Apple has just announced its latest generation of Macbook laptops. In the week that marks the 25th anniversary of the company’s first notebook, Apple is trying to redefine the modern notebook again with the introduction of a new “Touch Bar” secondary display above the keyboard.
The new Macbook features an all new design and redesigned components. The aluminum body is metal on all sides. It comes in 13-inch and 15-inch models in silver and space gray.
Both versions are thinner and a half pound lighter than their previous generation counterparts. The 13-inch is 23% smaller in volume and weighs just 3 pounds. The 15-inch is 20% smaller and weighs 4 pounds.
The Force Touch trackpad is 2 times as big as the previous trackpad, giving you a lot more room for navigating and for gestures.
Where function keys used to exist is now the main new feature of this new Macbook line: it’s called the “Touch Bar,” and it’s a touch-sensitive secondary Retina display. Touch Bar is application specific, so it puts various tools at your fingertips as you navigate between various apps.
If you need the standard system function keys, simply hold the Fn button and you’ll see the keys show up as buttons in the Touch Bar.
While using the Photos app, you can view a photo in full screen on your main display while navigation is put at your fingertips through the Touch Bar. Swipe through photos, play videos, and drag through videos directly from the Touch Bar. Edits and adjustments can be made to photos just by touching and dragging various controls and sliders in the Touch Bar.
In Photoshop, the Touch Bar combines with the keyboard and trackpad to create a natural way to edit photographs. The Touch Bar changes to show just the controls you need for each tool and task.
Resizing tool sizes is as easy as dragging a slider across the Touch Bar. In addition to multi-key keyboard shortcuts, the Touch Bar puts things behind single buttons available at your fingertips.
The Touch Bar also means you can select colors with your left hand while painting those colors onto a photo with your right hand on the trackpad.
Adobe says it hopes to have Touch Bar compatibility available to Photoshop users by the end of the year.
In Final Cut Pro, the Touch Bar shows entire timeline that’s fully interactive. Drag to move through your project. Tap to jump to a specific section. Pinch to zoom in to get a closer look.
For more customization, there’s a menu for customizing your Touch Bar so that it displays just the tools you need. Drag the buttons down past the bottom of your main display to see it pop up in the Touch Bar.
The display of the new Macbook is the “best display ever,” Apple says. It’s 67% brighter, has a 67% higher contrast ratio, and displays 25% more colors. And it consumes less power.
Other features in the new Macbooks include Touch ID for logging in and switching users with fingerprints, a dedicated Siri key, a superfast SSD, a revamped cooling system for quieter operation, new speakers that are smaller yet louder, Intel i5/i7 dual core processors, Intel Iris graphics, 4 versatile Thunderbolt 3 ports, and 10 hour battery life.
Here’s a breakdown of the specs and pricing of the new Macbook Pro lineup, which features both Touch Bar and non-Touch Bar models now:
The new Macbook Pro laptops go on sale and start shipping today.