After years without a major change for its flagship laptop, Apple unveiled a redesigned line of MacBook Pros on October 27. This new computer is the thinnest and lightest MacBook Pro ever, and is available in silver and space gray and with a 13 or 15 inch screen. These models weigh just 5 pounds and 3 pounds, respectively.
Unfortunately, Apple has also unveiled several changes that may frustrate potential buyers and previous MacBook owners. Consumers will have to buy an adapter to plug in the new iPhone 7 (which angered many customers by dropping the headphone jack) to the new MacBook Pro, and even more adapters to use MagSafe and other accessories.
Both models will have four Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C ports, each of which can be used for charging, video output, and accessories. Though these ports have faster transfer speeds and more compact designs, Apple is again abandoning legacy technology and using new connection standards. Fortunately, the new laptops will still have headphone jacks.
Another major new feature is the redesigned keyboard with an OLED digital touch strip, called the Touch Bar, that replaces function keys. It is used to adjust volume and other system functions, and also adapts to whatever software is being used. For instance, the Touch Bar provides suggestions and emojis when typing, a list of common websites when in Safari, and editing tools when users are working with photography programs. Apple has also introduced Touch ID to the MacBook (fingerprint readers have been available on other manufacturers’ laptops for several years) which allow users to log into the computer with fingerprint and also to authorize purchases using Apple Pay.
Apple claims that the MacBook Pro display is improved, as the screen is 67 percent brighter and delivers 25 percent more colors than the previous model. There will be a faster processor and up to ten hours of battery life. The Force Touch Trackpad, which allows for a range of functions depending on how much pressure users employ, is twice as big as it was on the previous generation. The laptop also includes a new speaker design that Apple claims will deliver greater volume and range.
The MacBook Pros are available for immediate order. However, only the low-end model without Touch Bar is currently shipping. Touch Bar models are expected to ship in two to three weeks. The new models will cost $1,799 for 13-inch version, $2,399 for 15-inch, and $1,499 for the version with traditional function keys.
In addition to the new MacBook Pro, Apple launched an app, simply called “TV,” that aggregates video content into a single view. It creates a universal guide allowing users to track their favorite shows and movies across approximately 1,600 video content apps on Apple’s TV platform. However, Netflix is notably not participating in the platform. The app will be available as a free software updated for all Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad users, and allows for single sign-on that can sync across multiple devices.
Apple also unveiled a new feature for Siri, called Siri Live Tune-In, that allows users to immediately find live sporting and other television events using voice commands without having to know on which app the program is playing. Siri Live Tune-In is available today.