Apple Cuts MacBook Air Prices, Updates MBP, and Kills off the MacBook
Apple made a variety of changes to its product lines yesterday, with some systems becoming genuinely better deals and a few others shuffling off the mortal coil altogether.
First, the last 13-inch MacBook Pro without a Touch Bar has been axed, which means the entire 13-inch product family now includes this feature. The cheapest MacBook Pro is now $1,299, with a 128GB SSD and features like the T2 security chip, Touch Bar, and True Tone, a technology that matches a display’s white point to ambient conditions. The fact that the bottom-end Mac now includes Apple’s T2 security processor could mean it’s now more susceptible to the same USB audio bugs that have affected every other T2-equipped system. Apple has never acknowledged the bug, but reports from late May suggests it’s still very much alive. macOS 10.14.4 may have solved the problem for some users, but reports on its usefulness vary.
Specs have also been tapped upwards on the entry-level MacBook Pro, with slightly faster 8th Generation Intel CPUs and cheaper storage upgrades. The bottom-end configuration update is impressive; previously these machines offered 7th Generation Kaby Lake dual-core CPUs, as opposed to a faster quad-core based on Coffee Lake.
The MacBook Air got a price trim (-$100) and True Tone technology — oh, and a smaller maximum storage capacity, down to 1TB, from 1.5TB.
These new laptops all feature Apple’s latest butterfly keyboard, which should theoretically help prevent the keyboard jams Apple has become infamous for, though the company isn’t formally willing to say it expects improved performance from the keyboards. The new models are all covered by the keyboard repair program, however.
Finally, Apple has bid goodbye to the late, unlamented Apple MacBook. The MacBook was a fascinating experiment in minimalism and appears to have originated as a joke between Tim Cook and Johny Ive to see what the least-useful computer Apple could still sell would look like. It had one and only one USB-C port, which made the computer exceptionally difficult to use for anything while charging it. The MacBook was the first Apple laptop to deploy its now-infamous butterfly keyboard, and it offered weaker overall performance than other Mac laptops. Keyboards on the early systems failed 2x as often as Apple’s previous keyboards according to AppleInsider. College students also get extra discounts on these systems, bringing the MacBook Air price down to $999, for example.
At this point, I’m not terribly enamored with any Apple laptops. The company has encountered far too many problems with product quality over the past few years for me to feel comfortable recommending anyone purchase an Apple product. At the very least, I recommend potential buyers take a wait-and-see attitude to make certain no issues pop up in the short term.
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