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Apple Special Event: MacBook Pro

Tim Cook began the Mac portion of the event by touting the new features of macOS Sierra. This week happens to be a huge week in the history of the Mac and of Apple. 25 years ago, the first notebook — the PowerBook — came out. 

Cook brought up several “Firsts” with the Mac laptops that have come out since then, saying that “Apple defines and redefines what a notebook is and what a notebook can do, and today we’re going to do it again”.

The new MacBook Pro was introduced with a bang, showing all of the past advances, then showing the new device. Phil Schiller did the demo!

A whole new design, all metal (aluminum) and with four USB-C ports, two on each side. 13-inch is 14.9mm thin, 17% thinner than previous version. 3.0 pounds weight. 15-inch model is 15.5mm thick, 14% thinner, 20% less volume. 4 pounds, half a pound less than previous model. 

The trackpad is now Force Touch-enabled, and is twice the size of the previous trackpad. The keyboard uses the new 2nd-generation butterfly mechanism used in the MacBook, and the new Retina display multi-touch Touch Bar.

All normal functions are there, but it adapts to whatever app is currently running. Safari, for example, has buttons for favorite sites. In Photos, there is a tool for straightening photos that’s just above the keyboard. Touch ID makes a debut, using the new Apple T1 Chip and it’s possible to do Apple Pay purchases with your finger on the MacBook Pro.

Craig Federighi then arrived to do the demo of the Touch Bar. All system controls are available, Siri also has a dedicated key right on the Touch Bar. Many items that would normally require a “mouse” movement to a location on the screen for a click, are now a tap away on the Touch Bar. QuickType does predictive phrases, words and Emoji that can be tapped on the Touch Bar. 

Small previews of Safari tabs appear on the Touch Bar as well! In Photos, a strip of photos appears, and playback controls for videos in the Touch Bar allow scrubbing through the video with a tap. 

The Touch Bar can be completely customized by dragging items off of the screen onto it. Phil Schiller touched the TouchID part of the Touch Bar, and he was able to immediately log into the same machine through Quick User Switching. 

15-inch — Best display on a Mac ever, 67% brighter, 67% better contrast ratio, 25% greater color gamut. Intel Core i7 sixth-generation quad core processor, Radion Pro Polaris architecture, 14 nm GPU, Superfast SSD up to 2 TB, up to 50% faster. Thinner heat pipes and fans make things quieter. 

All new speaker design brings twice the dynamic range to the device. 130% faster 3D graphics, 60% faster gaming. 

13-inch can be set up with i5 or i7, and is much faster than the older model. I/O use four Thunderbolt 3 ports that support 10Gb/s USB 3.1 Gen 2.

Any one of the four ports can be a charging port. Ports can do power, Thunderbolt, USB, DisplayPort, HDMI or VGA. And there’s a headphone port, folks! 

There’s an LG display to use with this device! You can run two of these, with two Thunderbolt 3 RAID arrays, and more!

There’s a new version of Final Cut Pro that takes advantage of the features of the new MacBook Pro. The Touch Bar can be used to drag through the timeline, tapped to jump to a particular location, and even zoomed. 

Adobe Photoshop has been upgraded as well for the MacBook Pro. The Touch Bar and larger Magic Trackpad make it simple to make double-handed adjustments for brushes, color, and more. A new color slider (see below) looks addictive! Bradee Evans of Adobe, who did the demo, said that the new version should be available by the end of 2016.

Karim Morsy of Algoriddim showed off a new version of DJ Pro, and the Touch Bar makes the app absolutely incredible. As with the other apps, the new version will come out later this year.

Microsoft will be supplying updates to Microsoft Office and Skype that take advantage of Touch Bar for MacBook Pro, Pixelmator gets an upgrade, and more will be seen soon!

The new MacBook Pro is 6.8 million times faster than the original PowerBook 170, according to Phil Schiller. 

The new MacBook Pro is smaller and lighter than the MacBook Pro with function keys — formerly known as the MacBook Air — which is really incredible. I had the feeling that the Air was dead…

10 hours of battery life in both MacBook Pros. Cost of the 13-inch starts at $1299, while the 15-inch will start at $1999.

Steve Sande
the authorSteve Sande
Steve is the founder and former publisher of Apple World Today and has authored a number of books about Apple products. He's an avid photographer, an FAA-licensed drone pilot, and a really bad guitarist. Steve and his wife Barb love to travel everywhere!