While the minimalist 12in MacBook appeals to general users, the Pro is the choice of more demanding buyers, particularly those who design for a living. They will be keen to see how Apple has updated its top-end laptops this year.
Well, it’s taken the concept of ‘top-end’ and run with it. The entire Apple range has undergone a price increase due to the fall in sterling, and on top of that the MacBook Pros are more expensive than before. At £1,449, even the cheapest new 13in is a substantial investment.
MacBook Pros feel like computers from the future – a future where laptops are nigh on unaffordable.
The new design is thinner and lighter and moves the SSD to a PCI-Express 3 interface, making reading and writing data incredibly fast. Combined with an Intel Skylake i5 processor, this gives you a speedy system even for tasks like basic photo and video editing.
This model lacks Apple’s big new feature – the Touch Bar: a miniature touchscreen display that replaces the function keys on the keyboard. It’s a lovely idea, giving you different options in each program, including settings sliders and video timelines. But if you want it, the price soars to an eye-watering £1,749. It also reduces battery life: we got eight hours 39 minutes of video playback, compared with nine hours 50 minutes with the non-Touch Bar system.
At the higher end, the 15in MacBook Pro comes with an i7 processor and a choice of Radeon GPUs to satisfy creative professionals, who are used to paying around £2,000. But it now starts at £2,349. Pay £2,699 for a more usable 512GB machine and you still only get 16GB of main memory – that’s the maximum. If you opt for the fastest i7 chip and other extras, a fully loaded 15in MacBook Pro (2016) costs a crazy £4,049.
In their defence, all of these machines have even bigger glass multi-touch trackpads and superb high-resolution screens with unbeatably accurate color. It’s annoying that there are no standard USB ports or SD card readers, but the four USB Type-C ports can all connect monitors or extremely fast drives, with adapters available for everything else.
These MacBooks do feel rather like computers from the future – a future where laptops are nigh on unaffordable. It’s a difficult time to ask creative professionals to spend more, and for the rest of us a MacBook Pro is now probably out of the question.
2.0GHz Intel ¡5 dual-core processor • 16GB memory • 256GB SSD • Intel Iris Graphics 540 • 13.3in 2560×1600-pixel screen • 802.11ac Wi-Fi • Bluetooth 4.2 • FaceTime camera • 4x USB Type-C ports • MacOS 10.12 Sierra . 14.9x304x212mm (HxWxD) • One-year warranty
It’s thin, light and very fast, but also so expensive that it’s in danger of pricing out even the professionals
It’s not as impressive, but it has an i7 processor, 512GB SSD and high-res sRGB screen with Windows 10
It's thin, light and very fast, but also so expensive that it's in danger of pricing out even the professionals.