First look: Apple's new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited October 2016
As expected, Apple refreshed its MacBook Pro lineup on Thursday with thinner designs, beefier components and the hotly anticipated multitouch Touch Bar. AppleInsider covered the event live and was able to go hands-on with Apple's latest hardware after the keynote.




This year's 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro revamps are a respective 17 percent and 14 percent thinner than their predecessors, a significant change easily apparent when picking up the device. Further, with 23 percent and 20 percent less volume, respectively, the two new MacBook Pro iterations feel substantially lighter in the hand.

The real star of the show, however, is on the inside. Sitting at the top of a wide-button keyboard with second-generation butterfly mechanisms is the Touch Bar, a configurable and adaptable multitouch Retina-class sub-display that offers unparalleled control over system and app functions. The long, rigid display strip runs nearly the entire length of MacBook's keyboard, save for the small, depressible Touch ID power button just above the delete key.





In our short time with the Touch Bar, we came away impressed with the component's ability to surface features and functions that might otherwise be lost in menus or tool palettes. As demonstrated onstage today, the Touch Bar also frees up screen real estate, allowing users to go fullscreen without obscuring their work.

Being integrated directly above the keyboard makes it natural to "chord" Force Touch trackpad selections and TouchBar controls while working in a full screen interface. Contextual content makes the experience all the more engrossing, actually adding to MacBook's usability rather than distracting from it. Users are able to customize toolbars to a certain extent in Apple's system controls and first-party apps, though more robust options are expected to debut once third-party developers begin rolling out updates supporting the new hardware.




Overall, we found Apple's Touch Bar solution much more intuitive than a full-fledged touchscreen display. It's easier to rest your hands on the trackpad and Touch Bar than constantly reaching up to interact with a screen interface.




Apple also showed off the Pro's raw computing power, touting the first single-cable solution for 5K displays. The 13-inch model supports one 5K display, while the 15-inch version can drive two ultra high-resolution monitors simultaneously.

Performance feels snappy, as is usually the case with new hardware, but we were particularly impressed with MacBook Pro's ability to crunch through high-resolution video content. The process is made more intuitive with Touch Bar, which in Final Cut puts a scrubbing bar, visual controls, editing tools and more at your fingertips.

With fast processors, speedy storage and an ample amount of RAM, the new MacBook Pro models are Apple's fastest laptops ever. Combine that with the Touch Bar and extra large Force Touch trackpad, and we believe the MacBook Pro package, in both 13- and 15-inch iterations, represents a long awaited return to form for Apple's Mac division.

Stay tuned to AppleInsider's Mac Price Guide over the next few weeks, where we'll be offering exclusive discounts on Apple's new MacBook Pros.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 67
    Nice but where is my new Mac Pro?
    alphafoxaylktallest skilewtheckman
  • Reply 2 of 67
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    Overall, we found Apple's Touch Bar solution much more intuitive than a full-fledged touchscreen display. 
    The first web page visible during the demo said "SURFACE".
    Intentional dig at Microsoft's new Big Ass Table mini?
  • Reply 3 of 67
    Apple’s New MacBook Pro is the most amazing notebook... that I’m not going to buy. Still maxes out at 16GB.

    https://medium.com/@michaellong/apples-new-macbook-pro-is-the-most-amazing-notebook-i-m-not-going-to-buy-753fbcfb2738#.yzjsakvz4
    aylk
  • Reply 4 of 67
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    Nice but where is my new Mac Pro?
    And where is my new 21.5" iMac?

    If Apple is fully committed to Touch Bar on all Macs, they'll need to redesign the Magic Keyboard.
    There is a chance that re-engineering the presumed Magic Keyboard with Touch Bar might cause a delay.
    But really, Apple.  Ship us some new desktops.
    edited October 2016 SpamSandwichragus1975alphafoxtallest skilewtheckman
  • Reply 5 of 67
    Golfersal@gmail.com[email protected] Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    I've got two questions about this new MacBook Pro.
     Will my Dell monitor work with it?
    And how my supposed to use my external keyboard, I won't be able to use the touchscreen. 
    aylk
  • Reply 6 of 67
    "Overall, we found Apple's Touch Bar solution much more intuitive than a full-fledged touchscreen display. It's easier to rest your hands on the trackpad and Touch Bar than constantly reaching up to interact with a screen interface. "

    Exactly what I've been saying all along. Don't want fingerprints on my screen, nor do I want to have to remove my hands from the keyboard in order to touch something.
    kodakmomentalphafoxroundaboutnowgilly33lolliverflashfan207bkkcanuckmark dodel
  • Reply 7 of 67
    I love the touch bar. The demos really highlighted its potential. What's more important to me though is when it will be released as a stand-alone product. It needs to be because you cant have a next-gen iMac without it. I for one will be buying a stand-alone one as soon as its released. Assuming it isn't somehow locked down to new models only—I have a sneaky suspicion it will be.
  • Reply 8 of 67
    sockrolid said:

    Nice but where is my new Mac Pro?
    And where is my new 21.5" iMac?

    If Apple is fully committed to Touch Bar on all Macs, they'll need to redesign the Magic Keyboard.
    There is a chance that re-engineering the presumed Magic Keyboard with Touch Bar might cause a delay.
    But really, Apple.  Ship us some new desktops.
    The 21.5" iMac is on Broadwell. Skylake's barely become available for it and Kaby Lake is a year away. Stop asking for a stupid update.

    And the 27" is already on Skylake.
    edited October 2016 jcdinkinshmmDeelronmacplusplusnolamacguylolliver
  • Reply 9 of 67
    geekmeegeekmee Posts: 328member
    Apple appears to introduce features on one device before adding it to all devices, which makes sense from a Support perspective.
    lolliver
  • Reply 10 of 67
    geekmeegeekmee Posts: 328member
    The Magic Toolbar is proof, in my opinion, that Microsoft is still skating to where the puck was!
    pulseimagesmacplusplusai46lolliverwatto_cobraceek74mark dodel
  • Reply 11 of 67
    I've got two questions about this new MacBook Pro.
     Will my Dell monitor work with it?
    And how my supposed to use my external keyboard, I won't be able to use the touchscreen. 
    I think USB C hubs/docks are going to become very popular. One benefit to usb charging is the usb battery packs may be an option with the right amps and capacity for traveling.
    lolliver
  • Reply 12 of 67
    JinTechJinTech Posts: 376member
    hmlongco said:
    Apple’s New MacBook Pro is the most amazing notebook... that I’m not going to buy. Still maxes out at 16GB.

    https://medium.com/@michaellong/apples-new-macbook-pro-is-the-most-amazing-notebook-i-m-not-going-to-buy-753fbcfb2738#.yzjsakvz4
    Yeah what's up with that? The high end should have 32GB standard!
  • Reply 13 of 67
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,660member
    sockrolid said:

    Nice but where is my new Mac Pro?
    And where is my new 21.5" iMac?

    If Apple is fully committed to Touch Bar on all Macs, they'll need to redesign the Magic Keyboard.
    There is a chance that re-engineering the presumed Magic Keyboard with Touch Bar might cause a delay.
    But really, Apple.  Ship us some new desktops.
    Obviously they not.  The showed two 13" MacBook Pros today -- one with and one without.   The main difference seemed to be price
    ai46
  • Reply 14 of 67
    sflagelsflagel Posts: 591member
    Can anyone explain to me why the Touchbar is not twice the size, at least? 
  • Reply 15 of 67
    So while watching the demos the Touch Bar looked awkward to use. Couldn't help but think that maybe it should be between the keyboard and trackpad. 
  • Reply 16 of 67
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,660member
    "Overall, we found Apple's Touch Bar solution much more intuitive than a full-fledged touchscreen display. It's easier to rest your hands on the trackpad and Touch Bar than constantly reaching up to interact with a screen interface. "

    Exactly what I've been saying all along. Don't want fingerprints on my screen, nor do I want to have to remove my hands from the keyboard in order to touch something.
    Yes, and I've been saying something similar as well...

    Those who use a laptops generally don't want to have to reach up to touch a screen.   But I think Apple design and thoughtfulness once again shown through like a jewel...  The TouchBar looks to make a truly great middle ground between a keyboard/mouse based laptop and a touch screen based IPad.   It bridges that middle ground that neither was good at.

    But now:   I wonder why they made the touch pad SO   B I G ?
    ...  Could that be setting up their next iteration where the multi-touch of the touch screen is moved down to the keyboad area?
    ...........That would, except for weight and thickness, fully and completely provide the best of both worlds:   the convenience and efficiency of a laptop with the flexibility of a touch screen IPad. 
    lolliver
  • Reply 17 of 67
    am8449am8449 Posts: 343member
    Going forward, one way Apple could add Touch Bar capabilities to the iMac is by creating an iPhone app that mimics its functionality. You would put an iPhone next to your keyboard, it would be connected via Bluetooth, and boom, you've got a Touch Bar for your iMac.
    ai46lolliverlogic2.6badmonk
  • Reply 18 of 67
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    JinTech said:
    hmlongco said:
    Apple’s New MacBook Pro is the most amazing notebook... that I’m not going to buy. Still maxes out at 16GB.

    https://medium.com/@michaellong/apples-new-macbook-pro-is-the-most-amazing-notebook-i-m-not-going-to-buy-753fbcfb2738#.yzjsakvz4
    Yeah what's up with that? The high end should have 32GB standard!
    Nothing comes with 32 standard. It's an option on more Windows laptops. The most popular reason seems to be VMs. Overall it's about what I expected apart from the price hike. I didn't think they would design a 15" model around a $2400 starting price point.
  • Reply 19 of 67
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,660member
    Apple made it clear that the pro line was mostly targeted at the Pro consumer.

    ... They left it as an open question where they will go with their MacBook and MacBook Air.
    ..........I'm thinking the MacBook Air just got replaced by the non-TouchBar version of the MacBook Pro.
  • Reply 20 of 67
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,660member
    JBSlough said:
    So while watching the demos the Touch Bar looked awkward to use. Couldn't help but think that maybe it should be between the keyboard and trackpad. 
    That makes too much sense -- so I suspect that they thought of that.   It might be difficulty distinguishing between a palm press and a finger.
    lolliver
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