Apple Updates MacBook Pros With New Touch Controls, Slim Design

Apple Updates MacBook Pros With New Touch Controls, Slim Design
The Touch Bar Gives Users More Control Over Apps
Touch ID Comes to the MacBook Pro
Both New Models Deliver Impressive Performance
The Battery Life Is Fine
Apple Relies on Thunderbolt 3 Ports
Apple Touts Its Best Display
Apple Talks About Portability
The Speaker Is Redesigned in the New Models
There's a Model Without the Touch Bar
MacBook Pro Prices Remain Higher Than the Average Notebook
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Apple Updates MacBook Pros With New Touch Controls, Slim Design

We examine key features in Apple's new MacBook Pro and why the Touch Bar version of the MacBook will prove popular with buyers when Apple releases the machines in mid-November.

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The Touch Bar Gives Users More Control Over Apps

The MacBook Pro comes with a Touch Bar that's positioned just above the keyboard. The Touch Bar is a multitouch strip of glass that provides contextual information on what users are doing in software. It can also be used to send commands to an application and works with both first- and third-party programs.

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Touch ID Comes to the MacBook Pro

To the right of the Touch Bar is Apple's Touch ID sensor. With the feature, users will be able to log in to the Mac without needing to input a passcode. The sensor also can be used by another user to switch to his or her personal account. Most important to Apple, the Touch ID integration delivers the ability to make purchases with Apple Pay. The MacBook Pro is the first Mac to come with Touch ID support.

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Both New Models Deliver Impressive Performance

The 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro models come in several configurations out of the box, and they're all powerful. The 13-inch Touch Bar version, for instance, starts out with a 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor and Intel Iris graphics. It can be configured with a better processor and graphics. The same holds true on the 15-inch version, but that model starts with a 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 chip and an AMD Radeon Pro 450 GPU. Apple says its MacBook Pro can deliver up to 130 percent faster graphics than the previous model.

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The Battery Life Is Fine

Apple's MacBook Pro won't win battery awards, but it should get the job done. According to Apple, both the 13- and 15-inch versions will deliver up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge, which puts it in the middle of the pack in the notebook market. The MacBook Pro has eliminated the MagSafe adapter in favor of Thunderbolt ports.

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Apple Relies on Thunderbolt 3 Ports

Speaking of ports, depending on the version customers choose, they'll get a MacBook Pro with either two or four Thunderbolt 3 ports. Beyond that, Apple is only offering a headphone jack in the new MacBook Pro models. Apple tried to justify the move, saying that Thunderbolt 3 is compatible with USB Type-C devices, as well as DisplayPort, HDMI and others. Any of the ports can be used to charge the MacBook Pro, transfer data to it and hook up monitors.

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Apple Touts Its Best Display

The MacBook Pro comes with what Apple says is its best display yet. The MacBook Pro's screen has 500 nits of brightness and can display 25 percent more colors than the previous Retina Display model. It also has a 67 percent higher contrast ratio. That all translates to a brighter and more colorful display than users would otherwise find in Apple's Mac lineup.

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Apple Talks About Portability

The MacBook Pro is one of the more portable notebooks the company has ever released. The 13-inch model measures just 14.9mm at its thinnest point and weighs 3 pounds. The 15-inch model also has a thin design that's just 15.5mm at its thinnest point. It weighs 4 pounds. In total, the MacBook Pro is up to 17 percent thinner than the previous model.

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The Speaker Is Redesigned in the New Models

Since the MacBook Pro is smaller than its predecessor, Apple was forced to revamp its speaker design. However, Apple noted that the smaller speakers still deliver up to 58 percent more volume than the last-generation MacBook Pro. The speakers also come with twice the dynamic range and up to 2.5 times the bass offered in the previous model.

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There's a Model Without the Touch Bar

Although the Touch Bar is a big new feature in the MacBook Pro, Apple is offering a 13-inch version that doesn't come with its multitouch bar. That model, like its predecessors, comes with standard function keys in place of the Touch Bar. Apple made it clear at its press event that while the 13-inch MacBook Air will remain on store shelves, the Touch Bar-less MacBook Pro is the device customers should buy if they don't want the new touch-screen features.

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MacBook Pro Prices Remain Higher Than the Average Notebook

Those who are more interested in getting the cheapest MacBook Pro than about getting the Touch Bar can buy one of the new models for $1,499. Customers who want the 13-inch MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar will find its pricing starts at $1,799 and quickly jumps from there based on configuration. On the 15-inch side, the MacBook Pro starts at $2,399. Both the 13- and 15-inch Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pros are scheduled to ship in two to three weeks, but are available now for preorder.

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