Apple’s svelte new MacBook Pro brings a Touch Bar and loads more power

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At its keynote in Cupertino today, Apple unveiled the all-new MacBook Pro.

The latest version of the popular laptop, which has gone more than a year since its last update, is the thinnest and lightest MacBook Pro ever. It’ll be available in three variants: two 13-inch models (one with traditional function keys) and one 15-inch model – all in your choice of Space Grey or Silver.

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The 13-inch model is 14.9mm thick and weighs 3 lbs, which means it’s 17 percent thinner than its predecessor. The 15-inch model is 15.5mm thick and 20 percent less by volume than the last MacBook Pro.

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It also comes with an OLED multitouch-responsive display that runs above and along the length of the keyboard. Dubbed the Touch Bar, it offers contextual buttons and controls to help adjust settings and control running apps.

For example, you can straighten photos in an image editing program by sliding to adjust the angle and scrub through video when you’re watching or editing clips; it also offers suggestions for words while you’re typing, similar to your phone’s software keyboard, as well as recommended folders for sorting your mail with one touch. There’s also a dedicated key to invoke Siri.

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Plus, it has a 2nd-generation Touch ID fingerprint sensor paired with an Apple T1 Chip to let you unlock your Mac and securely use Apple Pay for online transactions when shopping on the Web. For those of you worrying about the lack of function keys, you’ll be glad to know that they’ll appear on the Touch Bar when you hit the Fn button on your keyboard. TouchBar support has been added to Pages, Keynote and even Terminal.

The keyboard features 2nd-generation butterfly switches for better response and greater stability while typing; the Force Touch-equipped trackpad is now twice as large on the 15-inch model.

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Apple says the display on the new MacBook Pro is 67 percent brighter, and offers 67 percent higher contrast and 25 percent more colors than the previous generation – all while remaining as thin as that on a 12-inch MacBook. Plus, the built-in speakers offer 58 percent louder output and twice the audio dynamic range of the last model.

Under the hood of the 15-inch model is an Intel 6th-generation Skylake Core i7 processor with 2,133MHz memory. It’s paired with AMD’s Polaris GPU that offers 4GB VRAM for up to 2.3x faster graphics performance. You’ll also find a Superfast SSD with a capacity of up to 2TB that’s 50% percent faster than the last generation at 3.1 GB/s transfer speeds.

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Overall, Apple claims that the 15-inch MacBook Pro will offer significantly faster performance than the last one: 60 percent for gaming, 130 percent for working with 3D graphics, and 50 percent for video editing.

The 13-inch model offers a choice of dual-core i5 and i7 processors, and an Intel Iris GPU that’s twice as fast as the last model.

As for ports, both models come with four Thunderbolt-powered USB-C ports, which can connect to USB, VGA, DisplayPort and HDMI devices, as well as power sources. The 15-inch model is capable of driving two 5K displays simultaneously.

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Apple notes that both models will offer up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge.

Interestingly, it looks like Apple isn’t updating the MacBook Air, because the new MacBook Pro is thinner and lighter.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro, with two Thunderbolt ports and the traditional function keys, will start at $1,499 and is available from today. The higher-end 13-inch model, with the Touch Bar and four ports, as well as a faster 2.9GHz i5 processor, comes in at $1,799 (with pricier configurations).
 
The 15-inch MacBook Pro will start at $2,399. Both Touch Bar-equipped models will begin shipping in two to three weeks.

Follow our full coverage of Apple’s event here.

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