Here’s What to Know About Apple’s New Macs

As expected, Apple on Thursday moved the spotlight to its Mac.

First up was the new MacBook Pro. Following earlier rumors, the computer has an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) touchbar above the keyboard, allowing users to choose emoji, see additional information from the app they’re in, and more. The computer also comes with an all-aluminum design in the customer’s choice of silver or space grey. Apple says its screen size measures 13 inches or 15 inches, depending on the model.

Perhaps most importantly to those who travel often, the new computer is the thinnest MacBook Pro Apple has ever released. The 15-inch MacBook Pro, for instance, is 14% thinner than the previous model and weighs four pounds.

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But it’s the group of features inside that matters most in the MacBook Pro.

The device comes with a trackpad that can deliver different functions depending on the pressure users employ when clicking. Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller then turned the attention to the Touch Bar, the touch-enabled strip above the keys that replaces the old-style function keys. It has a retina display and supports multitouch.

From the Touch Bar, users can choose system functions or provide different tools based on the app users are in. With Safari, for example, the Touch Bar can help users quickly open a tab. Touch Bar can also be customized so “power users” can modify its functionality in different contexts.

During the event, Apple also brought on major third-party app makers to showcase how they’re using Touch Bar. Touch Bar will work with Adobe’s Photoshop and Microsoft Office. The feature will also work with third-party apps from smaller developers.

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As expected, Apple also announced a new Touch ID to the right of the Touch Bar. The feature means users can log into the MacBook Pro with their fingerprint. The feature also supports Apple Pay, allowing users to make purchases online with their finger. And in case a MacBook Pro comes with multiple user accounts, someone who isn’t logged in can place their finger on the sensor and automatically switch to their account.

Next up, Apple executives elaborated about MacBook Pro’s display, describing it as the “best Mac display ever.” The screen is 67% brighter than the previous model and can deliver 25% more colors.

On the inside, the computer comes with a quad-core Intel Core i7 chip (INTC) on the 15-inch model and supports the AMD Radeon Pro graphics chip (AMD), up to two terabytes in solid-state drive space, and a new speaker design that Apple says will deliver more volume. The 13-inch model comes with an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor and Iris graphics instead of the AMD alternative in the 15-inch version.

Both the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros have four Thunderbolt 3 ports. Any of the ports can be a charging port and can also work with USB devices, displays, and external drives, among other accessories.

The new MacBook Pro comes with up to 10 hours of battery life.

Meanwhile, Apple has eliminated the 11-inch MacBook Air but will continue to offer the 13-inch version. Apple is also offering a 13-inch MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar. And although the MacBook Air was initially designed to be Apple’s thinnest Mac, the MacBook Pro is smaller and thinner.

Apple’s MacBook Pro line comes with several standard configurations across the 13- and 15-inch models. The 13-inch without the Touch Bar will start at $1,499. The 13- and 15-inch Touch Bar enabled MacBook Pros will set customers back $1,799 and $2,399, respectively. Customers can pre-order the machines on Thursday, but unlike the standard model that will ship today, the Touch Bar MacBook Pros will start shipping in mid-November.


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