In Depth

MacBook Pro 2018 range: Apple issues fix for performance throttling

A ‘simple software bug’ caused speed drops on new models

A software glitch that hit the performance capabilities of Apple’s latest batch of MacBook Pro laptops has been fixed.

Users had reported that laptops from the new 2018 range, released two weeks ago, were becoming slow and hot under heavy workloads - known as heat throttling. 

Announcing the downloadable fix, the Cupertino-based company said that the problem had been caused by “a simple software bug”, CNet reports. 

A company spokesperson told the tech site: “We apologise to any customer who has experienced less than optimal performance on their new systems.

“Customers can expect the new 15in MacBook Pro to be up to 70% faster, and the 13in MacBook Pro with Touch Bar to be up to two times faster, as shown in the performance results on our website.”

According to The Verge, the bug applies to all of the company’s new 13in and 15in MacBook Pro models fitted with Intel’s latest eight generation processors, but does not affect previous versions of the company’s laptops. 

The fix is available from the App Store, located in the dock at the bottom of the computer screen, and can be found by clicking on the Updates tab.

The 2018 MacBook Pro range 

Announced during a press event in New York, the 2018 product refresh introduces Intel’s powerful Core i9 processor to range-topping models, along with True Tone display technology that adjusts screen tone to reduce the effects of eyestrain. 

Customisation has also been greatly improved, with buyers now offered the opportunity to spec significantly larger storage systems and faster processors.

When do they hit the market?

Orders for the new MacBook Pros are open now and Apple’s online store quotes next-day delivery for 13in models. Consumers after a 15in face a wait of up to a week for delivery. 

How much do they cost?

Prices are unchanged from the outgoing models. The cheapest example is still the £1,249 MacBook Pro 13in, while the most expensive 15in model comes in at £2,699. 

Buyers looking for more powerful options than the default specs can opt for faster processors and and more storage space, but it comes at a significant cost. 

According to Alphr, the most expensive option costs around £6,200, which gets you a 15in Pro fitted with Intel’s new i9 processor (£270), 32GB of RAM (£360) and a 4TB solid-state drive (£2,880).

What’s new on the 13in Pro?

Apple has left the two entry-level models unchanged, says Apple Insider, but there are some “huge” changes for the rest of range.  

The company now offers quad-core chips that match the performance of last year’s more powerful 15in models, according to the tech site. There’s also an optional i7 that “should easily outperform previous MacBook Pro models when performing multicore tasks”.

Intel’s Iris Plus integrated graphics card debuts on the new models, and the maximum storage capacity can now be upped to 2TB. 

All models fitted with the Touch Bar above the keyboard also get larger batteries, but Apple has yet to announce how long these will last. 

What about the 15in model?

Both 15in models have been revamped for 2018. The most notable difference is the addition of Intel’s eighth-generation Core i7 processor and the move from DDR3 to DDR4 RAM, which should improve performance when using multiple apps at the same time, says CNet

There’s also the option of choosing the new six-core i9 processing chip, and the maximum allocation of RAM has been upped from 16GB to 32GB, the website says. 

Have there been any other changes?

Yes. Both 13in models are fitted with Touch Bars and all 15in models come with Apple’s True Tone technology, which first appeared on the iPad Pro two years ago.

True Tone doesn’t increase screen resolution, says Apple news site Macworld, but rather adjusts the display’s colour tone depending on the time of day and lighting conditions. 

The firm has also introduced its third-generation butterfly keyboard, which reduces typing noise. However, an issue with the keys, which feel sticky when exposed to dirt and dust, does not appear to have been rectified.

The Verge argues that “it’s just hard to trust a keyboard after so many reports that it can be rendered inoperable by a grain of sand and that is incredibly difficult and expensive to repair or replace”.

Apple representatives say the new keyboard “wasn’t designed to solve those issues” and that the problem only affected a small fraction of its customers.

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