Apple just released the latest version of the MacBook Pro, the newest edition of the brand in 18 months. The company’s latest laptop is lighter and thinner than ever, and comes with a keyboard curiously upgraded with a touch panel.
Some Old Features are Missing
Apple, in characteristic manner, has forgone some conventional features for the new MacBook Pro. There are no SD Card slots or the global standard USB type A ports on the new laptop. Instead, the new MacBook Pros are equipped with USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports. There are four such ports on the laptop, with two on each side. The Thunderbolt ports were first introduced in last year’s MacBook Pro.
Standard USB ports are still used by Apple for the Lightning cable adapters that come with iPhones. It’s unclear if owners could use Thunderbolt ports for Lightning cables as well. Because there is no SD card reader either, the Thunderbolt ports also double as DisplayPorts. Owners will have to use adapters to connect existing standard USB equipment. MagSafe power adapter has been ditched as well. The MacBook Pro retains its HDMI port and a 3.5mm headphone socket.
Apple Introduces an Interesting Touch Bar
The most notable new feature of the MacBook Pro is that OLED “touch bar” placed right above the keyboard. The touch bar replaces the “F” keys that perform a number of systematic functions on other laptops. In their place are tappable shortcuts to functions such as volume control and multiple window management. According to Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller, the touch bar “adapts to whatever software you’re using.”
The touch bar is equipped with multitouch functionality, retina display, and ability to respond to gestures as well as taps. During Apple’s MacBook Pro release event, the company demonstrated how the touch bar could be used to navigate within web browsers, manipulate photographs and generate suggestions when typing. Interestingly, the touch bar can be easily used to insert emojis when typing without moving the hand over to the mouse. The bar can suggest emojis to insert as well.
In other features, the new MacBook Pro comes with a Touch ID fingerprint scanner similar to the previous model. However, this time around, Apple has integrated the scanner to the power button, similar to the fingerprint scanner in iPhones. The scanner can be used to unlock the laptop and also to confirm online payments. Accompanying the fingerprint scanner is the Force Touch track pad, which it twice the size of the one in the older model.
New MacBook Pro Comes with Two Sizes with Different Specs
Apple is releasing MacBook Pro in 13-inch and 15-inch versions. The 13-inch MacBook Pro comes with either an Intel i5 or an i7 dual-core processor, 256GB storage, 8GB RAM, and an Intel Iris 550 integrated graphics card. The Iris graphics card is said to deliver gaming performance that is 103% faster and video editing performance about 76% faster compared to the previous MacBook Pro. The new graphics card will improve the 3D graphics display as well.
The 15-inch MacBook Pro is more powerful. It comes with a quad-core Intel i7 processor (quad-core processors are generally faster than dual-core processors). Though both have 256GB of internal storage, the RAM has been doubled to 16GB in the 15-inch version. The larger MacBook Pro has an AMD Radeon Pro 450 graphics chip, which comes with its own 4GB video RAM space. This delivers gaming 60% faster, video editing 57% faster and 3D graphics 130% faster.
Apple said that both models have battery life that can last up to 10 hours on a single charge.
Retail prices for the 13-inch MacBook Pro will be $1,799, and the 15-inch MacBook Pro will go on sale for $2,399. A version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro can be purchased for $1,499 without the touch bar and with only two Thunderbolt ports.