- Apple latest 13-inch MacBook Pro comes with some welcome upgrades, like a better processor and a few tweaks that make certain parts a little easier to repair.
- Still, Apple's MacBook Pro isn't a DIYers dream, as the company hasn't made some key parts easily removable.
- Since their release in 2016, the USB-C MacBook Pros have been Apple's most controversial laptops.
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Apple recently updated its 13-inch MacBook Pro lineup, and while they look identical to previous models on the outside, there are quite a few changes within, according to gadget teardown site iFixit.
The biggest change that most will pay attention to is new processors, which promise better performance. No doubt, this is a good thing.
The new 13-inch MacBook Pro models all come with a Touch Bar, too — even the base model. Whether that's a good thing is up to you. But having a Touch ID fingerprint sensor on even the base model is hard to argue against.
Check out all the changes in the latest 2019 13-inch MacBook Pro:
- Apple gave the 13-inch MacBook Pro lineup faster chips, which means better performance.
- The latest 13-inch models also come with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor, which makes logging into laptops much more convenient than using passwords.
- The USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports — which are susceptible to wear and tear from plugging and unplugging devices — can be easily replaced in the 2019 13-inch MacBook Pro. Older USB-C MacBook Pro models had the USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports soldered onto the logic board, making repairs costly and inefficient.
- If the headphone jack fails in the 2019 13-inch MacBook Pro, it can also be replaced pretty easily without swapping out the logic board.
- The new 13-inch MacBook Pros have slightly larger batteries, but iFixit doesn't expect battery life to be noticeably improved. iFixit supposes that the addition of the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and Touch Bar is the reason behind the slightly larger battery.
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
- iFixit also saw the latest version of Apple's butterfly keyboard in the latest 13-inch MacBook Pros — the same one from the 2019 15-inch MacBook Pro that was released in May. The latest butterfly keyboards have the latest mechanisms in place to improve reliability, but reliability still isn't guaranteed at this stage. There's still time for users to discover issues with the latest version of Apple's butterfly keyboard. Still, Apple included the latest MacBook Pro with the latest version of its butterfly keyboard in its keyboard repair program.
- Apple also gave the base model of its 13-inch MacBook Pro models the Touch Bar strip, which replaces the mechanical row of "F" function keys above the keyboard on the base model from last year.
Other changes under the hood.
- The 2019 13-inch MacBook Pro may not cool its internals as well as previous models, as Apple seemingly trimmed the heatsinks inside the laptop. Still, the difference seems minimal. iFixit presumes that trimming the heatsink was a way to make room for the Touch ID sensor and the questionable Touch Bar. Less cooling can lead to lower performance, or at least lower sustained performance over a long and intense workloads. But those who have tried the latest MacBook Pro, like YouTuber Jonathan Morrison, say it's still fast regardless.
- The speakers inside the 2019 13-inch MacBook Pros are slightly smaller, but it's unclear if sound is affected. The speakers in the pre-existing MacBook Pro are so good that they're in a league of their own, so it would be a shame if the 2019 13-inch MacBook Pro didn't sound as good as its predecessors. We haven't tried them out for ourselves yet, so we can't say for sure how the smaller speakers sound.
Despite some positive updates, the USB-C generation of the MacBook Pro has been the company's most controversial since 2016.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro is as powerful as ever in 2019, MacOS is fantastic, and I love the giant touchpad that comes on all models of MacBook Pro.
But iFixit gave it a low score of two out of ten for repairability, and Apple's repairs for even small things can become costly if you don't have the AppleCare+ warranty. To boot, there are still questions about the butterfly keyboard's reliability, even the latest version.
It's anticipated that Apple will use a different keyboard design — not the unreliable butterfly design — for its upcoming Mac laptops. That alone could make the wait for the next generation worthwhile.
As for repairability in the future, there's no telling how or if Apple will ever make future Mac laptops easier or cheaper to repair.
As for other controversies, there's the USB-C-only nature of Apple's MacBook Pros, which don't let you plug regular USB devices without an adapter. Some have adapted and use adapters, others are less tolerant.