At today’s Apple event, the company unveiled its new lineup of 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro laptops. For the most part, the layout of the MacBook Pro remains the same, but the company added a new feature: A thin touch-based strip called the Touch Bar.
A Digital Bar
The Touch Bar replaces the row of function buttons at the top of the keyboard. However, you can still bring back the old function buttons, as well as the escape button and brightness and volume controls, on the digital bar. The Touch Bar also works with many programs. If you’re using the Safari web browser, for example, you can use the Touch Bar to access your favorite websites or search for new topics. For video editing on Final Cut Pro X, you can use the Touch Bar to scrub through the video timeline, add clips, or fine-tune multiple traits in a shot.
However, the Touch Bar capabilities aren’t just restricted to Apple’s first party software. The company revealed that apps such as Photoshop, Affinity Designer, and even a few Microsoft Office programs (Word, Excel, and Powerpoint) will have Touch Bar functions available. At the end of the bar is a space reserved for Touch ID, so you can use your fingerprint to log on to your profile or purchase items online with Apple Pay.
The new MacBook Pros come in silver and space gray. The larger touchpad still uses the Force Touch feature, and the keyboards utilize a second-generation butterfly switch. For I/O, there are four Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C ports (that support numerous display protocols such as HDMI and DisplayPort) as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack. Apple said that both models have a battery life of 10 hours.
In addition to the two models, Apple also created another version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro without the new Touch Bar. The company made this version specifically for those who prefer the even more compact size of the MacBook Air. Even though this Touch Bar-less MacBook Pro still weighs the same as a MacBook Air (three pounds), the company said that it’s thinner and has less volume, making it the smallest MacBook Pro to date.
All three models use Intel's Skylake lineup of CPUs. In terms of graphics, the 13-inch models use Intel Iris graphics, but the 15-inch variant has AMD's Radeon Pro GPUs, which are based on the Polaris architecture.
You won’t have to wait long to get your hands on one of the three models. The 13-inch MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar starts shipping today, whereas the other two new laptops will come out within the next two to three weeks. However, you can place a pre-order now on Apple’s website.
|MacBook Pro||13-inch (without Touch Bar)||13-inch||15-inch|
|CPU||Intel Core i5 (Skylake, 2.0 GHz, 3.1 GHz Turbo), can upgrade to Intel Core i7 (Skylake, 2.4 GHz, 3.4 GHz Turbo)||Intel Core i5 (Skylake, 2.9 GHz, 3.3 GHz Turbo), can upgrade to Intel Core i5 (Skylake, 3.1 GHz, 3.5 GHz Turbo) or Intel Core i7 (Skylake, 3.3 GHz, 3.6 GHz Turbo)|
|GPU||Intel Iris Graphics 540||Intel Iris Graphics 550|
|Screen||13.3 inches, LED backlit with IPS technology (2560x1600)||13.3 inches, LED backlit with IPS technology (2560x1600)||15.4 inches, LED Backlit with IPS technology (2880x1800)|
|RAM||8 GB (LPDDR3, 1866 MHz), can upgrade to 16 GB (LPDDR3, 1866MHz)||8 GB (LPDDR3, 2133 MHz), can upgrade to 16 GB (LPDDR3, 2133MHz)||16 GB (LPDDR3, 2133 MHz)|
|Storage||256 GB (PCIe-based SSD), can upgrade to 512 GB or 1 TB (PCIe-based SSD)|
|I/O||2x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C), 3.5mm headphone jack||4x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C), 3.5mm headphone jack||4x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C), 3.5mm headphone jack|
|Connection||802.11 ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2||802.11 ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2||802.11 ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2|
|Camera||720p FaceTime HD Camera||720p FaceTime HD Camera||720p FaceTime HD Camera|
|Price||Starts at $1,499|