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It's the tech shopper's eternal dilemma: Buy now or wait?

Apple's Mac and iPad Pro get some overdue quality time - CNET

With the better, faster model inevitably and perpetually on deck, you always hesitate before pulling the trigger. For products with regular upgrade cycles, it's easier: For Apple's Mac computers, though, the schedule for new models is anybody's guess. The and MacBook Pro models arrived less than a year apart, making the world think Apple was leaning into a more predictable annual update cycle.

Apple's completely rethinking the Mac Pro for 2018 (Apple Byte)

But once WWDC came and went without any new hardware at all , the guessing game hit high gear. Now, as the calendar turns to summer, anyone looking for MacBook laptops is between a rock and a hard place: Meanwhile, anyone thinking of biting the bullet and settling for an existing MacBook has the further complication of determining whether or not they want to settle for the keyboards, which Apple has effectively acknowledged as problematic see below , or holding out for new and potentially improved models.

Ever since the debut of the inch MacBook in , people have been debating the merits of the super-shallow butterfly keyboard, named after the x-shaped mechanism under the key, which vaguely resembles a butterfly. It helped laptop designs get thinner, but at the same time, lacked a certain level of tactile feedback. After the butterfly keyboard came to and inch MacBook Pro models, the controversy grew, especially as more and more people reported problems with stuck or nonresponsive keys.

Even though I've defended the butterfly keyboard in the past, as something one could acclimate to in a short time, I've also had stuck key issues on several MacBooks. For me, this method has worked in quickly unsticking them , but not everyone has been so lucky. Sometimes it works, often it self-repairs, sometimes it cripples my ability to work, always it makes me angry.

Now, Apple has at last acknowledged the problem , saying it will replace "a small percentage of the keyboards in certain MacBook and MacBook Pro models. On the one hand, that means if you buy now, you won't be stuck with a sticky-keyed lemon if you have keyboard problems. On the other hand, if the next MacBooks have an improved keyboard design, why bother getting the problem-prone current model?

If you're worried about buying a recent MacBook that's potentially about to be replaced, there's always another option. Instead, grab one of Apple's retro-styled MacBooks, essentially older systems that are still for sale, offering some important features missing from current-gen MacBooks.


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Apple still sells a single inch MacBook Pro from the previous design generation. There's also the classic inch MacBook Air , largely unchanged for several years, aside from a tiny CPU upgrade in While the small updates to the model aren't enough for most existing users to upgrade, Apple's excellent inch Retina MacBook Pro is still our go-to laptop of choice for shoppers at the high end. This minor refresh features an eighth-gen Intel processor, more RAM and storage for the same price.

Apple's smart, useful Touch Bar makes it well worth splurging on the step-up version of the streamlined inch MacBook Pro. Despite retaining the same price and look as last year's model, the new inch MacBook Pro's significant CPU and fantastic battery life make it one of the top laptops we've reviewed, provided you can live with passable integrated graphics.

It's an excellent travel laptop, but we wish it would have made the transition to Intel's Core i series.

MacBook Air, Mac Mini and iPad Pro 2018: Everything Apple just announced

The inch Apple MacBook Air is expensive and in many ways restrictive, but a stunning design, great battery life and brilliant ease of use mean this laptop is more than style over substance. Apple slightly revamps its basic MacBook with improvements under the hood, but keeps the design and price the same, which makes the new MacBook tough to beat as a back-to-school laptop. There's absolutely no doubt that the MacBook Pro Retina 13 has a beautiful display.

Some will be phased by the weight and go for the MacBook Air, others will deem it worth it. We just wish it came with discrete graphics.


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New this time: Apple makes the MacBook Air both smaller and less expensive, creating an excellent ultraportable laptop, but leaving out a few features along the way. Your Selections Clear All Apple. It discontinued the inch version of the MacBook Air in Apple is expected to finally update the computer with a high-resolution screen -- but it's also likely dropping the "Air" name.

And it's likely to keep pricing similar to the current MacBook Air.

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Don't hold your breath for big changes on the high-power Mac Pro, which hasn't gotten a big upgrade since Apple said in April that it's working on a big refresh of the computer , but a year later it said the device wouldn't hit the market until sometime in One desktop that could get an update Tuesday is the Mac Mini. Apple's lowest-end computer hasn't been updated since The company also may introduce new iMac computers. None of Tuesday's expected changes are likely to dramatically revitalize iPad and Mac sales.

But they could go a long way toward keeping Apple's key customers happy. Everything you need to know about the 5G revolution. Taking It to Extremes: Mix insane situations -- erupting volcanoes, nuclear meltdowns, foot waves -- with everyday tech.

Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

Here's what happens. How to watch the Galaxy S10 launch: Samsung is expected to unveil several Galaxy models Feb. Mobile World Congress Complete coverage from the world's biggest phone show. Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic. We delete comments that violate our policy , which we encourage you to read.

Discussion threads can be closed at any time at our discretion. Don't show this again. Laptops Apple's Mac and iPad Pro get some overdue quality time The company has updated its iPhones with new technology like Face ID, while its tablets and computers have stayed essentially the same for years.

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Enough about iPhones. It's time for Apple's Macs and iPads to get some love. Now playing: Watch this: See also Does the Mac still matter?