MacBook Pro: The biggest and baddest Mac laptops

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MacBook Pro has been the product name for Apple’s high-end laptop since early 2006 when the transition to Intel processors began. It has a storied history with many different models, and has lived through at least distinguishable generations. Here’s everything you need to know about the MacBook Pro at a high level, including a brief history and look at the most recent models.

MacBook Pro history

The aluminum build of the first generation models was significant, while the second generation took that innovation to the next level with a metal unibody. Then, the third generation MacBook Pro line introduced the famed Retina display, while the fourth generation brought the infamous Touch Bar and USB-C ports. The fifth generation models brought back the Magic Keyboard after years of Butterfly Keyboard madness, and the most recent sixth generation models brought the laptops into modern times with Apple Silicon.

Current generation 16-inch MacBook Pro

In November of 2019, Apple released a new high-end 16-inch MacBook Pro which replaced the 15-inch lineup. The model brings the return of the scissor switch mechanism with a ‘Magic Keyboard’, a six-speaker system, up to 8-core processor, and up to 64GB RAM.

In a statement, Apple VP Tom Boger described it as featuring a “larger display, blazing-fast performance, the biggest battery possible, the best notebook keyboard ever, awesome speakers and massive amounts of storage”.

The laptop brought a larger display, great performance, the biggest battery physically possible (literally — it’s the largest battery you can still carry on a plane), and high performance speakers. The keyboard is great, bringing back the inverted T arrow key.

While it’s not an Apple Silicon model (those are rumored to be coming later), Apple improved the thermal performance in the 16-inch model. The new models feature 6- and 8-core CPUs and up to 64GB RAM, and GPUs that offer up to 2.1 times faster graphics performance than the previous standard configuration.

Apple is claiming this is the first notebook in the world to offer an 8 TB option for internal storage. As standard, it now comes with 512GB SSD — double the previous generation. With the release of the 16-inch MacBook Pro, Apple discontinued the older 15-inch model.

16-inch pricing

There are two main base models for the 16-inch MacBook Pro: an i7 model with 512GB of storage and an i9 model with 1TB of storage. You can check Amazon prices below, or configure your own at Apple.

16-inch MacBook Pro i7 (Check Amazon)

  • 2.6GHz 6-core 9th-generation Intel Core i7 processor
  • Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz
  • AMD Radeon Pro 5300M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory
  • 16GB of 2666MHz DDR4 memory
  • 512GB of SSD storage¹
  • 16-inch Retina display with True Tone
  • Magic Keyboard
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports

16-inch MacBook Pro i9 (Check Amazon)

  • 2.3GHz 8-core 9th-generation Intel Core i9 processor
  • Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz
  • AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory
  • 16GB of 2666MHz DDR4 memory
  • 1TB of SSD storage¹
  • 16-inch Retina display with True Tone
  • Magic Keyboard
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports

Current-generation 13-inch MacBook Pro

Apple recently refreshed the 13-inch MacBook Pro, and with that refresh came one of the biggest changes to Apple’s lineup of laptops in quite some time: Apple Silicon. For right now, the difference between the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the 16-inch model are pretty major, and it all comes down to how the laptops fare in CPU performance. Both in raw performance and heat/battery consumption, the 13-inch models are better.

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