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Apple Unveils New MacBook Pros With Touch Bar Technology

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.

Three Models

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 Pro13-inch (without Touch Bar)13-inch15-inch
CPUIntel 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)Intel Core i7 (Skylake, 2.6 GHz, 3.5 GHz Turbo), can upgrade to Intel Core i7 (Skylake, 2.9 GHz, 3.8 GHz Turbo) Intel Core i7 (Skylake, 2.7 GHz, 3.6 GHz Turbo), can upgrade to Intel Core i7 (Skylake, 2.9 GHz, 3.8 GHz Turbo)
GPUIntel Iris Graphics 540Intel Iris Graphics 550Intel HD Graphics 530 and AMD Radeon Pro 450, can upgrade to AMD Radeon Pro 460 Intel HD Graphics 530 and AMD Radeon Pro 455, can upgrade to AMD Radeon Pro 460
Screen13.3 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)
RAM8 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)
Storage256 GB (PCIe-based SSD), can upgrade to 512 GB or 1 TB (PCIe-based SSD)256 GB (PCIe-based SSD) 512 GB, can upgrade to 1 TB (PCIe-based SSD)256 GB (PCIe-based SSD), can upgrade to 512 GB, 1 TB or 2 TB 512 GB (PCIe-based SSD), can upgrade to 1 TB or 2 TB
I/O2x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C), 3.5mm headphone jack4x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C), 3.5mm headphone jack4x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C), 3.5mm headphone jack
Connection802.11 ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2802.11 ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2802.11 ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2
Camera720p FaceTime HD Camera720p FaceTime HD Camera720p FaceTime HD Camera
PriceStarts at $1,499Starts at $1,799 (256 GB version) Starts at $1,999 (512 GB version)Starts at $2,399 (256 GB version) Starts at $2,799 (512 GB version)
  • problematiq
    *Removes USB's* Removes ESC key* *Add's function button bar* New and "Innovated"!
    Reply
  • LordConrad
    For a company that markets itself to photo and video professionals, removing the SD card reader is just stupid!
    Reply
  • BoredSysAdmin
    Didn't had enough "courage" to remove 3.5mm headphone jack on the laptop?
    Reply
  • problematiq
    18789682 said:
    Didn't had enough "courage" to remove 3.5mm headphone jack on the laptop?

    That is a little strange isn't it?
    Reply
  • therealduckofdeath
    "innovation" á la Tim Cook: Remove commonly used functions like headphone jacks, USB ports and keyboard keys. Add useless gimmicks like touch buttons, dongles to get those ports back and what not.... :D
    Reply
  • spiketheaardvark
    I would laugh if all the companies with lcd/touch panels on their keyboards (I think Razer even had some of their laptops) sued Apple for patent infringement.
    Reply
  • 1991ATServerTower
    $1800, Dual core CPU, 2106... Yeah, no. You can keep that.

    Iris Pro is only a little better in than an AMD APU in some things, so it's not like the product is magical or whatnot. Typical Apple product, way too much money for the specs you get.
    Reply
  • jasonelmore
    LMAO all these apple fans waited for 3 years for apple to update their macbook pro line, and what does apple do??!@?!?! They use a 1 year old CPU when the competition is using 7th gen Kaby Lake.

    I feel for you apple fans.. Thats almost as bad as Microsoft using Keplar in their new Surface Studio computer instead of Pascal.

    Apple is losing touch with it's base... There is only so much crap your fans will endure. The removal of the "Escape" key, and using 1 year old CPU's, and raising prices +$200 across the board while using old cpu tech, is a sure way to make your customers feel that their new notebook is already antiquated. Also, they removed the SD Card reader, while not a big deal for most, still adds up. At some point in time, you have to ask yourself, is all that stuff they removed worth a 3mm thinner laptop? or are you just ok with buying and carrying around a multitude of dongles to replace all that functionality they took out.

    Kaby Lake added hardware H.265 MAIN encoder and thats a big deal for creatives that use these laptops for video editing. but apple staying with skylake ensures they get slightly cheaper cpu prices at the expense of their loyal customers.

    PS: oh they used AMD instead of Nvidia, but i won't count that. Nvidia's Pascal Arch offers much better perf per watt than Polaris.
    Reply
  • elho_cid
    18789611 said:
    For a company that markets itself to photo and video professionals, removing the SD card reader is just stupid!

    For a company that revived itself on online music, removing the most popular headphone plug from their single successful product is equally stupid. I guess that's their new company motto: "Apple. Just stupid."
    Reply
  • IceMyth
    The problem I see in MacBook are the specs & price. We are in 2016 (soon 2017) and they still using DDR3 RAMs. For me RAM is not a big issues, but when you think in term prices vs specs you see it is away so stupid and overpriced. MacBook 13inch is like 2k CAD and with that money you can get away better windows laptop which I hate but will go for it in my next laptop.
    Reply