avatarby Alex MullisOctober 27, 20160 comments

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In case you missed it, Apple has just unveiled two new MacBook Pro models. You can find all the specs and details on those devices in our announcement post, but we wanted to focus on one unique feature they bring to the table – the Touch Bar. This is a new touchscreen OLED display that takes the place of traditional function keys found on other laptops.

The Touch Bar isn’t just your ordinary touchscreen display, though. It can be fully customized to your heart’s content with the ability to add or remove any button you want. This, of course, allows for a much deeper level of productivity. What’s more, the buttons that appear in the Touch Bar will change depending on which app you’re using.

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Now that just about every smartphone nowadays has a fingerprint sensor, it only makes sense that our laptops do too, right? On the right side of the Touch Bar, Apple has included a Touch ID fingerprint sensor, allowing you to sign into your computer with ease. Apple also included a new chip called the T1, which lets the T1 handle Touch ID so the main processor can focus on other tasks. The sensor also supports Apple Pay, so you’ll be able to verify purchases online with just a tap of your finger.

This is cool and all, but where things really get crazy is third-party support. Notably, Apple mentioned Algoriddim, Photoshop and Final Cut Pro. We will break down the features showcased for each application below:

  • Final Cut Pro – You’ll be able to see a timeline of your video on the Touch Bar, which you can drag, zoom and edit with a single tap. Editing tools and special functions are also available on the Touch Bar depending on what you have selected.
  • Photoshop – With Adobe’s Photoshop, you’ll be able to select and resize different tools on the Touch Bar. For instance, during the on-stage demo, the presenter showcased the selection mask tool and layer blending options working in conjunction with one another, via the Touch Bar. You’ll also be able to view past edits without actually going back in history, which is very helpful.
  • Algoriddim – Algoriddim is award-winning DJ software for the Mac that will be getting Touch Bar support later this year. On stage, the presenter was able to perform a live show with just the Touch Bar. We’re not sure if any professional DJs will want to adopt the this method for their live shows anytime soon, but it might be fun to play around with. Controls with the Touch Bar include a sampler, waveform seeking tool and scratching all in real time.

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But what about with the rest of the OS? The new Touch Bar will also be able to cycle between applications. In Preview, you’ll be able to swipe through and select different photos, and make small edits to images like cropping and rotating. It’ll also act as an emoji picker when using iMessage. It’ll even give you text predictions when you’re typing out a message or document, just like the virtual keyboards on our smartphones.

All in all, we think it’s a simple yet brilliant idea. Are you excited to use the new Touch Bar and Touch ID? Let us know in the comments!