You shouldn’t buy an expensive new laptop the night before it’s updated. You’ll end up spending more money for less value. That’s the situation the popular MacBook Pro 13-inch is in.
While the 16-inch version was revamped in late 2019, it’s been almost a year since the 13-inch has received even a basic spec bump. It’s been almost four years since there have been changes to elements like the keyboard, display, and chassis.
According to recent reports, a new 13-inch MacBook Pro is due out in May. In just a few weeks, the current models will get price cuts from third-party retailers and an updated MacBook Pro will take its place.
What makes this new MacBook Pro worth the wait?
For one, it’s widely expected to come with Apple’s redesigned Magic Keyboard. This first made its debut on the MacBook Pro 16, and it was a total revelation, leading us to declare it to be “the best Mac keyboard ever released.” Unlike the more recent MacBook Pro keyboards, the Magic Keyboard has a full millimeter of travel and much lower failure rate.
Apple took the hint and included it in both the new MacBook Air, just last month. That puts the final nail in the coffin of the unreliable butterfly keyboard.
The keyboard alone is a big update, but Apple also often gives its laptops a slight tune-up every year. At the basics, that means slightly faster processors coming in to replace their tired predecessors. This year, though, we have cause to believe the spec bump will be more significant than in years past.
The key here is the new MacBook Air. This was Apple’s first laptop to come with faster 3,733MHz LPDDR4X memory and Intel’s latest 10th-generation Ice Lake processors. The Ice Lake upgrade meant the MacBook Air had quad-core processors for the first time, starting at the Core i5 model.
Another clue from the MacBook Air comes in the form of storage. In a surprising move, Apple bumped the entry-level storage option from a pathetic 128GB to a more reasonable 256GB. Like the Magic Keyboard, it seems a sure-fire move that Apple will bring this improvement to the MacBook Pro, lest the higher-end laptop appear strangely outdated.
The quad-core processor, improved keyboard, and larger storage have all made the current 13-inch MacBook Pro seem outdated. For $1,299, both the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro both came with quad-core chips and 8GB of memory. The Pro will still be more powerful thanks to its higher TDP (thermal design power), but the performance gap was lessened.
That leaves the door open for Apple to do something new with this update to the MacBook Pro. Moving up to some more powerful 10th-gen processors is the most likely option, though there’s always a chance Apple could opt for something more drastic.
For example, a switch to AMD’s new Ryzen 4000 processors would bump up the chips to eight cores and 16 threads. The result would be a laptop with much more capability in content creation tasks such as video editing and music production.
A 14-inch MacBook Pro has also been strongly rumored over the past few months — a laptop with a larger screen and thinner bezels that would replace the current 13-inch model. It’s possible Apple could launch this bigger revamp next month, but recent rumors point to a release later in the year.
Either way, it would be a foolish move to buy a MacBook Pro right now. Even if you don’t care about owning the latest and greatest technology, you could save hundreds of dollars by waiting just a few weeks.
So, if you can, hold on until May and see what Apple unveils. You will be glad you waited.
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