Apple's New MacBook Pro Could Kill the Mouse, Almost
When Apple took the wraps off the new MacBook Pro (starting at $1,499) with its customizable, and optional Touch Bar, I shook my head. It's not the first time a company has put a touchscreen on the keyboard deck: Remember the Razer Blade? But, the revised Pro will be a welcome update for Apple fans thanks to its streamlined design and more powerful insides.
Definitely the biggest news of Apple's latest reveal is the Touch Bar, which sits where the function row appears on a normal keyboard. This multi-touch enabled glass sits above the keyboard and features contextual menus and buttons. The options change as you change what apps you're using and what you're doing within the app. For instance, when sending messages, it will offer predictive text in the bar or even emoji. When you're editing photos your color palette and other editing tools will appear. In the newly revamped Final Cut Pro, you can use the Touch Bar to navigate through your movie's timeline.
All of those features could be accomplished by raising your hand off the keyboard and using a mouse or your touchpad, by navigating through menus. Also, the buttons themselves look really small. It seems like a touchscreen display would make those same actions easier with my chubby fingers. However, it is possible that with some practice, I could relearn how to navigate my laptop's menus. After all, I learned Windows 8.
Apple also brings Touch ID to the MacBook Pro. That means you can enable instant yet secure access to log-ins, and you can better secure online purchases via Apple Pay.
The good news is that the Touch Bar is optional. A redesigned and refreshed base model of the 13-inch MacBook Pro is still available starting today. If you want the Touch Bar it will cost you $300 more, which will also get you a slightly faster Intel Core i5 CPU and will take between 2 and 3 weeks to arrive.
There's also a 15-inch MacBook Pro ($2,399), but it only comes with a Touch Bar. It also sports an Intel Core i7 CPU, and more memory. And it too will take 2 to 3 weeks to arrive.
Apple claims the new MacBook Pro lineup is the lightest and thinnest it has made. The unibody, all-metal body (available in Silver or Space Gray) measures just 14.9mm thick, which is actually thinner than the MacBook Air. At 3 pounds, the 13-inch new Pro is nearly a half of a pound lighter than the previous generation MacBook Pro. The 15-inch model weighs 4 pounds.
The Retina display looks as stunning as you might expect. The LED-backlit screen with IPS technology offers a 2560 x 1600 pixel resolution, which adds up to 227 ppi. Inside the Intel Iris Graphics should also help with vibrant displays.
Adding to the single USB Type-C ports on the base MacBook, the new Pros feature four Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C ports. That means any of those ports can be used for charging. It can also be used to connect to multiple monitors. The company claims the battery should last up to 10 hours on a charge, using wireless web surfing.
The laptop will come preloaded with macOS Sierra, in addition to a pantheon of Apple's own apps such as Time Machine, Numbers, Pages and Keynote. It comes with a one-year limited warranty and 90 days of phone support. To get more than that you have to purchase a AppleCare Protection Plan.
Apple timed today's (Oct. 27, 2016) to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the release of Apple's first laptop.