thin and light, with plenty of power for most tasks, but if you need a better GPU or more cores, the MacBook Pro is a logical upgrade. I like it when the Mac product line makes sense.

John Gruber:

Other than the increase in size of the “smallest” MacBook, the only knock against today’s revamp is that the starting price (for those other than college students) has jumped from $1000 to $1100.


Update (2019-07-10): See also: Hacker News.

Update (2019-07-11): Dan Seifert:

macbook pro owners: what are you using the touchbar for at this point, three years on from its debut?

Joe Rossignol:

Geekbench 4 scores indicate the base 2019 model with an 8th-generation 1.4GHz quad-core Core i5 processor has up to a 6.8 percent increase in single-core performance, and up to 83.4 percent faster multi-core performance, compared to the base 2017 model with a 7th-generation 2.3GHz dual-core Core i5 processor.

Update (2019-07-15): Benjamin Mayo:

The equivalent 256 GB SSD 2018 MacBook Air could top 2 GB/s read and around 0.9 GB/s write speeds. Therefore, the new SSD component in use has marginally superior write speeds but 35% slower read speeds, falling from 2 GB/s to 1.3 GB/s.

Update (2019-07-19): Dieter Bohn:

Most of all — keyboard aside — the overall design and quality of the hardware is top-notch. There are dozens of Windows laptops in the same price range that beat this Air on any number of metrics. You can get edge-to-edge screens, log in with your face, and find faster and more powerful processors. But very few of them have the same iconic look and feel of the aluminum Air.


There’s also the fact that Apple was unable to update the processor to something more powerful. It is still using a 1.6GHz dual-core “Y-series” Intel processor, which is not nearly as powerful as the “U-series” processor you find on the MacBook Pro and many Windows laptops.

Via Nick Heer:

Based on Bohn’s review, it seems like this year’s revision gets closer to correcting the balance. Get a decent keyboard in these things again and there ought to be no reason for most people with the money to spend to even consider buying anything else.

5 Comments RSS · Twitter

> If Apple hadn’t added the Touch Bar to the non-Touch Bar model and just upgraded the CPU, I would be ordering one right now — the new CPUs are exactly what I have been waiting for. Unfortunately, they did, so that probably means no more Macs for me, at least until they get rid of the Touch Bar.

TouchBar feels like it might be the end of my MacBook life, too.

I've had a 2018 MBA at work for the last 6 months. It's fine, but not good enough for me to buy with my own money to replace my 5 year old Air. This update is welcome but doesn't change that calculus, sadly.

Aside from the showstopper that is the keyboard, the new MBA simply lacks the attention to various details that made the previous generation so great. I hope more significant updates are in the works.

I think, and I am speculating, those pricing has to do with Intel giving Apple's better deal.

My 2013 13" MacBook Pro is getting long in the tooth so I priced up a new model with the same configuration as my existing machine. It came to £2400, £500 of which was on dongles & docks to replace the missing ports & no-longer compatible dongles used in my existing machine. I spent £1600 on the MacBook in 2013, £200 of which was on dongles.

Suffice it to say I'll not be replacing the 2013 machine until it physically ceases to function.

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