Apple’s new MacBook Pro drops function keys for OLED Touch Bar

Alex Kidman 28 October 2016 NEWS


Here’s what you need to know about Apple’s new MacBook Pro line, including pricing, specifications and availability.

As expected, Apple used its overnight launch to announce new redesigned MacBook Pro models in 13-inch and 15-inch sizes.

The overall visual design is still very much that of the classic MacBook, albeit a little thinner than previous generations. The big key innovation is the introduction of the "Touch Bar", an OLED application-sensitive strip that sits where the old-school function bar used to reside.

Instead of fixed function keys, the Touch Bar can display application-specific shortcuts or commands related to the application that you’re using at the time. Predictably, Apple’s own in-house applications will be the first to support the Touch Bar, but it’s also open to other developers to make use of. Apple announced a wide range of applications that will offer Touch Bar support, including Microsoft’s Office suite. The keyboard itself has shifted to the butterfly key system used on the newer MacBook models, while the Force Touch trackpad is double in size.


The power button for the new MacBook Pro also acts as a Touch ID sensor, with support for multiple user profiles and which can be used in conjunction with Apple Pay to make purchases. The display is claimed to be 67% brighter than the previous generation MacBook displays and the overall body is thinner as well, casting further doubt about the ongoing status of Apple’s lower-cost MacBook Air models.

While Apple's Phil Schiller noted that the MacBook Air would continue to the be sold for now, it was used as the comparative model against the new 13-inch Pro, and he noted that Apple hoped that MacBook Air owners would gravitate towards the MacBook Pro. Apple has rather quietly dropped the 11-inch MacBook Air model from its range, but the 13-inch MacBook Air is still available for now. The non-Retina display MacBook Pro has also been discontinued, meaning that Apple no longer sells any Mac system with an optical drive if that's important to you.


The 15-inch MacBook Pro model will feature AMD Radeon Pro graphics, while the lower-end 13-inch MacBook Pro model, which will sell in variants that either feature the traditional function keys or the new Touch Bar, uses integrated Intel graphics instead. On the processor front, the 13-inch model starts with the Intel Core i5 processor, while the baseline for the 15-inch MacBook Pro is the Intel Core i7 processor. Storage ranges from 128GB on the entry-level MacBook Pro up to 512GB on the top-end model.

Apple MacBook Pro: Pricing

While they are configurable and pricing will vary a little, the basic model pricing of the new MacBook Pro starts at $2,199 for the entry-level 13-inch model with no Touch Bar. The stepped-up model with the Touch Bar and a faster processor starts at $2,699, while if you want the MacBook Pro 15-inch, pricing starts at $3,599 and can go up to $4,249 for a model with all the trimmings.


In terms of availability, only the new entry-level model is available to buy and have today, with shipping times for the new Touch Bar models said to be from two to three weeks.

Apple MacBook Pro: Specifications

Model MacBook Pro 13-inch MacBook Pro 13-inch MacBook Pro 15-inch
Display 13" 13" 15"
Resolution 2560x1600 2560x1600 2880x1800
Pixels per inch 227ppi 227ppi 220ppi
Weight 1.37kg 1.37kg 1.83kg
Processor 2.0GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 or 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
Memory 8GB 8GB 16GB
GPU Intel Iris Graphics 540 Intel Iris Graphics 550 Radeon Pro 450
Storage 256GB 256-512GB 256-512GB
Touch Bar No Yes Yes
Battery 54.5-watt-hour lithium-polymer 49.2-watt-hour lithium-polymer 76.0-watt-hour lithium-polymer
Software MacOS Sierra MacOS Sierra MacOS Sierra
Price $2,199 $2,699-$2,999 $3,599-$4,249

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