Yesterday Apple revealed it’s new and much awaited MacBook Pro at the Apple Campus in Cupertino, California. Aside from the sexy looks and the space gray color, it also had a new and weirdly interesting feature that everyone had their eye on. The Touch Bar.
First things first, I have never owned any of the Apple products in my life but I did use an iPod, iPad and an iPhone and my first impression was, they are beautiful. The UI and the design are so simple and responsive that it sometime becomes difficult to use any other device, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their drawbacks. The major being the price.
We’ll come back to the price later but let’s talk about what’s new with the new MacBook Pro. It comes in two sizes, a 15 inch and a 13 inch model. It’s much thinner, lighter and faster than it’s predecessor. It has a larger Force Touch track-pad and a second-generation butterfly mechanism keyboard with louder dual speakers on either side. All this with its usual up to 10 hours of battery life.
These are the usual stuffs that we expect but there are a few interesting things that make the Pro quite different from any other laptop. The big one being Apple’s new Touch Bar.
It’s Multi-Touch enabled strip of glass built into the keyboard for instant access to the tools you want, right when you want them.
It’s a slim long glass panel with Multi-Touch feature that can provide extra functionality like function keys and other stuffs like volume slider, brightness etc. It can also be coded to show app specific functions like showing emojis on the strip when the messaging app is open, which I find really interesting. So, apps like Adobe Photoshop can have tools built right into the touch bar for fast accessibility and also Final Cut Pro displays the entire time-line on it so that you can jump around without having to scroll on-screen. You can also drag and drop shortcuts from the main screen to the bar which was amazing, and that’s just few of the many things it can do. Many of the apps can take advantage of the Touch Bar and integrate functionality and shortcuts that you can easily access with a single touch without having to navigate with the pointer on-screen.
At first, this seems interesting, but as you think about it more it seems a little weird. It may be just me but I don’t know why it doesn’t seem that revolutionary and I think Apple could have done a better job with it. For instance, why not build it on either side of the keyboard and place the speakers at the top. That way you would get 2 much wider screens and extra functionality on each of the screens. Being on the side of the keyboard it also has an advantage of reachability. I find it easier to move sideways than reach the top of the keyboard. Also, with the Touch Bar at the top there seems to be no hand rest and placing them on the keyboard might lead to accidental key presses.
Also the other thing I realized is that, that strip is a touch screen. Why isn’t the main screen a touch screen? I mean that would be a step-up if Apple created a touch screen MacBook. I know there’s iPad for that, but iPad doesn’t run macOS and it isn’t as powerful as the MacBook. The touch screen along with the Touch Bar would have made working on the MacBook so much easier and also worth buying it. There’s so much that Apple could have done that it didn’t do, as always, which surprisingly Microsoft did at its event unveiling the new Microsoft Studio, which looks so amazing… for the same price, but that’s altogether another topic.
Talking more about the touch bar, Apple has now integrated the Touch ID inside the strip. It’s placed at the extreme right of the bar and functions quite well and fast too as it seems from the presentation. I can’t say much about the Touch ID because I have never used it but I do find it really interesting. Instant logins and fast, secure online purchases with Apple Pay with the help of Touch ID can make life much easier, or so it seems.
Well, these are just my thoughts and it might be different for others but I can’t judge the new MacBook Pro till I use and if I ever use it because, they are damn costly. $2399 to be precise.
Yes, the base model of the new 15 inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID is $2399. I mean, I could easily build 2 decent desktop PCs and still have extra cash for a laptop. Of course I wouldn’t get the macOS, the bar and the ID but that in no way justifies the price for which it’s being sold. Hell, I can’t even game on it. That being said I’m pretty sure people would buy it because they love Apple products and I’m not here to judge them.
Apart from the Touch Bar and ID, the laptop also has one other interesting feature and it’s none other than the headphone jack. Yes, they weren’t courageous with it. In addition to it, the 15 inch MacBook has 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports that acts as a universal port meaning it can used also as USB-C, Display Port, HDMI, VGA. So, according to Apple, you can charge your MacBook using any of the 4 ports. They also showed that it can connect up to two 5K displays at a time and also charge the MacBook, which I really liked.
That’s all about the new MacBooks and their new ‘revolutionary’ Touch Bar but until I use one I won’t know for sure how revolutionary they are. Apart from these, there’s also a new cheaper 13 inch MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar if you’re not interested in it, which is going to replace the MacBook Air.
You can find all the specifications and pricing at Apple’s website.