Today’s Apple conference revealed the first major MacBook Pro redesign since 2012. The new MacBook Pro line features thinner and lighter models than the previous one; the 13-inch model is 17 percent thinner and weighs just three pounds, while the 15-inch model is 14 percent thinner and weighs four pounds. Both models have a Force Touch Trackpad that’s twice as large as the previous MacBook Pro Trackpad.
But the most significant physical alteration appears on the keyboard. The row of keys dedicated to such tasks as skipping musical tracks and adjusting screen brightness has been replaced with the Touch Bar, a Retina Display multi-touch touchscreen strip that can be customized to users’ liking and change according to which programs users are engaged with at any given moment. For instance, when Safari is open, the Touch Bar will display your favorite sites; when typing, the bar can display autocorrect suggestions, just like iMessage.
The new fingerprint reader located adjacent to the Touch Bar strip, called “Touch-ID,” is nearly the same as the reader found on the iPhone 7 and iPad Pro. In addition to unlocking the laptop, Touch-ID can also be used to purchase items with Apple Pay or to switch between user profiles.
Both models have fully adopted the USB-C port. Each has four Thunderbolt 3 ports that support USB-C, meaning that the dedicated charge, HDMI and SD ports you’re used to have all been replaced. (You can charge the device using any of the four ports.) And yes, rest easy: there is a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Apple seems to have mostly abandoned the MacBook Air line, as they also announced a third laptop: a new 13-inch MacBook Pro with two Thunderbolt 3 ports and no Touch Bar, which is 12 percent thinner than the MacBook Air, 13 percent smaller in volume, and still weighs three pounds. Apple directly compared this model to the MacBook Air, calling it “better in every way.”
The new MacBook also boasts a Retina Display screen that’s 67 percent brighter than before. Performance has been improved, too: The 15-inch model runs on an Intel Core i7 processor, while the 13-inch model offers the choice between an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor. And the speakers in each are louder, offering twice the dynamic range. Taken together, Apple’s served up one hell of a feast for Mac lovers.
The new MacBook Pro is available for pre-order now. It will cost $1,799 for the 13-inch model and $2,399 for the 15-inch model. Either will ship in 2–3 weeks. Models are available in Silver and Space Gray colorways. The 13-inch MacBook Pro without Touch-ID is available now and will cost $1,499.
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