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.


I bought a four-year-old MacBook Pro instead of a new one. Here’s why

The new MacBook Pros have a ton of advantages over the older options, but when it came to buying a replacement machine for myself, I found myself returning to 2015 rather than picking up Apple's latest and greatest.

Need a new tablet? Here are the best Apple iPad deals for June 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 June 2019.

Apple's iOS 13 Beta 2 is available to developers -- here are the changes

Apple announced iOS 13 during the keynote presentation at its 2019 Worldwide Developer Conference. This is the next version of its mobile operating system, which will come to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod near you soon.

Apple just registered seven new MacBooks, but what are they? Let’s speculate

When Apple registers new devices, that usually means they’re only weeks away from being released. The company has just registered seven new devices -- but are they Airs, Pros or something else entirely?

Apple will bring 5G to the iPhone in 2020, according to analyst

We're still many months away from the launch of a 2019 iPhone, so do we know anything at all about the 2020 iPhone? Surprisingly, the answer is yes, and the rumors are picking up the pace.

Tim Cook said Silicon Valley built a chaos factory. Are Apple’s hands clean?

The King of Silicon Valley just called it a “chaos factory.” Giving a commencement speech at Stanford University, Apple CEO Tim Cook criticized his fellow tech giants for disregarding the privacy of their customers.

You can grab the 2017 12-inch MacBook for $300 off right now, but act quickly

Despite the growing market for Windows ultrabooks, a MacBook is still what you need if you love the sleek interface of MacOS. The 2017 MacBook is on sale right now, too, but stock is limited, so act quickly before it's gone.

Need a do-over? Here's how to factory reset an iPhone, from XS on down

Resetting an iPhone can alleviate all sorts of software woes, and wipe away personal data should you sell your device or give it to someone else. Here's how to factory reset an iPhone from within iOS or iTunes.

Apple's Mac Mini and MacBook Air are both great, but which is better?

Torn between the portability of a laptop and the power of a desktop? You aren't the only one. Apple offers great examples of both, with great unique and shared features for each. If we pit the Mac Mini vs. MacBook Air, which do you think…

Nomad’s new Kevlar cables are seriously tough and seriously fast

Nomad has just released an update to its super-tough Kevlar range of cables to include a new USB-C to Lightning cable and a blisteringly fast 100W USB-C cable. They're expensive, but they're the toughest cables you'll find.

Your smartphone knows all your secrets. Put it on lockdown with these tips

Having your smartphone hacked can feel like someone robbed your house. It's a massive invasion of privacy and a violation of your personal space. We've put together a checklist of precautions that will help you avoid this terrible fate.

Apple drops price cuts on refurbished MacBooks, iPads, and iPhones

Apple's online storefront has some decent discounts if you know where to look. Assuming you're okay with buying refurbished, Apple has some pretty solid savings on iPads, MacBooks, Mac Minis, iPhones, Apple Watches, and more.

Apple offers big discounts on refurbished iPad Mini 4 and iPad Pro 10.5-inch

Apple is clearing out some of its stock of refurbished iPads, offering discounts of up to $180 off various models. You can buy these with confidence: they include a new battery, outer shell, and the same one-year warranty as a brand-new…

It’s time to check out the best Apple Watch deals for June 2019

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.