Apple confirmed the rumors on Monday by updating its 13-inch MacBook Pro, but the update isn’t as drastic as speculation suggests. Here are the differences between the 2020 model and the 2019 13-inch MacBook Pro.
Rumors and speculation about updating the 13-inch MacBook Pro have suggested that Apple will replace the screen with a 14-inch model, as well as other changes like using the new magic keyboard. Apple’s launch of the model updated on Monday has apparently been correctly predicted by leaks, but at first glance, it seems that Apple has focused more on a bump in specs than on major design changes.
Let’s take a closer look at the specs of the new model and compare them to the 2019 iteration, to highlight what’s new and whether it’s a decent upgrade for existing MacBook Pro owners.
MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020 vs. MacBook Pro 13-inch 2019 – Specifications
Butterfly keyboard against Apple magic keyboard
Those who spend time typing on their MacBook Pro may be aware of the butterfly keyboard mechanism that has plagued Apple for years. Problems with the mechanism prompted Apple to introduce a new magic keyboard in the 16-inch model, which it brought to the 13-inch version.
Using an updated scissor mechanism with 1mm travel, the Magic Keyboard is said to be potentially more reliable than its butterfly counterpart. It also uses a rubber dome to store more potential energy for more responsive key press.
The magic keyboard also has one more physical key than the previous version: a physical escape key. The change has been welcomed by developers who prefer a dedicated escape key, instead of relying on the software version in the Touch Bar.
The arrow keys are also changed to an “inverted T” arrangement. While the previous keyboard had the four arrow keys taking up the space of three full-size keys, with full-size left and right arrows and half-height versions from top to bottom, Apple instead set the four arrow keys to mid height.
In theory, the extra space above the left and right keys will help more clearly delineate the area of the arrow keys for users, both visually and when typing.
13-inch MacBook Pro processors
One of the main changes to the 13-inch MacBook Pro is an upgrade in processor options. More specifically, the transition from eighth generation chips to more recent variants.
The 2019 models offered default processors of a 1.4 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with a 3.9 GHz Turbo Boost clock and another quad-core Core i5 with a base of 2.4 GHz and 4.1 GHz and boosted clocks. Options were also available to use a 1.7 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 with an increased clock speed of 4.5 GHz and a 2.8 GHz quad-core Core i7 which reached 4.7 GHz under Turbo Boost.
All 2019 processors were eighth generation “Coffee Lake” chips. In 2020, there is a mixture of 8th generation chips alongside tenth generation variants, split between its two variants.
The cheaper models use the same eighth generation chips, with the base consisting of a 1.4 GHz Core i5 with a Turbo Boost up to 3.9 GHz, with a configuration available to use a quad-core Core i7 1.7 GHz with 4.5 GHz. Turbo.
The most expensive version starts with a 2 GHz quad-core Core i5, a tenth generation chip with Turbo Boost up to 3.8 GHz. It can also be upgraded to a better 10th generation processor, a 2.3 GHz quad-core Core i7 or up to 4.1 GHz running Turbo Boost.
While reuse of eighth generation chips in certain configurations may not excite potential buyers, the choice to add tenth generation chips that effectively skip an entire generation of Intel architecture is likely to be considered a huge improvement for users experienced.
Another advantage of tenth generation chips is graphics performance. While the eighth generation processors in the 2020 models use the same Iris Plus Graphics 645 as those in the 2019 edition, the tenth generation equivalent has a more powerful Intel Iris Plus Graphics version.
To support the new processors, Apple has increased the amount of RAM used in its higher specification version.
As with the 2019 version, the low-end 2020 model starts with 8 GB of memory, which can be configured to have 16 GB instead. For higher configurations, Apple opted to offer 16 GB of memory from the start, with a configuration option to bring it to 32 GB of RAM.
In addition, the higher level also uses faster memory. Instead of the LPDDR3 2133 MHz modules used in the low-end model and the 2019 versions, Apple has instead opted for the LPDDR4X memory at 3733 MHz.
For end users, this translates into additional performance gains, both by potentially having more memory available and by being almost twice as fast.
Storage was also improved significantly from 2019, which offered basic SSD configurations of 128 GB, 256 GB and 512 GB and options up to 2 TB.
The new generation begins the improvements by doubling the basic configurations to 256 GB, 512 GB and 1 TB respectively. Although lower level configurations can be upgraded to 2 TB as before, there is a 4 TB option on higher models.
Much like memory changes, it is apparently those who are willing to spend money on higher-level versions that reap the potential benefits.
There are quite a few other small changes that Apple has made to the 13-inch MacBook Pro, tweaking a very successful formula.
Higher-level models offer better support for external displays, with the ability to power one 6K screen at 60 Hz or two 4K screens at 60 Hz. Lower-level 2020 and 2019 models are capable of powering an external 5K monitor at 60 Hz and two 4K screens at 60 Hz.
Stereo speakers are still used in the new model, but this time with “wide stereo sound” and support for Dolby Atmos playback. The three microphones are also similar, but this time they are configured in a network with directional beam formation.
The 2020 editions are slightly thicker at 0.61 inches from the height of 0.59 inches in 2019. The width and depth are the same on all models in the two years, although the new versions are also slightly heavier at 3.1 pounds at 3.02 pounds.
Lots of repeated details
The screen is the same 13.3-inch LED-backlit IPS screen with 2560 x 1600 resolution, wide color support (P3), True Tone technology and 500 nits of brightness.
You also get two or four Thunderbolt 3 ports, depending on the processor generation, the eighth generation model having two ports and the tenth generation four. Wireless communications are provided by Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, a FaceTime HD 720p camera and a 3.5 mm headphone jack.
The power is also identical, the built-in lithium-polymer battery of 58 watts / hour or 58.2 watts always offering up to 10 hours of wireless Internet access or movie playback. The charger is always 61 watts and uses USB-C.
The 2019 base configurations were offered by Apple at prices of $ 1,299, $ 1,499, $ 1,799 and $ 1,999.
Practically, for the 2020 version, Apple has priced its models in exactly the same way. The prices of $ 1,299 and $ 1,499 are used for versions with eighth generation processors and two Thunderbolt 3 ports, while $ 1,799 and $ 1,999 are for versions with tenth generation and four Thunderbolt 3 ports.
Tiered models and upgrade pricing also increase the prospect that users will benefit more from paying for a more expensive base model than offering upgrades to a lower tier version.
For example, the configuration at $ 1,499 has the ability to switch from the eighth generation Core i5 to the eighth generation Core i7 for $ 300, bringing the total system cost to $ 1,799.
For the same price, paying the basic configuration of $ 1,799 installs the much faster 10th generation Core i5, better Intel Iris Plus graphics, doubles memory with faster RAM modules and adds two additional Thunderbolt 3 ports.
A tale of two 13-inch MacBook Pro updates
Apple’s update is unusual, because in this particular case, the level of changes observed depends on the customer’s choice for a lower or higher level configuration. Overall, the Magic Keyboard and starting points for more storage capacity are welcome.
However, while this is largely the case for lower-level options, the high end probably gets more changes. Upgrading from the eighth generation Intel chips to the tenth generation will offer a significant performance advantage, while the faster memory and higher memory capacity will make the 13-inch MacBook Pro portable power.
Even the maximum storage capacity of 4 TB is only available for those who have deep pockets to opt for high-end configurations from the start. This price premium would buy a lot of network storage or Thunderbolt 3.
For those looking to buy a new 13-inch MacBook Pro to replace their existing model, there is not much to complain about on lower-level versions. Sure, the Magic Keyboard is a nice addition, but aside from a storage bump, there aren’t a lot of revolutionary elements here.
However, anyone looking at the upper end of the range will see considerably more changes and greater performance improvements. Those on a larger budget will fare better for their upgrades than those who opt for the frugal option this time.