The Good The latest 15-inch MacBook Pro offers major internal upgrades to the CPU, RAM, storage and display. The Core i9 version delivers a worthwhile speed boost on processor-intensive tasks.
The Bad The basic design hasn't been updated, keeping the same advantages and flaws. Adding the new high-end options drives the cost way up.
The Bottom Line The 2018 MacBook Pro 15-inch laptop delivers the serious computing muscle that power users and creative pros crave -- but everyone else should wait for the rest of the line to be updated.
on paper, it looked like an impressive, if predictable, set of internal component upgrades. Apple's 13-inch and 15-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pro models would get new eighth-gen Intel processors, more storage and RAM options, a color-temperature-sensing True Tone screen and other tweaks -- all nice improvements over a ho-hum 2017 update. At the same time, the slim unibody aluminum design would remain unchanged since its last design overhaul in late 2016, keeping features both loved (the giant track pad) and not-so-loved (the slim-travel keyboard, the USB-C-only connections).
If anything, the expensive add-on option for one of Intel's new six-core Core i9 processors would appeal to pro-level users, such as video editors and 3D artists, who may be starting to feel that Apple isn't keeping up with their ever-expanding needs for high-end gear.
To say things got off to a rocky start is putting it mildly. First, there was confusion over that keyboard: Apple maintained that the new third-gen butterfly keyboard was quieter but otherwise unchanged -- but a teardown at repair site iFixit revealed a totally new membrane that may well address the issue of sticky and dust-afflicted keys on earlier models that have prompted class action lawsuits against Apple.
Secondly, there was the speed throttling issue that emerged just days after the July 12 announcement: Some of the most gung-ho early adopters who ran out and got Core i9 MacBook Pros as soon as they were released found mysteriously throttled performance. YouTube tech personality Dave Lee first brought the issue to public attention with a video in which he demonstrated the heat and throttling issues. These results were soon replicated by others, including our own CNET Labs testing.