MacBook Pro 16. The 2020 MacBook Pro 13 could incorporate changes made to the MBP 16.
There are some big upgrades possible this year for the 13-inch MacBook Pro — in addition to the usual internal upgrades.
It’s 2020 and the fourth-generation 13-inch MacBook Pro, introduced in late 2016, is getting long in the tooth.
That means the 13-inch MBP is overdue for some major changes, following Apple’s 16-inch overhaul of the 15.4-inch MacBook Pro. The MacBook Air is also due for some tweaks.
Keyboard: It’s a safe bet that the next generation of the 13-inch MacBook Pro will have the same scissor-switch keyboard as MBP 16. And that will likely carry over to the MacBook Air too.
As background, over the last few weeks, I’ve been using both a mid-2019 MacBook Pro 13 — with the much-maligned* butterfly keyboard — and the new 16-inch MacBook Pro. The upshot: the new scissor keyboard with improved travel and tactile feedback is all the reason you need to pick up a 16-inch MBP.
Processor: Apple will move the 13-inch MacBook Pro to Intel’s 10-nanometer 10th generation processors. That means a lot of good things including 6-core processors at the high end, improved Iris Plus graphics, and possibly DDR4 memory.
A good reference point is the late-2019 Dell XPS 13. Despite having a very compact, thin 13-inch chassis (like the MBP 13), Dell has moved to the Intel Core i7-10710U “Comet Lake” processor (6-core) in the top-of-the-line model.
And the MacBook Air could get 4-core processors for the first time in the form of “Ice Lake” 1oth gen processors.
Graphics: All the new Intel 10th gen processors include Intel Iris Plus graphics, which get Intel within striking distance of even some Nvidia discrete graphics such as the GeForce MX250.
Apple usually works with Intel to tweak the graphics** for the MacBook Pro so it would be reasonable to expect a graphics part with extra horsepower for the MBP.
Processor — the other scenario: there is a chance that Apple brings out a MacBook with its own A series silicon in 2020. Needless to say, that would overshadow pretty much anything Apple does in 2020.
Display: Less certain is whether Apple will move to mini-LED displays on the MBP 13 as rumored for the next 16-inch MBP and iPad Pro. These displays offer some of the benefits of OLED displays (deeper blacks) without the downsides such as OLED burn-in. (Not to be confused with micro-LED.)
Size — a 14-inch MacBook Pro? This would be huge just like the 15.4-inch MacBook Pro’s jump to a 16-inch display. A larger chassis would also allow better thermal management (a problem I have grappled with on the MBP 13). But at this stage, this is little more than wishful thinking.
*I’m actually one of the few (apparently) who does not hate the butterfly keyboard. And the third-gen butterfly keyboard on the mid-2019 MacBook Pro 13 is the best yet. That said, it really can’t compare to the MBP 16’s new scissor switch design.
**For example, the current high-end MBP 13 with a 28-watt Intel Core i7 processor has Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655. I haven’t found that graphics chip on any competing Windows 10 laptops.