Per Apple – the newest MacBook Pro is designed for those who defy limits and change the world, the new MacBook Pro is by far the most powerful notebook we’ve ever made. With an immersive 16-inch Retina display, superfast processors, next-generation graphics, the largest battery capacity ever in a MacBook Pro, a new Magic Keyboard, and massive storage, it’s the ultimate pro notebook for the ultimate user.
Apple 16″ MacBook Pro – $3,899.00
- 2.4 GHz Intel Core i9 8-Core
- 32GB of 2666 MHz DDR4 RAM – up to 64GB
- 2TB SSD – up to 8GB
- 16″ 3072 x 1920 Retina Display
- AMD Radeon Pro 5500M GPU (8GB GDDR6)
- Six-speaker high-fidelity sound system
- Advanced thermal design
- P3 wide color gamut
- 500 nits of brightness
- macOS Catalina
It appears Apple has hit a home run with its latest MacBook. Most laptops come in 13-inch, 15-inch, and 17-inch, versions, a 16-inch model is great news. For photographers, we are always fighting for having a laptop that is highly portable yet still effective for photo editing while on the road. This MacBook garners some more screen space, while still staying lightweight and portable. I currently use a Dell XPS 15 for my editing while in the field, but if the price was not a consideration for me, this new MacBook would be my pick for an editing laptop.
Start with the display for this new variant. Apple has been finding ways to reduce bezels on all their electronics, and this MacBook is now different. This new model looks similar to the older 15-inch models, but pop it open and you will instantly be blown away by the new screen. The 16″ Retina display on the new MacBook Pro is simply beautiful (and accurate). It sports a 3072 x 1920 resolution with a pixel density of 226 PPI (almost 6 million individual pixels).
Any files you work on with this new MacBook are going to be incredibly sharp and detailed. Factory calibration will be standard for every unit shipped, although I still recommend calibrating with a hardware device. The new model will also offer a P3 wide color gamut and brightness of up to 500 nits. The P3 wide color gamut features 25% more colors than the frequently used sRGB gamut. The display stands out and impresses, without a doubt. Other design changes you might notice are a redesigned keyboard, the Touch Bar and Touch ID still remain though.
The 16″ MacBook Pro can be outfitted with 9th-generation 6- and 8-core processors with Turbo Boost speeds of up to 5.0 GHz, which is 2.1x faster than the quad-core 15″ MacBook Pro. These recent processors that have come out in the past year warrant an upgrade alone. You will see huge performance boosts while working in Lightroom or Photoshop. You should not need more than 16 GB of RAM for photo work, but if video processing is in your arsenal too, then no worries, you can equip the new MacBook with up to 64 GB of 2666 MHz DDR4 RAM.
This is also the first model to come with AMD Radeon Pro 5000M series graphics based on 7nm architecture. The GPU can be configured with up to 8GB GDDR6 VRAM. The GPU boost will really aid those who edit videos.
This model is no doubt the most powerful MacBook Pro yet. Apple knows that so they have also retooled the thermal cooling system.
The architecture is new, and the fan has been adjusted to allow maximum performance out of the new processors. Apple says the larger fan blades and new vents will increase airflow by 28%, and the heat sink they implemented is 35% larger. A cooler and quieter laptop is a plus. One thing that has not changed much is the available ports – this model has 4 Thunderbolt™ 3 (USB-C) ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Storage options are also fantastic on the new 16” MacBook Pro. Base models start with either 512 GB or 1 TB of storage, but you can max out the model with 8 TB Solid-state Drive (SSD). SSD is another very important consideration for photo and video work. All applications, like Lightroom and PS, load from your SSD on these MacBook’s. SSDs boast extremely fast read/write speeds, which can really speed up for processing workflow. Apple also says that the 8 TB SSD is the largest SSD ever made available for a laptop. Also, Apple introduced a new audio system, which uses a redesigned six-speaker system and force-canceling woofers to limit vibrations. Sounds are extremely clear and bass is powerful, but not distracting.
Apple has also revealed that the redesigned Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR will be available next month, in December 2019. A lot of have been anxiously awaiting this update, and Apple is promising an update that is vastly superior, with incredible performance and modularity. Those who have seen the new Pro Display XDR say that it looks to be among the best professional monitors on the market. Stay tuned for that release.
All in all, the 16” MacBook Pro looks like a laptop I want to get my hands on immediately. It is powerful, sleek, and the display is simply one of the best available on a laptop. Price is still a consideration for many, and for myself. You will pay drastically less for a Windows-based setup with equal or better specs. If price is not an option, I really think this is one of the best laptop stations you can buy right now. It will be a great performer when it comes to editing photos and video on the road. The screen will really let your images shine, yet it is still packable and portable enough to not be cumbersome. We will see if Apple has any deals in store for the holiday season, but you might have to fork out the cash for this new model – in my opinion, it will totally be worth it and you will have a great editing laptop for many years to come.
Matt Meisenheimer is a photographer based in Wisconsin. His artistry revolves around finding unique compositions and exploring locations that few have seen. He strives to capture those brief moments of dramatic light and weather, which make our grand landscapes so special. Matt loves the process of photography – from planning trips and scouting locations, taking the shot in-field, to post-processing the final image. Matt is an active adventurer and wildlife enthusiast as well. He graduated with a degree in wildlife ecology and worked in Denali National Park and Mount Rainier National Park as a biologist. He also spent 6 months working in the deserts of Namibia before finding his path in photography. Matt’s passion for the wilderness has taken him to many beautiful places around the world. As a former university teaching assistant, Matt is passionate about instruction. It is his goal to give his students the technical and creative knowledge they need to achieve their own photographic vision. He truly enjoys working with photographers on a personal level and helping them reach their goals. You can see Matt’s work and portfolio on his webpage at www.meisphotography.com
Don’t Miss the Next Session of BCJ “Live”
Backyard Bird Photography: Simple Techniques for Wildlife Close to Home
with Russell Graves
Tuesday, March 9th, 2021 at 11 am (Mountain)