After letting its entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro languish for the past two years without any major updates, Apple is finally "making it rain". Just in time for Back to School season, the base 13-inch MacBook Pro is gaining a number of features previously reserved for its more expensive siblings.
Standard equipment now includes a True Tone display, the T2 security chip and the Touch Bar (which includes Touch ID). The last addition might be sad news for those Apple fans that hate the Touch Bar (admittedly, it's more of a gimmick than actually being useful) and love the traditional function keys on the top row.
Apple has also updated the internal hardware, as the previous "old hat" 7th generation Core processors have given way to a new quad-core 1.4GHz (3.9GHz boost) 8th generation Core i5 processor (Coffee Lake). A quad-core 1.7GHz (4.5GHz boost) Core i7 processor is a $300 option. Base systems come with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. However, RAM can be expanded at the time of purchase to 16GB for an extra $200, while storage maxes out at 2TB for an extra $1,000.
While Apple is giving the entry-level MacBook Pro more features than ever before, it's still stuck with just two Thunderbolt 3 ports, while its more expensive siblings get four. As for pricing, Apple is holding the line at $1,299.
In other Mac news, Apple has discontinued its smallest laptop: the 12-inch MacBook. The MacBook introduced us to the much-maligned butterfly keyboard and was Apple's first laptop with a USB-C port... a single USB-C port at that. This configuration was widely mocked upon its introduction and made "dongle life" a sad reality for MacBook users.
The MacBook -- which started at $1,299 -- has essentially been replaced by the new MacBook Air. The MacBook Air also today got a minor update with True Tone support and a lower starting price of $1,099 (down from $1,199).