As expected, Apple used its press event today to introduce new 13-inch and 15-inch models of its long running MacBook Pro laptops. The biggest new feature for both is that they use an OLED-based Touch Bar on top of their keyboards in place of the traditional function keys
The Touch Bar, like a smartphone screen, has been made for multitouch, with support for gestures and taps. It is also a retina display. The bar can change depending on the action required by the user. If you want an emoji key, it can display one. It can also offer keyboard shortcuts for specific apps, special buttons for accessing web sites direct from Safari and more. They can even appear as the normal function buttons if the user doesn’t want a changing keyboard design.
Along with the customizable Touch Bar, the new laptops also support TouchID. The refreshed MacBook Pros also have a new Apple T1 chip which is supposed to offer users more secure online payments. TouchID can also be used on the notebooks to quickly switch users with just a fingerprint.
The new MacBook Pros are also thinner and lighter than their previous versions. The 13-inch version is just 14.9mm thin and weighs about 3 pounds. The 15-inch version is just 15.5mm thin and weighs about 4 pounds. The 15-inch version also has an Intel Core i7 processor and a Radeon Pro graphics chip which gives it 130% boost in 3D graphics compared to the earlier version. The new 13-inch version has options for both Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, but it does not have a dedicated graphics chip. However it still offer over twice the graphics performance compared to the older model.
Both of the new MacBook Pros have four Thunderbolt 3 ports and the 15-inch version can be used to display content on two 5K displays at once. There will apparently not be any standard USB posts for these new laptop models.
Oh, and one more thing – for those of you who aren’t interested in the new Touch Bar but still want an upgraded MacBook Pro, Apple is also releasing a 13-inch model with traditional function keys.
The new MacBook Pros come in Space Gray and Silver, and you’ll be able to pre-order these new devices from today at Apple.com. Here’s a quick pricing breakdown:
- 13-inch MacBook Pro (with traditional function keys) – Starting at $1,499
- 13-inch MacBook Pro (with Touch Bar and Touch ID) – Starting at $1,799
- 15-inch MacBook Pro (with Touch Bar and Touch ID) – Starting at $2,399
The new MacBook Pro with traditional function keys starts shipping today, while the other two models with the Touch Bar will ship in 2-3 weeks.