Skip to main content

Apple’s new MacBook Pro has an OLED touch bar that changes with your apps

On the 25th anniversary of the first Apple laptop, CEO Tim Cook took the stage Thursday at company headquarters in Cupertino, California, to unveil the latest MacBook Pro, which features some new hardware. Yep, you guessed it, it’s the long-rumored OLED touch bar, appropriately named the Touch Bar.

The Touch Bar features a Retina display, capable of recognizing context-sensitive multitouch gestures, which change based on which app you’re currently running. In addition to support for auto-correct suggestions and brightness, volume, and other controls, the Touch Bar also has another surprise.

Right there on the end of the bar is a TouchID pad fully integrated into the power button. The new TouchID support comes with a brand new integrated chip, the Apple T1, a dedicated TouchID chip inside the MacBook Pro 13-inch and 15-inch.

All right, so how much is it going to cost? Well, that’s where Apple really made some changes. The new 13-inch MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar starts at $1,500, the 13-inch with Touch Bar starts at $1,800, and the 15-inch with Touch Bar starts at $2,400. Those are massive price increases across the board, but what do they get you?

The new MacBook also received an overall revamp, including a new unibody design that does away with any plastic on the exterior, aside from the keyboard. That’s right, the iconic glowing Apple on the back is replaced by a glossy metal apple engraved right into the aluminum chassis.

The new MacBook Pro replaces the aging 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro with the two lightest and thinnest professional-grade MacBooks ever made, according to Apple. The new 13-inch model measures 14.9 millimeters and weighs just 3 pounds, half a pound less than the previous model, while the new 15-inch model comes in at an even more impressive 15.5 millimeters and just 4 pounds.

For the 15-inch MacBook Pro, that’s a pretty big reduction in weight, as well as a 20 percent reduction in volume.

What about the internals? Well, both the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models received a modest internal refresh. Both will sport sixth-generation Skylake Core i7 processors (dual-core on the 13-inch, quad-core on the 15-inch), with a cheaper Core i5 option available for the 13-inch. Both new models boast increased storage space, up to 1TB for the 13-inch and 2TB for the 15-inch, and a boost to available RAM configurations. The 15-inch model also features a discrete graphics card, the Radeon 450 Pro with 4GB of RAM.

13-inch MacBook Pro
MacBook Pro 13-Inch
13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

MacBook Pro 13-Inch With Touch Bar

15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

MacBook Pro 15-Inch

Size 0.59 x 11.97 x 8.36 inches 0.59 x 11.97 x 8.36 inches 0.61 x. 13.75 x 9.48 inches
Weight 3.02 pounds 3.02 pounds 4 pounds
Display 13.3-inch IPS 13.3-inch IPS 15.4-inch IPS
Resolution 2,560 x 1,600, 227 PPI 2,560 x 1,600, 227 PPI 2,880 x 1,800, 220 PPI
Operating System MacOS Sierra MacOS Sierra MacOS Sierra
CPU 2GHz dual-core Intel Core i5-6360U 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i5-6267U 2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-6770HQ
Memory 8GB 2133MHz RAM 8GB 2133MHz RAM 16GB 2133MHz RAM
Storage 256/512 GB PCIe SSD 256/512/1TB GB PCIe SSD 256/512/2TB GB PCIe SSD
Graphics Intel Iris Graphics 540 Intel Iris Graphics 550 Radeon Pro 450 2GB
Connectivity 2x Thunderbolt 3 Ports 4x Thunderbolt 3 Ports 4x Thunderbolt 3 Ports
Battery Around 10 hours per charge Around 10 hours per charge Around 10 hours per charge
Price $1,500 $1,800 $2,400
Availability Available Now 2-3 Weeks 2-3 Weeks

The New MacBook Pro provides a much-needed update, along with some new bells and whistles and two new color schemes. The new MacBook Pros no longer feature standard USB ports, abandoning USB-A for four USB-C ports, two on each side.

The Force Touch trackpad also got a revamp, and is apparently twice as large as it used to be, offering a luxurious amount of space for those big sweeping multitouch gestures. Apple credits the increase in size and sensitivity to the Force Touch technology, which does away with a bulky internal mechanical switch that reportedly took up more than its fair share of space.

The keyboard also got a touch-up, with a second-generation butterfly mechanism taking over for the previous butterfly switch. Apple claims it will be more responsive and offer a greater sense of key travel. That’s good, because the keyboard on the 12-inch MacBook is a weak point.

As we’ve long suspected, the function keys are officially dead for the MacBook Pro — dead as the 3.5-inch headphone jack on the iPhone. Apple offered up a similarly “courageous” explanation for the removal of the keys, and elaborated on the impressive piece of technology replacing the venerable function keys.

Updated on 10-27-2016 by Jayce Wagner: Added spec table and clarified storage options. 

Editors' Recommendations

Jayce Wagner
Former Digital Trends Contributor
A staff writer for the Computing section, Jayce covers a little bit of everything -- hardware, gaming, and occasionally VR.
I needed to buy a new MacBook. Here’s why I bought a power bank instead
Baseus Blade 2 65W power bank for laptops kept on a green couch.

I rely on a 13-inch MacBook Pro from 2020 for most of my work. Despite its age and being a base variant model, it continues to stack up well against my expectations for all these years.

Since MacBooks are known for longevity, the fact that my MacBook Pro still holds up well a few years later shouldn't sound surprising. However, the first signs of aging recently arrived in the form of a warning about the battery's plummeting health. I was already dreading the idea of having to replace what was otherwise a perfectly good laptop.

Read more
Apple quietly backtracks on the MacBook Air’s biggest issue
The MacBook Air on a white table.

The new MacBook Air with M3 chip not only allows you to use it with two external displays, but it has also reportedly addressed a storage problem that plagued the previous M2 model. The laptop now finally has much faster storage performance since Apple has switched back to using two 128GB NAND modules instead of a single 256GB module on the SSD drive.

This was discovered by the YouTuber Max Tech, who tore down the entry-level model of the MacBook Air M3 with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. In his tests, thanks to the two NAND modules, the M3 MacBook Air is nearly double faster than the M2 MacBook Air. Blackmagic Disk Speed tests show that the older M2 model with the problematic NAND chip had a 1584.3 Mb/s write speed, and the newer M3 model had 2108.9 Mb/s for the M3 model, for a 33% difference. In read speeds, it was 1576.4 Mb/s on the old model and 2880.2 Mb/s on the newer model.

Read more
Why gaming on the M3 MacBook Air has left me impressed
Baldur's Gate 3 being played on the M3 MacBook Air.

Upon getting the new MacBook Air M3 in my possession, I had one major question: Can you play games on it?

That might sound like a silly first thought for a laptop of this type. After all, it's not marketed as a gaming laptop -- it's an incredibly thin, fanless laptop. Not exactly something even meant for any high-performance tasks.

Read more