Apple's only just updated the MacBook Pro for 2017... but we're already looking ahead to next year. Here are all the rumours about the MacBook Pro 2018's release date, specs, price and more
Apple has only just updated the MacBook Pro line, announcing at WWDC 2017 that its Pro laptops have been upgraded to faster Kaby Lake processors - a refresh coming just eight months after the launch of the Touch Bar MacBook Pro in October 2016. But not everyone is happy with the update.
Many fans had been hoping that the RAM cap would be lifted to 32GB, and there were also rumours of an Apple-designed chip to improve low-power performance mode, which did not materialise. In this article, which will be regularly updated, we examine some of the rumours about the 2018 MacBook Pro.
(You can read more about the current MacBook Pros here - MacBook Pro 2017 news - and in our 2017 13in MacBook Pro review and 2017 15in MacBook Pro review. We also have a comparison of the two models and a comprehensive Mac buying guide.)
Looks-wise we'd be very surprised if Apple made any significant departures from the new look unveiled in 2016. However, it's possible Apple may tinker with the colour options.
The MacBook Pro series currently comes in two colour finishes: silver and Space Grey, while the MacBook series is available in Gold and Rose Gold as well. Is the MacBook Pro ever likely to adopt the gold colour?
It's a possibility. But our prediction is that Apple will continue to offer gold as an option on its consumer-focused laptops, while keeping the more business-like silver and grey for the professional machines.
The current MacBook Pro models have¬†impressive screens: 2880 x 1800 on the 15.4in model, and 2560x1600 on the 13.3in one (not 4K as we previously reported - thanks to the commenter who pointed this out). But this is still a few pixels less than some of the competition.
The 2016 MacBook Pro can output the full DCI P3 colour space used for films for digital cinema output, however, as our colleague on Digital Arts notes in his review: "It's the Adobe RGB colour space that really matters as this is what's used internally by tools from Photoshop to Illustrator to Premiere Pro -¬†and again here the MBP is lacking. In our tests with a DataColor Spyder5Elite colorimeter, we found that the MacBook Pro's screen can output 91 percent of the colours in the Adobe RGB."
In their tests Dell's Precision 5510 and the Wacom MobileStudio Pro could output 91 percent of the colours in the Adobe RGB.
In the next version of the MacBook Pro we'd like to see an improvement here.
Another desirable addition to the screen would be touchscreen capabilities, something much of the competition also shares. While Apple's late CEO Steve Jobs said that he felt that touch screens were a bad idea (because they would make your arm ache) there is some value in being able to touch a screen rather than use a mouse or track pad when you are in cramped conditions, such as those in which our colleague on Digital Arts wrote his review.
Apple may have a solution to the touch screen wishes in mind. Apparently the company is looking at hooking an iPad Pro up to a Mac to use it as a Cintiq-like device, according to OSnews.
What will Apple change about the next MacBook Pro's internals?
As we said above, there is expectation that the next generation of MacBook Pro will offer 32GB RAM at the high-end.
In the future, Apple could move away from Intel chips and look at what's on offer from AMD. According to an Archtosh report, AMD has launched RYZEN 7 CPUs that "promise more computing muscle per watt than Intel" and, according to a report the new AMD RYZEN 7 1800X just set a new world record score for Cinebench, a respected CPU performance benchmark.
That report states that the new RYZEN 7 chip lineup roughly competes with Intel's i7 line including the i7-6900K, i7-6800K, and i7-7700K.
We think such a transition is unlikely however, given the fact that Apple had to rewrite the operating system to prepare for the Intel switch. Perhaps more likely is the idea that Apple will design its own chips (although we think all rumours about this pointed to the processor that powers the Touch Bar in the 2016 MacBook Pro.)
An Apple-designed processor?
The chip that powers the Touch Bar in the MacBook Pro may not be the only low power chip coming from Apple. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman predicted in February 2017 that the new MacBook Pro will feature an Apple-designed chip to handle simple tasks such as email and updates while the laptop is asleep, citing "people familiar with the matter".
"The chip, which went into development [in 2016], is similar to one already used in the latest MacBook Pro to power the keyboard's Touch Bar feature," Gurman writes. "The updated part, internally codenamed T310, would handle some of the computer's low-power mode functionality."
By building a dedicated low-power processor, Apple could reduce battery consumption.
There are rumours that the new MacBook Pro scheduled to be introduced at WWDC in June will feature this new, Apple-designed chip to manage and improve the computer's low-power performance mode.
With Apple pointing to battery life as the reason it won't offer more RAM in the MacBook Pro you might be wondering whether there is room for improvements to battery life in the next model, or if battery life could (or should) suffer if Apple is to offer a truly pro-level machine.
The 2016 machine offers 10 hours of battery life, as did earlier models. There was some question about the accuracy of this claim earlier in 2017 when Consumer Reports tested the battery life and found that is was less. However, Consumer Reports battery life tests had been influenced by a bug in Safari's developer mode that consumers wouldn't be using.
When Apple launched the new MacBook Pro many of the familiar ports disappeared replaced by USB-C/Thunderbolt 3. The headphone jack remained despite being lost from the iPhone and iPad. Will it remain in the next version of the MacBook Pro? Possibly, although it seems likely that Apple will swap it for Lightning or another Thunderbolt 3 port in the future.