Apple updated part of the MacBook Pro laptop line back in July 2018, adding eighth-generation Intel Coffee Lake processors (with up to 6-cores), expanded storage and RAM options, T2 subsystem controller chips and True Tone screens to those MacBook Pro models that feature the Touch Bar. But we're already looking forward to the MacBook Pro 2019, and rumour has it there will be a 16in model this time round!
In this article we'll look at the new features expected to arrive with the new MacBook Pro, along with the specs everyone is hoping for, from a 32GB RAM option for the 13in MacBook Pro model to an even more powerful MacBook Pro 2019 graphics card. We'll gather everything you need to know about when the next MacBook Pro is coming out.
Plus, we'll examine whether Apple will update the non Touch Bar version of the 13in MacBook Pro models - the two entry-level 13in MacBook Pros that were left untouched in the 2018 updates. They are still sold, but are the 2017 generation with older Kaby Lake processors.
In this article we've got all the details about the 2019 MacBook Pros, including their specs and features, UK pricing and where and when you'll be able to buy them. (You can read more in our 2018 13-inch MacBook Pro review and 2018 15-inch MacBook Pro review. We also have advice about which Mac laptop to buy here.)
MacBook Pro 2019: Release date
We don't know when Apple will update the MacBook Pro models but given that the company announced new MacBook Pro models at WWDC in June 2017 and then updated them again in July 2018, we think that there is a reasonable chance they will be updated at WWDC 2019 in June. Read about WWDC 2019 here.
MacBook Pro 2019: Price and availability
If you don't want to wait for the new models we thought the 2018 models were excellent when we looked at them last year and for now we'd say they are still an excellent buy - as long as you avoid the non-Touch Bar models that are over a year old now. They are available from the Apple Store here.
Right now the price of the 13in MacBook Pro with Touch Bar starts at £1,749/$1,799. The cheapest 15in MacBook Pro you can get costs £2,349/$2,399. Those prices haven't changed in a few years and we don't expect them to change with the 2019 generation models.
What might change is whether Apple continues to sell the non-Touch Bar 13in MacBook Pro, currently available for £1,249/$1,299. Apple's range of Mac laptops is a little complicated right now because there are so many similarly priced, similarly sized models, aimed at similar types of users. We could see Apple prune its range by removing the non-Touch bar models in favour of the 2018 MacBook Air, for example.
Or we could see Apple update these entry level MacBook Pro models so that Mac users who require a more powerful Mac laptop for less than £1,749 have something to meet their needs. Hopefully the latter.
MacBook Pro 2019: Design
It seems that Apple might be planning to launch a bigger MacBook Pro in 2019.
In an investor note on 17 February 2019, Apple-expert and KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo wrote that he expects Apple to release a 16in MacBook Pro (or rather 16.5in) in 2019.
He said that the bigger screen size could be made possible by reduced bezels. Throughout 2018 Apple was hard at work reducing bezels on its products, including the iPad Pro and MacBook Air, so the suggestion that it might reduce the bezels on the MacBook Pro isn't a surprising one.
You may be thinking that the jump from 15in to 16.5in is a large one but it's worth noting that the MacBook Pro, while described as the 15in MacBook Pro, actually has a screen size of 15.4in diagonally.
Fans of the 17in MacBook Pro which Apple used to sell until June 2012 will be pleased that a larger screened model may be in the pipeline.
If you are wondering what the new MacBook Pro might look like, this concept image might entertain you.
MacBook Pro 2019: Specs
The 2019 MacBook Pro models could offer the following specs:
Speaking of the screen, that extra inch or so should mean that the 16in MacBook Pro can offer more pixels than its predecessor. This is something Mac users have been requesting for years.
Apple's main competitors in this space offer 4K displays. The lack of a 4K display on the MacBook Pro is a massive disappointment for many.
It seems likely that the new 16in MacBook Pro will indeed offer a 4K display - if it doesn't there may be a rebellion.
Picture shows the 2018 MacBook Air with its slimmer bezels around the screen
In 2018 Apple added new Coffee Lake processors to the MacBook Pro (with the exception of those two 13in models we mentioned). These new processors had the benefit of offering more cores, so the 13in models became quad-core (and much more worthy of the Pro name) and the 15in models gained six-cores.
But what's in store for 2019?
The next new processor generation is Sunny Cove and Ice Lake (it's a bit confusing if you are used to Intel referring to the chip with a *Lake because this time round the Lake bit signifies the chip and the Cove bit the core, or you could think of the chip as Sunny Cove, based on Ice Lake).
You might also have thought that Cannon Lake was going to be next, but it seems that after many delays Intel's now skipping that generation pretty much.
Whatever you call it the new architecture will be the first big change since Skylake arrived in 2015 and it should offer an increase in single-thread performance, bigger caches, wider execution units, and a set of new instructions meant to speed up cryptography, AI, and machine learning, according to this Macworld US report.
However, if Apple does wait for these processors we may not see the new MacBook Pro until the end of 2019.
The 13in MacBook Pro is likely to maintain its integrated graphics while the 15in model ships with a discrete graphics card.
The good news from the perspective of the 13in model is that the Ice Lake graphics will be much better than what we have today. The current Iris Plus 655 GPU has 48 execution units but the new Ice Lake option will offer 64 execution units (50% more) plus it will also offer efficiency improvements.
As for the 15in models, these currently offer the offers the Radeon Pro 555X or Radeon Pro 560X, both with 4GB of GDDR5 memory. There is, however, a build-to-order option that allows you to update the MacBook Pro to a Radion Pro Vega 16 pr 20. Perhaps in the new models we will see Vega GPUs as standard.
All the 13-inch models currently offer 8GB RAM as standard with a build-to-order option for 16GB RAM. As of 2018 the 15-inch models have added a 32GB RAM build-to-order option.
There had long been calls for Apple to offer up to 32GB RAM in the MacBook Pro. Pro customers, such as video editors, were so disillusioned with the 2016 update to the MacBook Pro that in November 2016 Apple's SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller spoke out in defence of Apple's decision not to offer more RAM, saying that this would be detrimental to battery life and require a power-hungry memory controller unsuitable for use in portable machines.
However, the company has obviously found a way to make this a viable option in its 15in MacBook Pro.
Now attention is turning to the 13in models and analyst Ming Chi Kuo said in his February 2019 research note that the 13-inch MacBook Pro will gain a 32GB RAM option, so maybe it will.
The Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro was the biggest change to the range when it was updated in 2016. It's a customisable strip-screen that allows for slicker fingertip control in certain software. It supports multi-touch gestures, which is handy when photo or video editing, to name a couple of examples.
The Touch Bar is customisable, and you can click and drag preferred commands/functions into the bar, somewhat like the way you drag app icons into the dock on a Mac or iPhone. When the Touch Bar first launched it was limited to Apple applications, however over the months it has gained functionality with many other apps including Spotify and Photoshop, and it now offers additional functionality for Microsoft Office features. You can expect more software to offer Touch Bar support in the future.
For more on this, see How to use the Touch Bar. And if you'd like to get some Touch Bar action on other Macs, have a read of our Apple keyboard with Touch Bar release date rumours and How to get Touch Bar on any Mac.
Some reports have suggested that the Touch Bar is not proving to be particularly popular, although this may be because those MacBook Pro models with the feature have a higher price.
It may be as a result of this that, as of 2017, Apple has offered two non-Touch Bar models of the MacBook Pro with a lower entry price.
As we said above - the non Touch Bar models were not updated in 2018.