Is now a good time to buy a MacBook Pro? We’ll help you decide

new macbook pro 8th generation cpu both sizes

With Apple updating the MacBook Pro and rumors flying of an all-new 16-inch model in the works, now is a confusing time to be shopping for an Apple laptop.

Traditionally summer is a bad time to buy a new MacBook Pro because Apple sometimes updates the range in the fall. But that’s not always the case — right now, a lot depends on which model you’re thinking of buying. So, should you splash the cash or wait and see what lies around the corner?

Whether you’re in the market for a 13-inch MacBook Pro or its larger 15-inch sibling, we’ve got advice tailored to your needs that’ll help you decide if it’s time to upgrade.

Should you buy a 15-inch MacBook Pro?

MacOS Catalina Hands-on | Macbook Pro
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

If you’re in the market for a 15-inch MacBook Pro, you may be thinking that now is a great time to buy. Back in May Apple updated this model to come with the latest 9th-generation Intel processors, including an eight-core version for the first time. Apple said this is twice as fast as a quad-core MacBook Pro and offers 40% more performance than a six-core MacBook Pro.

That may make for a tempting prospect if you’re thinking of upgrading, which is why you may be surprised that we reckon now is actually a bad time to buy a 15-inch MacBook Pro. Why?

Well, it’s all to do with the rumored 16-inch MacBook Pro that Apple is slated to release sometime this fall. Word has it that Apple has a complete overhaul in mind, much like when it unveiled the iPhone X back in 2017. Details are scarce, but respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has alleged that the 16-inch model will feature much thinner bezels than the current 15-inch MacBook Pro, giving you a lot more screen space to work with.

According to the latest word on the street, the 16-inch model will come with a 3,072 x 1,920 resolution display made by LG. Expect this to come with all the usual bells and whistles — True Tone functionality, excellent color accuracy and the like.

But that’s not the main reason you shouldn’t get a new 15-inch MacBook Pro just yet. While exact details are hard to come by, we can infer some things about the 16-inch model that should convince you to stay away for now.

If Apple really is going to completely overhaul the design of its most powerful laptop, it’s going to pull out all the stops. Apple is not one to go half-hearted when it comes to redesigns, and after all, the MacBook Pro is its flagship portable device, intended to showcase just what an Apple machine is capable of.

That could mean going beyond the usual processor upgrades and a slightly faster graphics chip. If Ming-Chi Kuo is correct — and he usually is — this is going to be something akin to the 2016 MacBook Pro redesign, with an all-new design that’s been revamped in almost every way.

That would make purchasing a new 15-inch MacBook Pro just a few months before a phenomenally bad piece of judgement, especially if you opt for one of the beefier configurations, which may not look particularly powerful come the fall. It’d be a much better idea to wait until September or October and see what Apple brings to the table. If the 16-inch MacBook Pro doesn’t take your fancy, you might be able to get a cut-price on the 15-inch version anyway.

What about the 13-inch MacBook Pro?

macbook pro 13 inch non touch bar vs 15 2016 keyboard 1200x9999

If you’re considering the smaller variant of the MacBook Pro, the outlook is very different. In this case, we’d wholeheartedly recommend the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

That’s because its latest update, coming in early July 2019, has finally made the entry-level version the laptop we always wanted it to be. Before this update, it really was the runt of the littler, languishing with a 7th-generation dual-core Intel processor while the rest of the lineup sat pretty on 8th- and 9th-generation quad-core (or better) chips. It was also the only MacBook Pro that didn’t come with the Touch Bar — whatever you think of Apple’s OLED control strip, its absence marked the entry level model as the odd one out.

That all changed in July. Apple upgraded the processor in the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro to an 8th-generation quad-core chip, making it much more powerful than previously. As well as that, it now comes with the Touch Bar as standard, as well as a True Tone display and Apple’s T2 Security Chip which, among other things, enables “Hey Siri” voice activation.

What really made it such a good deal, though, was that Apple did all this without increasing the price. The entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro still costs $1,299 even with all these extras bundled in — and you can get an extra $100 off if you’re a student. Keeping the price the same while packing in a load of extras makes the 13-inch MacBook Pro great value for money — a far cry from its sorry state just a few months ago. And don’t forget it also gets Apple’s first-rate build quality, the spacious Force Touch trackpad, plus Apple’s excellent software bundled in too.

While the 15-inch model may be phased out in favor of the rumored 16-inch beast, there’s no such speculation about the 13-inch MacBook Pro. That’ll still be here come the fall (perhaps with a slight processor bump, but nothing more), so buying one now won’t look like an error of judgement just a few months down the line.

So, with all that in mind, we’d say now is a great time to buy a 13-inch MacBook Pro. The entry-level model represents excellent value for money and it’s not going anywhere any time soon, so if you buy it now you should be in safe waters.

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