Apple Announces Refreshed MacBook Pro Lineup w/ Touch Bar, Touch ID, Thinner Design, USB-C Everywhere

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As expected, today at their October 2016 event, Apple unveiled the latest generation MacBook Pros that bring a new design and fresh hardware to the table. Rumors absolutely swirled this topic of new MBPs from Apple this year, and it looks like a majority of them weren’t completely wrong.

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Starting with the design, Apple has made the new MacBook Pro so thin that it makes the current MacBook Air look fat. Since there’s two screen sizes available (one being 13 inches and the other 15 inches), there are two different thicknesses, but they’re pretty close to each other. The 13-inch model comes in at 14.9mm thin, while the 15-inch is at 15.5mm. Both of these sizes outperform their predecessors by 17% and 14% in terms of overall thickness, respectively. In addition, the 13-inch variant weighs just 3 pounds, while the 15-inch variant weighs 4 pounds.

Apple also touted how much less volume the new MacBook Pros take up, with the 13-inch model taking up 23% less room on your desk while the 15-inch model takes up 20% less room. Overall, you’ll now have plenty of room at your cubical for whatever you may like to keep with you.

It’s worth noting that the new MacBook Pros don’t feature an aluminum body anymore. Instead, they sport an all metal body and come in Silver and (drumroll, please) Space Gray. Obviously, more people will opt for the latter color option since it just looks so cool, so just imagine there’s only one color available. You know, unless you love everything in Silver.

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In terms of the display, the new MacBook Pros come in 13-inch and 15-inch sizes and feature Retina resolutions (we’ll update this when we learn exactly what the resolutions are in terms of pixels). According to Apple, these screens have a brightness of 500 nits, is 67% brighter than the previous generation, and is the first MacBook to feature wider color gamut. The company explains more about the displays below.

The best Mac display ever delivers images that are more vivid, reveal even greater detail and appear more lifelike than ever. As thin as a MacBook display at .88 mm, the Retina display on the new MacBook Pro at 500 nits of brightness, is an amazing 67 percent brighter than the previous generation, features 67 percent more contrast and is the first Mac notebook display to support wider color gamut. And with power-saving technologies like a larger pixel aperture, a variable refresh rate and more power-efficient LEDs, the display consumes 30 percent less energy than before.

It’s worth noting that Apple also says the lid of the MacBook Pro where the display is located is just as thin as the current 12-inch MacBook’s.

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Moving onto the IO side of things, Apple has included four USB-C ports that are all Thunderbolt 3 capable with two on either side of the machines. There’s also a headphone jack, something many weren’t expecting since the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus don’t include such a port. Apple says any of the four USB-C ports can be used for power, data transfer, and more. In addition, it looks like USB-A and -B are now gone from Apple’s professional lineup of MacBooks, so prepare to make the switch to C if you buy one of these things.

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Inside the new MacBook Pros are the sixth-generation Intel Core i chipsets, with the 13-inch model having the option of an i5 or i7. Every 15-inch MacBook Pro now comes with an i7, so don’t think about getting one with an i5. Superfast SSDs are loaded into the machines with 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB of storage, while 8GB or 16GB of RAM can be loaded as well. Graphics wise, the 15-inch model includes Radeon Pro discrete graphics, while the 13-inch model comes with Intel Iris graphics. There’s also a new fan system with two fans instead of one that run silently and dissipate heat more efficiently. In addition, a fresh speaker system has been included that still plays sound via two grilles on either side of the machines, but it’s currently unknown just how good they actually sound.

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For controlling your new MacBook Pro, Apple has included the Force Touch trackpad that’s actually twice as big as the previous trackpads on the old MBPs, while the same chiclet-style keyboard from the 12-inch MacBook also makes its way to these new laptops. Of course, it wouldn’t be a new device without some crazy and/or different, and Apple doesn’t disappoint in this department…

Replacing the Function keys on the keyboard of the new MacBook Pro is something called a Touch Bar. This is a single-strip Retina touch screen that gives users access to various shortcuts and utilities with the tap of a finger. Users can access system controls like volume, screen brightness, and Mission Control via the system pop-out menu, while the bar becomes even more useful when inside applications…

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As demoed on stage today, Apple will allow developers to build functions for the Touch Bar according to their application. This means that apps like Photoshop, DJ Pro, and more can all feature custom shortcuts users can use to quickly jump to a certain part in the program in use or use a tool at a moment’s notice. A vast majority of Apple’s built-in apps already feature this functionality, while the two third-party apps I mentioned will be bringing this new method of interaction to their customers at some point in the future. In addition, controls brought from iOS like Quick Type suggestions and emojis are now accessible  while typing on the new MacBook Pros thanks to the Touch Bar, so if you’re a fan of either of these two functions, you’ll love using Apple’s latest laptops.

Apple explains a bit more about the new Touch Bar below.

The Touch Bar places controls right at the user’s fingertips and adapts when using the system or apps like Mail, Finder, Calendar, Numbers, GarageBand, Final Cut Pro X and many more, including third-party apps. For example, the Touch Bar can show Tabs and Favorites in Safari, enable easy access to emoji in Messages, provide a simple way to edit images or scrub through videos in Photos and so much more.

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Over on the right hand side of the Touch Bar is another new element of interaction placed right on top of the power button, and this one’s for security. Yes, folks, you guess right: Touch ID is now on the Mac. It can be used to unlock your Mac, make Apple Pay purchases in Safari, and be used to navigate throughout third-party apps. A unique function to Touch ID on the new MacBook Pros is the ability to instantly switch to another user. If you share your computer, you’re friend or family member will be able to scan his or her fingerprint while still in your profile to automatically switch to theirs. I find this function very useful and will recommend it to anyone sharing one of the new MacBook Pros.

In addition, a new Apple T1 chip is where Touch ID’s information is stored on the new MacBook Pros. In other words, this is where your fingerprints go.

Integrated into the power button is the convenience and security of Touch ID, one of the great features customers have come to know and love from their iPhone and iPad. Once you enroll your fingerprint in Touch ID on your MacBook Pro, you can quickly unlock your Mac, switch user accounts and make secure purchases with Apple Pay on the web with a single touch. Touch ID enables a quick, accurate reading of your fingerprint and uses sophisticated algorithms to recognize and match it with the Secure Enclave in the new Apple T1 chip.

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Of course, with the new MacBook Pros comes macOS Sierra, Apple’s latest version of their Mac operating system. This OS brings Siri to the Mac alongside Picture-in-Picture mode for videos, Apple Pay support by ways of Safari, universal clipboard which works in conjunction with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, an updated Photos and Maps app with all the same features of the new versions of the software for iOS 10, a new Messages app to work alongside the one found in iOS 10, and the ability to use tabs across every application available for the Mac amongst other new features. You can learn more here.

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Besides the new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros with the Touch Bar and Touch ID, Apple has also introduced a cheaper 13-inch Pro without these two additions. There’s also slightly slower specs while the Function keys remain. This laptop is geared toward the more average user looking for a decent replacement for their older laptop and isn’t willing to spend all that much.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Apple’s keeping the 13-inch MacBook Air in the lineup while cancelling the 11-inch variant. This means that there’s a 13-inch Air, 12-inch MacBook, 13-inch MacBook pro, 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID, and a 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID. That’s a lot of MacBooks.

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The new 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1799 for 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and a dual-core Intel Core i5 processor clocked at 2.9GHz which can turbo boost all the way up to 3.3GHz. The new 15-inch model starts at $2399 with 16GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and a quad-core i7 clocked at 2.6GHz that can turbo boost to 3.5GHz. Regarding the cheaper 13-inch variant, this laptop starts at $1499 with 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and a dual-core Intel Core i5. You can configure and order your new MacBook Pro here.

The 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros with Touch Bar and Touch ID will begin shipping in 2-3 weeks, while the cheaper 13-inch variant will start shipping today.

Below is Apple’s full press release about the new MacBook Pros.

Apple unveils groundbreaking new MacBook Pro

Revolutionary Touch Bar, Breakthrough Performance in Apple’s Thinnest and Lightest Pro Design Ever

Cupertino, California — Apple today introduced the thinnest and lightest MacBook Pro ever, along with a breakthrough interface that replaces the traditional row of function keys with a brilliant, Retina-quality Multi-Touch display called the Touch Bar. The new MacBook Pro features Apple’s brightest and most colorful Retina display yet, the security and convenience of Touch ID, a more responsive keyboard, a larger Force Touch trackpad and an audio system with double the dynamic range. It’s also the most powerful MacBook Pro ever, featuring sixth-generation quad-core and dual-core processors, up to 2.3 times the graphics performance over the previous generation, super-fast SSDs and up to four Thunderbolt 3 ports.

The Touch Bar places controls right at the user’s fingertips and adapts when using the system or apps like Mail, Finder, Calendar, Numbers, GarageBand, Final Cut Pro X and many more, including third-party apps. For example, the Touch Bar can show Tabs and Favorites in Safari, enable easy access to emoji in Messages, provide a simple way to edit images or scrub through videos in Photos and so much more.

“This week marks the 25th anniversary of Apple’s first notebook; through the years each generation has introduced new innovations and capabilities, and it’s fitting that this all-new generation of MacBook Pro is the biggest leap forward yet,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “With the groundbreaking new Touch Bar, the convenience of Touch ID, the best Mac display ever, powerful performance, improved audio, blazing-fast storage and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity in our thinnest and lightest pro notebook yet, the new MacBook Pro is the most advanced notebook ever made.”

Thinnest and Lightest MacBook Pro Ever

Building on innovations pioneered in MacBook, the new MacBook Pro features an entirely new enclosure design and all-metal unibody construction that creates an incredibly rigid and dense notebook that is amazingly thin and light. At just 14.9 mm thin, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is 17 percent thinner and 23 percent less volume than the previous generation, and nearly half a pound lighter at just three pounds. The new 15-inch MacBook Pro, at just 15.5 mm thin, is 14 percent thinner and 20 percent less volume than before, and weighing just four pounds, is nearly half a pound lighter.

Touch ID Comes to the Mac

Integrated into the power button is the convenience and security of Touch ID, one of the great features customers have come to know and love from their iPhone and iPad. Once you enroll your fingerprint in Touch ID on your MacBook Pro, you can quickly unlock your Mac, switch user accounts and make secure purchases with Apple Pay on the web with a single touch. Touch ID enables a quick, accurate reading of your fingerprint and uses sophisticated algorithms to recognize and match it with the Secure Enclave in the new Apple T1 chip.

Apple’s Brightest, Most Colorful Notebook Display

The best Mac display ever delivers images that are more vivid, reveal even greater detail and appear more lifelike than ever. As thin as a MacBook display at .88 mm, the Retina display on the new MacBook Pro at 500 nits of brightness, is an amazing 67 percent brighter than the previous generation, features 67 percent more contrast and is the first Mac notebook display to support wider color gamut. And with power-saving technologies like a larger pixel aperture, a variable refresh rate and more power-efficient LEDs, the display consumes 30 percent less energy than before.

The Most Powerful MacBook Pro Yet

Powerful processors, cutting-edge graphics, blazing-fast SSDs, high-speed memory and an advanced thermal architecture deliver amazing pro-level performance in a dramatically thinner enclosure. Sixth-generation dual-core Core i5 with eDRAM, dual-core Core i7 with eDRAM and quad-core Core i7 Intel processors deliver pro-level processing performance while conserving energy. The new 15-inch MacBook Pro features powerful Radeon Pro discrete graphics delivering up to 2.3 times more performance than the previous generation; while the 13-inch MacBook Pro comes with Intel Iris Graphics that are up to two times faster than before. All models feature SSDs with sequential read speeds over 3GBps and Thunderbolt 3, which consolidates data transfer, charging and twice the video bandwidth in a single port — allowing users to drive a 5K display and power their MacBook Pro with a single cable.

The new MacBook Pro also offers:

  • Much larger Force Touch trackpads — 46 percent larger on the 13-inch MacBook Pro and twice as large on the 15-inch MacBook Pro;
  • More responsive and comfortable typing on the keyboard with a second-generation butterfly mechanism;
  • Louder, more true-to-life sound through speakers with double the dynamic range and improved bass;
  • macOS Sierra, the world’s most advanced desktop operating system, with new features like Siri integration, Universal Clipboard, Apple Pay on the web and Photos, which helps you rediscover your meaningful memories, organize your library and perfect shots like a pro.

Pricing and Availability

13-Inch MacBook Pro
Starts at $1,499 (US), features a 2.0 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1 GHz, 8GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage, and ships today.
Additional technical specifications, configure-to-order options and accessories are available online at Apple.com.

13-Inch MacBook Pro
Starts at $1,799 (US), and features the revolutionary Touch Bar and Touch ID, a 2.9 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.3 GHz, 8GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage, and ships in two to three weeks.
Additional technical specifications, configure-to-order options and accessories are available online at Apple.com.

15-Inch MacBook Pro
Starts at $2,399 (US), features the revolutionary Touch Bar and Touch ID, a 2.6 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.5 GHz, 16GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage, and ships in two to three weeks.
Additional technical specifications, configure-to-order options and accessories are available online at Apple.com.

Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Apple’s four software platforms — iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple’s more than 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.





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