New Apple MacBook Pro: a laptop to save all laptops?

apple macbook pro 2016

Let’s get real for a moment: laptops aren’t the sleek and sexy devices they once used to be. In the early 2000s, it was hard to be cool if you didn’t own one, and even less so if it wasn’t an Apple product. With global laptop and PC sales on the slide, the new Apple MacBook Pro is Cupertino’s latest effort to stem the tide.

So, what has it brought to the fight this time?

Read more: Apple’s new TV app is called ‘TV’ because some things never change

If you missed Tim Cook and company’s latest announcements tonight, here are some of the key takeaways from the Apple MacBook Pro relaunch.

‘It’s the best MacBook we’ve ever made’

Well, obviously.

And there are actually two models — a 13- and 15-incher. These will replace the MacBook Air as well (largely because Apple’s machines can’t get much thinner or lighter at present).

The smaller of the two is just 14.9mm thin, and is about 23% more compact than the outgoing smaller MacBook Pro. The 15-inch version is slightly bulkier but is also a fairly thin 15.5mm. The laptops also now weigh about 1.3 to 1.8kg respectively.

Apple’s new thinner, lighter MacBook Pro means the death of the MacBook Air

Beyond the physical build, Apple also made advancements with the keyboard and touch pad. The latter is now Force Touch enabled, which means that Apple’s killing physical clicks.

That’s not the only thing the company’s killing though.

RIP function keys, hello Touch Bar

Standing by its naming department’s simple ideas, the Touch Bar is Apple’s modern implementation of the function keys (those keys marked F1 to F12 on a traditional laptop). It’s a Retina-class OLED touch screen that sits just above the physical keyboard, that adjusts to the users’ currently running apps.

This includes image editing tools in Photoshop, or a web address bar and commands in Safari. The bar will also house common system commands, including a dedicated Siri button and TouchID support. The latter will allow users to purchase products online using Apple Pay. Additionally, the TouchID button can also log various users into the system seamlessly.

Intel and AMD reprise roles

Internally, you’ll find Intel’s sixth-generation Core i5 or Core i7 CPUs, with up to 2TB of flash storage, and 4GB of RAM. There’s also AMD Radeon Pro graphics processor, as well as Apple’s new T1 chip to manage all the touch wizardry in the system.

As for the screen, Apple’s bumping resolution up to 2560×1600 — which means around 227 pixels per inch.

There’s also no headphone jack (edit: nope, Apple has actually included one, tucked alongside the top end of the laptop), but there are four USB Type-C ports, allowing for charging, audio delivery and even display out. Nifty.

MacBook Pro prices start at US$1499, and that doesn’t even get you the Touch Bar

There’s nothing revolutionary here, and a good few systems will boast better specs than the MacBook Pro. but what about the price?

At US$1499 for the cheapest model, it’s a massive premium, but Apple is investing in its new technology. But that price doesn’t even include the Touch Bar model. For US$1749, you’ll get a Touch Bar model with a 13-inch screen. That price balloons to US$2349 for a slightly larger screened laptop with all the bells and whistles.

The only thing left to say then, is ouch.

Andy Walker
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