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Apple Announces The New 16-Inch MacBook Pro—A Probable Game-Changing Laptop For Pro Photographers

The company also released additional news on the Mac Pro desktop

Apple’s new 16-inch MacBook Pro laptop

Today, Apple unveiled its new line of 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops, which replaces its current line of 15-inch MacBook Pros, the powerful and portable workstations you’ll most likely catch pro photographers and professional content creators carrying around with them. The new models, which will be available in two impressive but pricey configurations, for $2,399 and $2,799, will go on sale later this week.

Physically speaking, the new laptops have merely gained an inch in size. But what will really entice photographers of all genres are the many new upgrades, features and capabilities inside the new MacBook Pro. It’s why this could be a very significant product introduction for Apple, one that might even be called a game-changer for photographers and creatives of all sorts.

Here’s why: According to Apple, the new 16-inch MacBook Pros come with “an immersive 16-inch Retina display, a new Magic Keyboard, dramatically faster performance, an awesome sound system and new pro options in system memory, video memory and storage.” Those features and enhancements are all well and good, but during a two-hour meeting I attended in New York with Apple, a day before the official product launch of the new laptops, I got a chance to see exactly how the new mobile workstations performed in a number of scenarios, and how in many cases the laptops breezed through challenges and roadblocks that generally slow down most other laptops. (I’ll also be testing the laptop shortly to see how it performs.)

The Retina display on this MacBook Pro has a pixel resolution of 3072 x 1920, with a total of 5.9 million pixels. It also has a higher pixel density (226 ppi) than what’s found on previous screens.

Retina Display, Keyboard and Processors

The 16-inch Retina display is the largest-ever Retina display on a Mac notebook, Apple says. It delivers “an immersive front-of-screen experience and the P3 wide color gamut delivers brilliant, true-to-life images and video.” It has a pixel resolution of 3072 x 1920, with a total of 5.9 million pixels. It also has a higher pixel density of 226 ppi than previous screens. Overall, I found it to be quite an impressive display, although I haven’t yet done all that much testing on it yet.

Apple has seemingly fixed its keyboard problem. No more butterfly keyboard design. Instead, this MacBook Pro includes a keyboard called the Magic keyboard, which was “inspired by the keyboard that comes with iMac Pro.” Apple is promoting it as a very comfortable and satisfying typing experience. Plus, they brought back a dedicated Escape key.

The laptops have other significant upgrades, including a 6-core and 8-core Intel processors: Apple says the MacBook Pros have the “latest 6-core Core i7 and 8-core Core i9 processors and feature Turbo Boost speeds of up to 5.0GHz, for performance that’s up to 2.1 times faster than the fastest quad-core 15-inch MacBook Pro.” Another very intriguing development on this new line is that Apple says it overhauled the architecture of the laptop, providing a new thermal design, which cools MacBook Pro more effectively. Apple says the design allows the MacBook Pro to run with 12 watts more of power.

Other performance and storage specs include: an AMD Radeon Pro 5000M series graphics GPUs with GDDR6 memory deliver up to 2.1 times faster performance on standard configurations. It’s also available with 8GB VRAM. You also get a faster 2666MHz DDR4 memory, and is now configurable up to 64GB, for the first time.  

In terms of storage, at 512GB and 1TB, the SSDs on standard configurations are “double the capacity of previous models, with a new 8TB SSD option—the largest SSD on any notebook.”

Yet despite all the changes on this laptop, it’s still only 4.3 pounds and is only about .6 inches thick.

Audio, Battery Life, Size And Weight

The new laptops come with a very impressive 6-speaker sound system that really cranks out the bass and mid-range tones when playing music. It’s hard to image that these woofers would sound as good in a laptop this thin. Plus, the 3 internal-microphone array that come with the MacBook Pro offer impressive quality with very little hiss (at least for the demos I attended)—in fact, Apple claims it’s 40 percent less hiss.

Not surprisingly, Apple tweaked its battery in order to better handle all the increases in hardware and software. Even so, Apple says it designed a new battery—a 100-watt-hour battery for 11 hours of battery life. Additionally, Apple says it “redesigned the adapter to deliver 9 more watts of power. However, the new 96W USB-C Power Adapter is the same size as the previous 87W adapter for the 15-inch MacBook Pro.

Yet despite all the changes on this new model, it’s still only 4.3 pounds and is only about .6 inches thick.  

A Photographer’s MacBook Pro

Apple is claiming photographers will find the new system to be quite speedy and efficient. Adobe Photoshop will have “faster processing of well-threaded filters” (70% faster) and Adobe Lightroom Classic will be faster with RAW image imports with smart previews.

Apple Mac Pro & Pro Display XDR Monitor

Additionally, Apple provided more details today on its powerful workstation, the Apple Mac Pro, as well as its Pro Display XDR Monitor. For starters, Apple said both would be available this December, although no word yet on pricing.

Stay tuned for my additional tests on this new MacBook Pro, along with several “test” multimedia projects that I plan to try on this system.

Apple brought back the dedicated esc key.

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