Seriously Apple? You can do better.


Artem Borisov (‘20) angrily attempting to game on his MacBook Pro. Graphic Courtesy of Jay Gupta ('20)

On July 12th, 2018, technology giant Apple unveiled their latest updates to the MacBook Pro. Immediately, tech nerds all over the world got excited: Apple would be one of the first computer companies to offer the brand-new Intel i9 chips in their computers.

Prior to this announcement, MacBook Pros were only sold with Intel i5 chips—the bottom of the line in terms of processing power. These chips certainly did not match the $1,300 dollars Apple was charging for a touch-bar free MacBook Pro. Finally, Apple released laptops with Intel i7 chips, and even more impressively, i9 chips, which only five types of laptops in the world currently have.  The i9 chips have more than double the power of the former chip, the i7, and quadruple the power of the i5 chip.

A friend of mine who currently works at Apple managed to get me one of the first Macs with the i9. My laptop has a 2.9 GHz i9 processor, 1TB of SSD storage, a Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory, and 16GB 2400MHz DDR4 memory. By all means, it is a top-of-the-line laptop. But, does the new Mac with an i9 processor really live up to its $4,000 dollar price tag?

Quite frankly, no it does not. Let me rephrase that, it does not even get close to being worth $4,000 dollars. At first, the laptop had significant throttling issues, causing the fan to run excessively (an issue many users noticed).  Even after Apple announced they had fixed the problem, throttling is still an issue. The throttling causes a death spiral of sorts, with apps crashing because of the increasing heat in the computer and the lag increasingthus defeating the purpose of having a more powerful computer.  

In addition to the throttling, some users have reported problems with their speakers. The MacBook Pro arguably had one of the best speaker systems in the industry; however, users have reported a crackling-like sound when they try to listen to music off of streaming services like Spotify and video websites like Youtube and Vimeo.  

Lastly, Apple had to release a fix for the keyboard on the 2018 MacBook Pros. On the 2017 MacBook Pros, Apple had faulty keyboards, and thus reduced the size of the keys further to fix the problem, creating the 3rd Generation Butterfly Keyboard. Though it is quieter, this keyboard is even more low-travel (the height of each key is smaller) than the previous one. Some users are fans of low-travel keyboards; however, I much prefer the typing experience on high travel keyboards.     

Apple is the only company to fail at integrating new processors in computers effectively. MSI, Alienware, Asus, and AORUS have all been successful in installing i9 processors in their laptops without throttling issues. Only Apple has failed. Eric Liu (‘20) agrees: he recently switched from a Mac to a PC, and he cites his reasons for switching as follows, “Macs are incapable of letting me game properly or run demanding tasks, because of their horrible processing power, muffled sound quality, and the constant crashing of the game.”

So, is the MacBook Pro with an i9 a good investment? No, not right now, and they do not seem to be getting better any time soon.