Check out Apple’s touchy new OLED bar mounted in the new MacBook Pro laptops

During Apple’s press conference on Thursday, the company revealed the new long-rumored 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models sporting sleek, thin form factors. As we have seen in rumors over the last several months, these laptops feature an embedded OLED touch-capable bar residing above the keyboard. This bar focuses on keeping the user’s hands on the keyboard, providing shortcuts and other tools for creating and manipulating media and information in many MacOS applications.

While we do not have the dimensions of Apple’s Touch Bar feature just yet, it expands from one end of the keyboard to the other. The right side has a touch-based power button that includes a fingerprint sensor, equipping the new MacBooks with Apple’s Touch ID security service. This sensor is backed by Apple’s new T1 chip.

So what can you do with Apple’s new Touch Bar? In one demonstration, the company revealed how MacBook owners could quickly compose a document or email, providing simple touch-based controls like making text bold, changing the font color, and more. Essentially, users can manage documents and emails using the huge trackpad with one hand, and alter specific details using the other hand on the Touch Bar. Users can even send an email by merely pressing the command icon on the new OLED strip.

In Messages, customers can quickly browse through a library of emoji to choose the appropriate response, or pull up the most-used emoji thus far. There are even means to provide a quick response if users currently have no time to write a complete message, such as loading up a thumbs-up icon and more. Again, there is seemingly no mouse movement involved — both hands are glued to the keyboard area, eliminating the need for an added peripheral.

In Safari, Apple’s web browser provides quick navigation features for the Touch Bar. For instance, it will display thumbnails of all the open tabs that web surfers can scroll through and select. There is also a “plus” button for opening a new tab and means for loading the user’s favorite sites in one horizontal listing. Apple Pay customers can also make secure purchases online through Safari by placing their finger on the Touch ID button.

Video and photo manipulation on the new MacBook Pros got easier too. Thanks to the Touch Bar, users can play video forward and backward with the slide of a finger across the narrow OLED strip. Images can be fully rotated and quickly leveled with a simple touch, while the lighting can be adjusted, effects and filters can be applied, and so on. There is even a virtual button to see the before and after states of the edited image.

Next, in Finder, the Touch Bar enables users to easily tag files. This app provides Touch Bar customization too, allowing users to drag specific virtual buttons on the screen down to the OLED strip, such as screenshot controls and more.

Overall, the Touch Bar is integrated throughout the system and in Apple’s first-party programs to make the MacBook Pro more accessible, productive, and manageable. Owners can use Touch Bar to answer calls in FaceTime, control music playback in iTunes, manage documents in Pages, Keynote, and Videos, control instruments in GarageBand, and even use it in Terminal.

In addition to supporting first-party services, Touch Bar can also be used in third-party programs, such as Adobe Photoshop. In one demonstration, the user could throw Photoshop into full-screen mode and move the necessary toolbars down into the Touch Bar. It could be used to adjust the hardness of a brush, the opacity of a color, and so on. Thus, the touchpad can be used to paint while your other hand makes all the needed adjustments. Scroll and tap to adjust blending, or scroll through the edit history by sliding left and right. Support for Touch Bar will be added to Photoshop before the end of 2016.

Another on-stage demo used Djay Pro, a professional solution for disc jockeys, which will include full-core functionality on the Touch Bar later in 2016. For instance, DJs can apply a filter in real time while the music plays, adjust the waveforms of each track, and even use the OLED strip to scratch virtual vinyl. Instruments can be added in real time, reverb and echo turned on and off, among other effects.

Apple said Microsoft will provide Touch Bar support for its Office suite soon, even Skype for Business. Other programs mentioned included the Affinity Designer software, the Sketch professional design software for Mac, and DaVinci Resolve.

Hopefully, we will have more on the Touch Bar specs soon. What we know is that it supports 10-point touch input so users can execute multiple commands with both hands on the OLED strip. In any case, Apple made a huge move with the addition of this feature, just as it did by providing one of the first commercially available mice decades ago.

Mobile

The Apollo Traveller is the fastest recharging power bank we’ve ever used

Power banks are getting better all the time, but the Apollo Traveller from Elecjet hits new heights in terms of charging and recharging speeds thanks to the use of a graphene composite for cooling. Here's what happened when we tried it out.
Mobile

How to perform a reverse image search in Android or iOS

You can quickly use Google to search, and reverse search, images on a PC or laptop, but did you know it's almost as easy to do in Android and iOS? We explain how to do it here, whether you want to use Chrome or a third-party app.
Mobile

Love music? For audiophiles, the LG G8 ThinQ may be the best phone ever made

LG is expected to release a successor to the LG G7 ThinQ, possibly called the LG G8 ThinQ, this year and rumors about it are already spreading. Here's everything we know about it so far.
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for February 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for December 2018.
Computing

Give your eyes a break with these handy blue light filters

Filtering blue light from your monitor is a great way to make long days of work easier on your eyes, especially when it gets later in the day. You can use ones built into MacOS and Windows, or one of the third-party options.
Computing

These are the 6 best free antivirus apps to help protect your MacBook

Malware protection is more important than ever, even if you eschew Windows in favor of Apple's desktop platform. Thankfully, protecting your machine is as easy as choosing from the best free antivirus apps for Mac suites.
Computing

Get ready for new AirPods, MacBooks as rumored dates for Apple WWDC 2019 emerge

Apple developers and fans alike look forward, every year, to the company's World Wide Developer Conference, WWDC, and for this year, we already have the rumored dates that might bring us Apple's latest tech announcements.
Computing

This Mac keyboard is slim, dark, and clicky, but it’s still not perfect

There aren't many great mechanical keyboards for Macs. The Keychron K1 is just the latest attempt to join that hallowed group, but does its blend of style and substance tick all the boxes?
Computing

These 30 useful apps are absolutely essential for Mac lovers

There are literally hundreds of thousands of great software programs compatible with MacOS, but which should you download? Look no further than our list of the best Mac apps you can find.
Mobile

Need a date for Valentine's Day? Cozy up with the best dating apps of 2019

Everyone knows online dating can be stressful, time-consuming, and downright awful. Check out our top picks for the best dating apps, so you can streamline the process and find the right date, whatever you're looking for.
Computing

One of these monitors will look great next to your new MacBook Pro

Apple doesn't make its beloved Cinema Display monitors anymore, which makes finding the best monitor for the MacBook Pro more difficult. In this guide, we break down some of our favorites and offer something for every size and budget.
Mobile

Smartwatch sales soared in 2018, with Apple leading the charge

The NPD Group, a market research organization, has reported smartwatch sales soared in 2018. Apple is leading the charge, but it's clear there's still room in the market for competitors, as Samsung and Fitbit also did well.
Business

Apple loses battle to use Intel modems in Germany in latest clash with Qualcomm

Apple is following the Federal Trade Commission's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Mobile

Worried about extra data charges? Here's how to check your usage on an iPhone

It's common to get a little nervous about nearing data limits. Keep your peace of mind by checking how much data your iPhone is using. Our guide on how to check data usage on an iPhone helps you stay in control.