Apple’s New Products: Same Same But Different

Apple has come out in force with three new MacBook Pros. Have a look at all the updates you can expect from these here.
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Published: Friday, October 28th 2016
General
Apple has FINALLY updated its MacBook Pro range, after what feels like an eternity. At an event at the company’s Cupertino headquarters, Tim Cook & Co. took the wraps off the 2016 MacBooks.

Three New MacBook Pros

This year sees three new devices, all of them MacBook Pro:
  1. An entry level 13-inch MacBook Pro with a mechanical keyboard
  2. A 13-inch MacBook Pro with the new Touch Bar
  3. The new 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.
“This week marks the 25th anniversary of Apple’s first notebook. Through the years, each generation has introduced new innovations and capabilities. It’s fitting that this all-new generation of MacBook Pro is the biggest leap forward yet,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “With the groundbreaking new Touch Bar, the convenience of Touch ID, the best Mac display ever, powerful performance, improved audio, blazing fast storage and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity in our thinnest and lightest pro notebook yet. The new MacBook Pro is the most advanced notebook ever made.”

The MacBook Pro Updates

Here are the biggest changes that Apple has made to the new laptops:

Touch ID Comes to Mac

Integrated into the power button is Touch ID. This is something that you’ll be used to if you’re using one of Apple’s more recent iPhones or iPads. Once you enroll your fingerprint in Touch ID on your MacBook Pro, you can unlock your Mac, switch user accounts and make secure purchases with Apple Pay on the web with a single touch. Touch ID enables a quick, accurate reading of your fingerprint and uses sophisticated algorithms to recognise and match it with the Secure Enclave in the new Apple T1 chip.

Size And Build Quality

The new MacBook Pro features a new enclosure design and all-metal unibody construction. Coming in at just 14.9 mm thin, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is 17 percent thinner and has 23 percent less volume than the previous generation. It is also approximately 220g lighter at just 1.3kg. The new 15-inch MacBook Pro, at just 15.5 mm thin, is 14 percent thinner and has 20 percent less volume than before. It weighs approximately 1.8kg, which is nearly 220g lighter.

Ports

The 12-inch MacBook, first introduced in 2015, saw Apple’s first piece of hardware with a USB type C port. After the company decided to drop the 3.5mm headphone jack from the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, there were some concerns that the same would be done on the new MacBook Pros. Thankfully, the 3.5mm headphone jack is alive and well on the new laptops. Apple has also opted to include up to four Thunderbolt 3 ports, which are USB C compatible. That’s it. No lightning ports. Which means that you won’t be able to plug your lightning EarPods into the new MacBook Pros. You will, however, be able to charge your new MacBook Pro using any one of the four ports (the MagSafe charger is also no more).

Touch Bar

The biggest change on the 2016 MacBook Pros is not the design or the impressive new Retina displays, it’s Apple’s new Touch Bar. Touch Bar is a Retina touch strip, like the touchscreen on your phone, which can change functionality depending on the program or app that you’re currently using. It sits above the number keys on the new MacBook Pros and replaces the Function keys. According to Apple, the Touch Bar can be used in Mail, Finder, Calendar, Numbers, GarageBand, Final Cut Pro X, and many more - including third-party apps. Many people have complained that Apple has not embraced touchscreen laptops. Unlike their Microsoft counterparts, clearly Touch Bar is meant to be Apple’s approach to bring touch interaction to their laptops.
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What Wasn’t Mentioned

There are many people who don’t use a MacBook Pro. This is either because of cost, or because they don’t need something with all that processing power. They choose, instead, to get a MacBook Air. The only mention of Apple’s lower cost, ultra portable laptop was when the entry level 2016 13-inch MacBook Pro was compared to it. It certainly seems as if Apple is getting ready to kill off the Air range of MacBooks and either persuade you to get a 12-inch MacBook or one of the new 13-inch MacBook Pro’s. The alternative is to make the iPad Pro more powerful and more useful and have that as a more creative alternative to the MacBook Air. Apple also did not mention any updates to its desktop computer, the iMac. Instead, they made mention of LG's new 5K display which they say was “made for Apple”. Apple has apparently worked closely with the South Koran company to create the new USB C powered display as the best external monitor for your new MacBook Pro. Is Apple betting on an all-mobile computing future or will they introduce a new iMac at a later stage? No-one knows at this point but it’s clear that if you want a new high-end desktop, Microsoft’s Surface Studio might be the way to go. That is, if you can put up with Windows 10.