Apple Inc. unveiled Tuesday its new laptops, including the latest MacBook Pro with an interactive, OLED touchscreen called Touch Bar. The innovative display offers software-specific commands and shortcuts based on the tasks the user is performing.
The new touchscreen even allows users to take calls. A fingerprint scanner placed next to the Touch Bar lets users switch between user accounts and authenticate payments quickly. Three years after the last updates to its MacBook Pro laptops, Apple is selling the 13-inch model at $1,799 and the 15-inch version starts at $2,399.
Both models will ship in the next three weeks. Rhoda Alexander from the tech consultancy IHS Markit told the BBC that the Touch Bar is similar to a mini tablet built into the keyboard to let users easily move between the keys as they enjoy the touch interface. It is a convenient, smart tool that can be used across a variety of applications.
The company said the new MacBook Pro laptops’ designs are thinner and lighter. They also feature bigger trackpads than the previous models. The devices have new processors designed to improve handling of 3D graphics, and both versions feature Thunderbolt 3 ports so users can plug USB-C cables into them. But those willing to use separate power, HDMI, SD card or USB 3 ports will have to get adapters.
The company also presented a new TV app supported by Apple TV, iPhone and iPad so Apple lovers can easily tune into programs across their gadgets. Twitter Inc. will be integrated into live sports games on Apple’s TV platform.
Launched a year ago, the TV app includes 8,000 apps and pre-recorded programs and movies. It is available for free or purchase on Apple’s iTunes store and third-party services. The app will make it easier for users to be always informed of content they are already viewing, and the company’s team of curators will give recommendations of new shows.
Touch Bar’s applications
The multitouch, high-definition strip is designed to adapt dynamically. It can preview the open tabs while browsing the web on Safari and users can quickly scroll through their saved favorite websites before opening them with a single tap. The Touch Bar can also give shortcuts for each day or week when the user is checking Calendar, and it also works as a common set of function keys.
It is also possible to adjust volume and screen brightness by using the multitouch bar. While typing, it suggests words similarly to the on-screen keyboard on the iPad and iPhone and an emoji will pop up if the word corresponds to it. The feature makes it easy to scroll through emoji and use them in an iMessage or Mail message.
The Touch Bar allows users to select certain contacts on the Mail app quickly and then add them to a message. Owners also have the possibility to use typical commands for sending a new e-mail, trashing, and replying.
As for videos, the state-of-the-art touchscreen lets users rewind and fast forward without the need for those controls to appear onscreen. People can zoom through frames when editing videos in Final Cut Pro. Additionally, the Touch Bar also comes in handy when editing photos, as it allows owners to scroll through filters, rotate the image, and quickly move through the camera rolls among other functionalities.
It is also easy to do a little mixing on music making apps such as Djay. Of course, the Touch Bar will have the best performance on Apple’s own apps, but its functionality on third-party apps will only be possible as they lend their support.
Apple’s move comes after consumers lost interest in the Mac line
The number of the Mac line laptops sold in the just-finished fiscal year went down by 10 percent to 18.5 million and these products accounted for about 11 percent of Apple sales. Roberta Cozza, a researcher at the tech consultancy Gartner, explained to the BBC that the lack of updates and a stronger competition contributed to the decrease.
While Apple has mainly focused on the iPhone and the iPad as a better productive device, many consumers want “PC-grade performance” and therefore need this Mac innovative update, Cozza said.
He added that business and computers have been more interested in Windows 10 computers mainly due to its new operating systems, improved designs and better pricing from manufacturers, according to the BBC.