Apple refreshes Macbook Pro line with Touch Bar, Air left for dead
Apple on Thursday released a new Macbook Pro design, the first time it has seen a refresh in four years. It has all but killed off its popular Air line of ultra-portable computers, replacing it with the 13-inch version of the Macbook Pro or 12-inch Macbook.
The biggest change to the new lineup of high-end computers comes in the form of touch. Apple has found an alternative to the expensive, battery-draining touchscreens found in Windows PCs with Touch Bar, a thin Retina display bar that sits where traditional keyboard shortcut buttons reside. Touch Bar is an adaptive solution to shortcuts, changing functionality based on the application being used by the user. Examples shown during the Apple Keynote include using Touch Bar to move throughout a movie while editing in Final Cut, or sending e-mails from one folder to the next. Its buzziest feature comes in the form of emojis, which can be easily searched through and selected with the tap of a finger.
Apple is also bringing TouchID to its computers, a security feature found in all of its new iPhones. The Touch ID sensor is integrated into the power button, and allows for quick, accurate reading of your fingerprint. Apple also demonstrated that the fingerprint sensor can be used to switch between multiple Mac users on a single device within a matter of seconds.
The new Macbook Pros are also much lighter than their aging predecessors. Rest assured, this has not caused Apple to abandon the headphone jack. Apple claims they are the thinnest and lightest Pros ever with the 13-inch model just 14.9 millimeters thick and 3 pounds light. The 15-inch version isn’t much bigger, weighing only 4 pounds, comparing favorably to the lightest of Windows competitors. Both models will come in Apple’s traditional silver color with a sleek space gray color option new to the line.
The 13-inch Macbook Pro without the touch bar is the closest replacement to the Macbook Air in Apple’s arsenal. It starts with a 2.0GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor and Intel’s integrated Iris Graphics 540. That base model will also ship with 8GB of 1866MHz RAM and a 256GB PCle-SSD. The two 13-inch Touch Bar versions of the Macbook Pro run on a 2.9 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with turbo boost up to 3.3 GHz and Iris 550 graphics. They also have 8GB of RAM but at 2133MHz. The $1,799 version will come with 256GB SSD, and a $1,999 version is equipped with 512GB SSD.
The 15-inch Touch Bar Macbook Pros come in three flavors. The least expensive model, at $1,999 has a 2.2 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with turbo at 3.4GHz, 256GB PCle-based SSD, 16GB 1600MHz RAM and Intel Iris Pro graphics. The most expensive Macbook Pro has a 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with turbo boost clocking in at 3.6GHz. It comes with 512GB PCle-based SSD and 2GB of Radeon Pro 455 graphics. The highest-end model is priced at $2,799.
Other features include:
- 3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology; 2560-by-1600 native resolution at 227 pixels per inch,
- Or 15.4-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology; 2880-by-1800 native resolution at 220 pixels per inch.
- Two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports
with support for:
- Thunderbolt (up to 40 Gbps)
- USB 3.1 Gen 2 (up to 10 Gbps)
- IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible
- Bluetooth 4.2 wireless technology
All of these models can be purchased today from Apple’s website, with shipping expected in two to three weeks.