The new 16-inch MacBook Pro finally righted Apple’s keyboard debacle, and it’s a beast of a machine in terms of performance. But early buyers have still managed to uncover some bugs with the latest MacBook Pro — and one hardware characteristic that might put off some people.
As noted by AppleInsider (and backed by this long MacRumors forum thread), owners of the 16-inch MacBook Pro are complaining about an intermittent “popping” sound coming from the speakers. It’s noticeable after audio playback is stopped. From AppleInsider:
If you get the problem, what happens is that when you’re playing any audio or video, when you stop it, skip to another part, or close the window, you get this sound. It’s similar to the clipping you can get when audio peaks too high, or when speakers are abruptly switched off and on.
Here’s a video demonstration of the issue:
Definitely the kind of thing that would grate on you over time from a $2,400 laptop. Apple’s support team has responded to some people by telling them that the company is aware of the issue and at work on a fix.
Other customers are less than pleased about an apparent slow response time from the 16-inch MacBook Pro’s wide-color display, which can result in a “ghosting” effect when scrolling text. That, too, has earned a multipage thread at MacRumors, though there are also people who are unbothered by the display’s scrolling performance or don’t seem to notice it in regular use of the laptop. And if you mostly use your machine with it hooked into an external monitor, this perceived fault might not matter to you.
But those upgrading from a 2014 or 2015 15-inch MacBook Pro — the crowd that steered clear of the butterfly keyboard, in other words — claim their previous displays didn’t exhibit this problem (at least not to the same degree). Some are going as far as to return the device over this situation. Apple is rumored to be working on Mini-LED MacBook Pros and iPad Pros for release in 2020, so the 16-inch MacBook Pro panels might be the last of their kind in Apple laptops — at least in the pro lineup.
As someone who has used 13-inch MacBook Pros over the last few years, I’ve noticed some text and icon trailing at times, but haven’t really ever thought of it as as problem. In a world of 90Hz phones, 120Hz iPads, and even smoother gaming monitors, is this just a situation where the MacBook’s 60Hz refresh rate is sticking out?
The speaker quirk does seem a bit more prominent, however. Just remember that Apple’s holiday return policy is now in effect, so you’ve got until early January to keep using your MacBook Pro and see if Apple resolves the popping sound with a macOS software release or firmware update.
The Verge has reached out to Apple about both of these concerns. I’ll update this article should the company offer comment.