Skip to main content

The launch of the new MacBook Pro has been a complete disaster

Updating laptops to the newest generation of Intel processors shouldn’t be this difficult. Every year Dell, HP, and Asus handle it as a simple way to keep computers up-to-date without having to do a complete redesign every year.

Easy, right? Yet Apple has managed to completely fumble it.

No entry level update

We knew there was something fishy about this year’s MacBook Pro when we first saw the listing. While the $1,800+ models have refreshed 8th-gen CPUs, the lower-end models were conveniently left off the update. These cheaper models, ranging from $1,300 to $1,600, are stuck with the same 7th-gen Intel processors introduced over a year and half ago.

With word that Intel is about to drop 9th-gen processors next month, you can see where this is all going. The most affordable models will soon be two generations behind. It’s the MacBook Air’s problem all over again.

The most expensive models have problems

MacBook Pro 15
Malarie Gokey/Digital Trends

Despite the lack of updated entry-level options, we were happy to see Apple bring Intel’s Core i9 to the higher-end 15-inch MacBook Pros. We’ve tested these chips on other laptops and witnessed the processing power firsthand.

But even here, Apple took the easy route here and hoped nobody would notice.

Within days of the first fans ordering their new MacBook Pros, reports were posted about the throttling issue with these Core i9 chips. Because the new MacBook Pros use the same chassis as before, these high-powered Core i9 chips are severely throttled, to the point where they perform worse in intensive loads than the cheaper Core i7 model. 

If you want, you can manually control the fan speed to gain some of that performance back, but since when does Apple release products that aren’t optimized? The days of “it just works” seem long gone.

The keyboard continues to haunt Apple


The admission that Apple severely messed up on the MacBook Pro keyboard has been slow and painful. It came to a head when the company finally announced it would provide free repairs and replacement for sticky keys in May.

In the 2018, Apple has included what it calls a “third-generation butterfly mechanism.” When first announced, we assumed Apple had fixed the problem plaguing the previous generation of keyboards, but instead, Apple was silent on the issue. The initial response from Apple was that it hadn’t made engineering tweaks to address the sticky key issue, while also not covering it under the new repair program.

It was only until iFixit revealed the silicon pad installed under each key that Apple finally reversed its previous statement and admit its new keyboard had anti-debris protection. Apple played coy to downplay the problem rather than reassure buyers that these new MacBook Pros fixed it.

All of this is strange to see happen at a company like Apple. Clarity in branding is the exact thing that allowed it to rise to such great heights in the glory days. Those days seem to be waning. Apple’s recent  missteps in messaging, product differentiation, and reliability appear to be the new normal.

Editors' Recommendations

Luke Larsen
Luke Larsen is the Senior editor of computing, managing all content covering laptops, monitors, PC hardware, Macs, and more.
The MacBook monopoly just got overturned
The Surface Laptop shown in front of a Copilot+ sign.

MacBooks have had a good ride.

It's been four years of running circles around Intel, AMD, Microsoft, and every laptop manufacturer with their Apple Silicon ARM chips. Until very recently, PC sales had been tanking too, all while Macs were holding steady.

Read more
The new Surface Laptop and Surface Pro are finally living up to their potential
The new Surface Pro on a table.

Copilot+ represents a new era for Windows laptops, and it's a fresh reimagining for Surface as well. You'll notice that the generational number in the name is gone with this new era -- one that comes with a new design, higher performance, and AI features.

Both the new Surface Laptop and Surface Pro come exclusively with up to a Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite, which brings massive leaps in performance, battery life, and AI capabilities over the previous generation of Surface devices.

Read more
I ask again: Will Apple ever merge the Mac and iPad?
An Apple iPad and a MacBook together on a desk alongside a pair of headphones.

Every few months, we hear the same argument being made: Apple should bring the Mac and the iPad closer together -- or even merge them and their operating systems completely -- to create some sort of hybrid device that would solve all of Apple’s problems. While I don’t entirely agree with these assessments, they do provide an interesting look into how your Apple devices might work in the coming years.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman is the latest to throw his hat into the ring, and the reporter’s Power On newsletter has detailed what he believes Apple should do to shape the future of the Mac and the iPad.

Read more