New 2017 MacBook Pros Due At WWDC 2017: Key (Rumored) Specs – Forbes

13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (late 2016) starts at $1,799.

Credit: Apple

13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (late 2016).

Apple is putting most of its MacBook focus on the MacBook Pro now. So, let’s drill down a bit on what’s (probably) coming at WWDC on June 5.

Most changes are likely to be internal, since Apple already overhauled the MacBook Pros externally last fall. As follows:

13.3-inch MacBook Pro 2017: This will likely get a Intel 7th Gen Core Kaby Lake-U series processorThese are typically 15-watt TDP (Thermal Design Power) processors. The “U” means they’re low power but not so low that there’s a huge performance hit like you can get with the “fanless” Y series silicon (used in the 2-pound 12-inch MacBook).

I have a couple of new laptops from Dell and HP that sport Kaby Lake U series silicon with Intel’s newest HD Graphics 620. Are they faster than 6th Gen Core Skylake? Definitely. But remember, when HP and Dell update their laptops they update a lot of stuff, including faster SDRAM and Solid-state drive (SSD) storage. SSDs (aka, flash storage) are always getting faster and a jump in flash storage speed is one of the things that Apple typically boasts about when it rolls out new MacBooks.   

That upshot, I’m seeing typically seeing (via benchmarking) anywhere between 10 and 20 percent performance jumps over Skylake. It’s not across-the-board for everything but I see it on many performance-intensive tasks.

15.4-inch MacBook Pro: expect the Kaby Lake-H processor, a quad-core processor with a TDP of 45 watts and larger cache memory than the U series dual-core chips. I have the Skylake MBP 15 and it’s more than fast enough for what I do. But there have been complaints about Apple’s choice of the AMD Radeon Pro 450/455/460 graphics processors (GPUs). These more-power-frugal GPUs aren’t as fast as Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050 used, for example, in the Dell XPS 15. But Apple puts more emphasis than most PC makers on battery life and portability, even on its high-end MBP 15. 

Why is Apple always behind PC makers when upgrading to next-gen processors? My take: Caution on Apple’s part. Maybe it’s that some generational speed bumps (aka, 4th gen Haswell to 5th gen Broadwell) don’t transition as smoothly/stably as Apple would like (as was the case with 15-inch MBP, which stuck with Haswell for a couple of years). Maybe, for a lot of reasons, Apple simply prefers to stick to its own internal cadence, not Intel’s.

I asked an expert in all things laptops, Lisa Gade, Editor in Chief of MobileTechReview.com: “I do think Apple makes changes when they believe it really will make a difference to users. Some CPU generations, like Intel 5th gen, weren’t anything to write home about, and it had a short life cycle, so I can see why Apple waited for the 6th gen,” she said to me in an email.

“But these days, pretty much everything but the iPhone seems neglected and refreshes that used to happen yearly are waiting twice as long. I really wish I knew why. It’s a shame,” she added.

 

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