The new multi-touch keyboard strip looks interesting.
Apple just took the lid off its new MacBook Pro at an event at its Cupertino, Calif. headquarters. Here are the basics:
There’s a new Touch Bar. As expected, the biggest change is a new multi-touch strip replacing the top row of the keyboard. It looks very interesting.
Touch Bar includes application-specific keys and tools, such as quick-launching bookmarks or moving between tabs in Safari, browsing emoji in Messages, shortcuts for filing email in the Mail app, and photo-straightening tools in Photos. It also supports Apple’s predictive typing feature from iOS, which can pre-type words for you.
Developers will surely do some interesting things here. Adobe, an important creative-professional app maker for the Mac, demonstrated an early attempt for Photoshop. Microsoft will also support Touch Bar for its Office apps and Skype.
Touch Bar also has the familiar Touch ID sensor integrated into its power button. You can use your fingerprint to log into your Mac and make Apple Pay purchases. (No word on whether it can also handle other passwords yet.)
The new MacBook Pro is all-in on USB-C. It includes four Thunderbolt ports using the USB-C design, each of which can power and charge the device, or hook up to USB, HDMI or VGA adapters. Apple also worked with LG on a new 5K external display; the new MacBook Pro can support up to two of them at a time. (Btw: No more MagSafe charger.)
It ships in 13- and 15-inch display sizes, and in both silver and space gray. (No gold, rose gold, or matte black.) Apple says it will get up to 10 hours of battery life.
It’s thinner and lighter. For the 13-inch model, at 14.9mm thick, it’s 17% thinner than its predecessor. At 3 pounds, it’s about a half-pound lighter. (And only about a pound heavier than the super-thin 12-inch MacBook.) The 15-inch model is almost the same thickness and weighs 4 pounds.
It’s faster and has a new display and keyboard. The screen is 67% brighter and shows 25% more colors. The thinner keyboard is closer to the 12-inch MacBook design.
It starts at $1799 for a 13-inch model and $2399 for a 15-inch model; these will be available in 2-3 weeks. There’s also a cheaper, $1499 version without Touch Bar, and two fewer Thunderbolt ports, which ships today. (This is designed to compete with the MacBook Air for budget-conscious buyers.)