Apple’s got a new MacBook Pro.
That in and of itself isn’t really big news. Almost every year their iconic notebook computer gets a speed boost, minor cosmetic changes, and a nip and tuck here and there.
But this year, Apple is making BIG, newsworthy changes.
There’s plenty to rave about, but before you scream, “take my money”, here’s what’s new, what’s changed, and how these changes will affect you.
The Apple logo glows no more
From now till I upgrade, I’m going to use my now obsolete MacBook Pro facing a mirror; that way I can occasionally glance at the glowing Apple on the back of my machine. I recognize that all these years, I’ve hardly ever looked at it, and it has no effect whatsoever on productivity, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be the only one who’ll be sad to see the glowing Apple go.
The new MacBook Pros that ship in two weeks will have a shiny black Apple logo on their lids instead of the iconic illuminated one.
There are more significant design changes too. These new MacBook Pros are not just thinner and lighter, but smaller as well. The screen sizes stay the same – 13 and 15 inches – but take up 20% less space.
They’re still formed from a single slab of aluminum, but now come in two colors: the original silver and space gray.
Despite the reduction in size, these new portable Macs are still as powerful as ever, with the latest Intel processors and graphics improvements. Apple says the new MacBook Pros have a Retina display that is 67% brighter, speakers that are 52% louder, and a trackpad that is twice the size of the original.
You’ll either love or hate the new keyboard
To get everything thinner, sacrifices must be made. One way Apple saves space is with a new keyboard, similar to the one found on the impossibly thin MacBook. This second-generation “butterfly switch” keyboard isn’t going to be as clickety as that on the older MacBook Pro – which arguably has the best keyboard experience on a laptop in the world.
Expect this new keyboard to be a bit polarizing. You’ll either love it or hate it. But like all things Apple, we’ll get used to it, maybe even love it.
There’s a new game-changing touch bar
Nope, the Mac is still not getting a touchscreen. Instead, depending on how you see it, Apple gives you the next best thing, or something even better.
The Touch Bar is a multi-touch OLED glass strip on top of the new MacBook Pro’s keyboard. It works just like any touchscreen; you can tap and slide your fingers on the color display just as you would on your smartphone.
The Touch Bar works with open apps, providing you with a set of tools and new ways to do things. For example: If you’re chatting with friends, you can use the Touch Bar to find the perfect emoji. If you’re editing a photo, you can use the Touch Bar to preview and swipe through filters. And if you’re watching a video, the playback controls on the Touch Bar let you play, pause, and scrub through the video.
You will only be able to make the most out of the Touch Bar when your favorite apps support the new feature. But apps like Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, and Microsoft Office have already been updated to work with it.
To make room for it, Apple is taking away the top-most row of your keyboard where the function keys, escape, and power buttons used to be. Those buttons are still available as touch buttons.
Just like on the iPhone, you can now log in to your MacBook Pro using your fingerprint. Located on the right-most edge of the Touch Bar, Touch ID on the new Mac laptops lets you power on and sign into your device with a quick tap. You can also use your fingerprint to authenticate website logins or online payments.
The headphone jack survived the cut, but other ports weren’t as lucky
No other tech company is a fan of killing off ports more than Apple.
Not too long ago, they decided to take away the headphone jack from iPhones, and we were almost certain the MacBook Pro would lose it too.
Thankfully, the new MacBook Pros got to keep their headphone jack.
Sadly though, everything else has been removed. There are no standard-sized USB ports, no SD card reader, and not even the MagSafe adapter that saves your laptop from falls when someone trips on your power brick.
Instead, users get four Thunderbolt 3 ports. They’re USB Type-C-shaped and support USB, HDMI, VGA, and even power, meaning you can charge using any of the four ports.
Some day in the not-too-distant future, you won’t even miss any of these ports, but in the interim, the transition will be painful and expensive. For now, you’ll need new flash drives, new cables, and new adapters to get your other accessories to work with your new Mac.
The new features cost more $$$ than usual
Normally when Apple refreshes its MacBook Pro line, Apple retains the previous year’s pricing – if not dropping them altogether. This year’s 13-inch and 15-inch base models are $500 and $400 more expensive compared to previous models, respectively.
While there are many possible build combinations. Apple is selling 3 main models – a 13-inch MacBook Pro without the new Touch Bar which starts at $1499; a 13-inch MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar starting at $1799; and a 15-inch MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar starting at $2399.
Apart from all the new improvements, the new base models now have twice the amount of storage space (256GB solid state drives up from 128GB from a year ago), so that could also be a reason behind the price increase.