Apple updated every Mac in its lineup this week, and there are so many models now that it can be confusing to figure out which one you should buy.
MacBook Air? MacBook? MacBook Pro with Touch Bar? MacBook Pro without Touch Bar? What’s the difference?
I’ve only spent a little time noodling around with the latest refreshed Macs (To be clear these aren’t brand-new computers. They’re just internal upgrades to existing models), but I think it’s worth breaking down the lineup and giving you a sense of which model is best for each type of user.
Keep in mind that with the exception of the MacBook Air, all of the new Macs are powered by Intel’s most powerful new processors.
Here’s what you need to know.
The MacBook Air is the same computer as before, but its processor is now just a little faster now.
This is Apple’s entry-level computer. It doesn’t have Apple’s sharp retina display, and it’s had the same basic design since 2010, which makes it feel dated. Still, it provides enough power and battery life for the average user. In fact, it’s still more powerful than the new MacBook.
Who should buy it: The MacBook Air is great for students and people who want a slim, portable device without spending too much.
Starting price: $999
The MacBook is all about portability and design. It’s not as powerful as the MacBook Air, but it can still handle most basic tasks like web browsing, streaming video, and emailing. One major drawback: The MacBook only has one port, a new type of port called Thunderbolt that’s used for charging the computer and plugging in accessories.
Who should buy it: If you value portability above performance and don’t mind paying a premium for that, go with the MacBook.
Starting price: $1,299
The MacBook Pro was redesigned less than a year ago. It’s thinner, lighter, and a lot more powerful. The high-end model has the new Touch Bar, which replaces the physical function keys with a touchscreen that displays digital keys and settings. The Touch Bar is nice, but not essential or revolutionary, and there’s also a model that comes without it.
Who should buy it: Video and photo professionals will obviously want to get the MacBook Pro. But the entry-level model is an enticing option for current MacBook Air owners who are considering an upgrade.
Starting price: $1,299 (without Touch Bar), $1,499 (with Touch Bar)