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Apple announces the 16-inch MacBook Pro with a brand-new keyboard

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Apple has finally announced the launch of the 16-inch MacBook Pro — after the longest and most convoluted series of rumors and leaks since the original iPhone. Starting at $2,399, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is available today through apple.com and the Apple Store app. The overhauled design comes with a brand-new keyboard, a higher resolution display, and a separate Touch ID button. And with a similar price tag to the MacBook Pro 15 it has now replaced, there are no nasty surprises in terms of cost.

The device has been rumored for months, but as recently as the end of October it was thought that Apple had pushed it back to 2020. In the end that proved false. Also wide of the mark was a decent chunk of the laundry list of possible features and specs the rumor mill kitted the device out with; in the end, many of these failed to come to fruition.

Still, for some Mac fans the news that the failure-prone butterfly keyboard has been replaced will be music to their ears. Apple had been forced to revise the butterfly design multiple times since its inception in 2015, yet had still been unable to shake consumer disappointment with its shallow travel and often-sticky keys. It will be hoping the new scissor-switch design — they’re calling it Magic Keyboard of course — brings with it much more satisfaction and positive press.

And big news: There’s a physical escape key. At last!

Image used with permission by copyright holder

As well as that, the larger, higher-resolution display (3,072 × 1,920) is a definite step up from the 2,560 × 1,600 resolution found in the old 15-inch model. Although it’s not the OLED display some had hoped for, that’s perhaps unsurprising given Apple is rumored to be working on a superior mini-LED screen that could debut as early as late 2020. It does have a higher pixel density of 226 ppi, Apple said.

It was originally thought the 16-inch MacBook Pro would exist as a high-end MacBook Pro separate from the 13- and 15-inch models (in the same way the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max are significant steps up from the iPhone 11). This belief was gradually replaced by the idea that the 16-inch MacBook Pro would instead take the place of the MacBook Pro 15, offering more to distinguish it from the 13-inch variant without going so far as to be a distinct, ultra-high-end model in its own right.

In terms of performance, Apple has also pushed out some big improvements. Though it still features the same options for 6-core or 8-core Intel processors, the new MacBook Pro does feature new graphics cards from AMD. The AMD Radeon Pro 5000M-series cards are the first 7nm discrete graphics cards, based on the Navi architecture featured in AMD’s latest desktop cards.

Holding all this together is a new thermal system, which Apple says is the “most advanced thermal architecture ever in a Mac notebook.” The new system supposedly results in 28% better airflow. Also features is a larger heat sink and bigger vents, which Apple says can help the system sustain “up to 12 more watts during intensive workloads” than the previous model. You can also configure the laptop with up to 8TB of SSD storage and up to 64GB of RAM — both of which are firsts for the MacBook Pro.

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