Apple announces semi-refreshed MacBook Pro lineup

Apple / Tech
2016 MacBook Pro

The marquee feature Apple announced today on both the 13″ and 15″ MacBooks is the TouchBar.

Apple has just announced their semi-refreshed MacBook Pro lineup at today’s October Apple event. Yes, I said semi-refreshed. While there are a bunch of new things on these new machines I’m choosing to use the term semi-refreshed because aesthetically they don’t look too much different than previous models. To be fair, there is probably very little you can do to make a laptop look that different other than some major radical change, then we would have complained it was too far off. Of course that’s all just my own opinion and some of you are likely to disagree with it, which is what makes life so great! Now on to the new stuff!

Let’s start off with the new MacBook Pro trackpad, which was one announcement I really loved. The new trackpad is wider and bigger than previous models, giving you much more room for mousing and gestures. The ForceTouch feature returns, not big news, which seems like it’s going to be pretty amazing on the more ample trackpad. Next up are the Thunderbolt/USB Type-C ports. The 15″ Pro will have four of these while smaller models only two. It is worth mentioning that the headphone jack is curiously still included on the new MacBook Pro lineup. The Thunderbolt/USB Type-C ports can all be used for charging so you can move your charging cord to either side of the laptop. Goodbye MagSafe, you can read my thoughts on that in the article I wrote earlier today.

As you can see from the video, the keyboard also received some attention making it more akin to the new 12″ MacBook than the older Pros. Gone are the scissor style chiclet keys, replaced by broader butterfly style keys found on the smallest of the Macs. This keyboard will take get some getting used to but it doesn’t take long to get used to the shorter travel of these things and I rather enjoy my own 12″ MacBook keyboard.

Apple says (as it usually always does) that this Retina display is the best ever put into a Mac laptop. The new display is 67% brighter, has a 67% better contrast ratio, and displays 25% more color, and is 30% more efficient. Apple is claiming 10 hours of battery life for the new MacBook Pro 15″ — but of course your mileage will vary.

The marquee feature Apple announced today on both the 13″ and 15″ MacBooks is the TouchBar. The TouchBar is a Retina display at the top of the keyboard where the function keys are located. Our initial speculation was that this new feature was going to have remappable keys and house your function keys as well. Well, it’s much more than that and actually changes depending on which app you’re using. So in the case of the gif below, if you’re in the Messaging app you will have emojis and quick reply options available to you.

MacBook

Courtesy Techcrunch

The new TouchBar also works in more intensive apps like Final Cut Pro and Adobe Photoshop giving you quick shortcuts to things you would have to mouse for. It’s actually not a bad tool to add to your workflow but it does beg the question why Apple just doesn’t make a touchscreen. The TouchBar has a huge amount of function and also features TouchID allowing you to not only unlock your Mac but also to switch between user profiles.

Overall the new MacBook Pro lineup certainly looks slick but still very familiar. The keyboard, trackpad, and TouchBar are wins in my estimation, the exclusion of MagSafe is a step backwards but the inclusion of Thunderbolt/USB Type-C is a win. The price points though, those will make you choke. Starting at $1499 and rising up to $2399 — and that’s just the base price before you decide to up the processing or storage on these. Apple prices shouldn’t come as much of a surprise though, these laptops have always commanded a high price tag. These aren’t going to be powerful enough to do things like virtual reality (VR) but then again Tim Cook is putting his eggs in the augmented reality (AR) basket not the VR basket. You can pre-order these on Apple’s website now if you want or you can start looking on eBay and other places for deals on people selling their older models.

  Source: Apple
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