Apple's 16-inch MacBook Pro equates to a do-over for keyboard, escape key and make-good for creative pros

The new MacBook 16-inch replaces the 15-inch version yet maintains roughly the same pricing.

Apple's new 16-inch MacBook Pro: hands-on first impressions (CNET) The new MacBook Pro has a roomier 16-inch display, improved graphics, bigger battery, and revamped speakers and mics. But the biggest news is that new keyboard. We gave it a first test run.

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Apple has launched a 16-inch MacBook Pro that aims to keep creative pros happy, give workers a keyboard that actually works and even give developers an escape key.

Consider Apple's 16-inch MacBook Pro a big make good for creative types.

You can sum put the new MacBook Pro easily: So long butterfly keyboard. Hello Magic Keyboard with "a refined scissor mechanism that delivers 1mm of key travel and a stable key feel, as well as an Apple-designed rubber dome that stores more potential energy for a responsive key press." CNET's Scott Stein took the new MacBook Pro for a spin, but time will tell if the keyboard is a win. 

And then there's "a physical Escape key and an inverted-"T" arrangement for the arrow keys, along with Touch Bar and Touch ID, for a keyboard that delivers the best typing experience ever on a Mac notebook."

Hopefully, this new keyboard simply works. 

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The new MacBook Pro replaces the 15-inch version yet maintains roughly the same pricing. Apple has taken some heat for downplaying the Mac faithful in favor of the iPhone, services and even Apple Watch. Apple's MacBook refresh and the Mac Pro are designed to quell those worries. After all, the MacBook Pro is a key device in the enterprise. Jamf has been rolling out more management features for enterprises with Apple device fleets and IBM has data showing that Mac users are more productive

The base 256GB SSD MacBook Pro has been bumped up to 512GB and the AMD Radeon Pro 555X GPU has been upgraded to Radeon Pro 5300M and 5500M silicon. 

It is somewhat comical to think that giving customers a physical escape key is an advance. It's even more comical to think a working keyboard is an advance. But the larger MacBook Pro highlights how Apple strayed from the reality that a laptop has to do real work to keep creatives in the fold.

Of course, Phil Schiller, Apple's marketing chief, would disagree. He told CNET's Roger Cheng:

In the majority of creative fields -- writers, video editors, music creators and programmers -- I think that's an area that's super strong. We love that intersection of creativity and computing technology. That's something that's always been true to the core of what we love at Apple.

It's not about religion, it's not about fans. It's actually about the right product for incredibly creative productive groups of people with their computers.

Apple's MacBook Pro update is the first major update since an overhaul three years ago. The larger screen is designed to appeal to more creative pros

Yet it's still unclear over time whether the iPad and its keyboard that now works across the entire lineup will usurp the MacBook. Schiller noted that the MacBook and iPad lines won't merge over time.

Apple Mac fans are likely to flock to the MacBook Pro 16-inch because they've been waiting for an update. The package looks promising. Specs include:

  • Silver or space gray
  • 16-inch, 3,072 x 1,920-pixel display (compare this to 2,880 x 1,800 on the 15.4-inch MacBook Pro)
  • Ninth-generation 2.6GHz six-core Intel Core i7 or 2.3GHz Intel Core i9 (upgradable to an eight-core Core i9)
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM (up to 64GB)
  • AMD Radeon Pro 5300M or 5500M, 4GB GDDR6 memory (expandable up to 8GB)
  • 512GB SSD (expandable up to 8TB)
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports
  • 100 watt-hour battery
  • $2,399 starting price

Add it up and Apple did what it had to do: Undo some bad MacBook Pro design choices and throw creatives and enterprise customers a bone. 

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