New Mac Pro
Photo: Courtesy of Apple

By: Nick Gambino

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of Apple’s first notebook launch, the new MacBook Pro was just revealed.

Tim Cook and his crew announced the MacBook Pro at a keynote event at their headquarters in Cupertino, CA on Thursday morning.  The new laptop has received some major upgrades/changes, some which may prove to be a turning point for all future products even outside of Apple.

Like with any new product this one is slicker, thinner, faster and all the other –er’s you can think of. But the big reveal is in the top of the keyboard where you would usually find the function keys (F1, F2, etc.)

Instead of the familiar layout that we’ve grown accustomed to over the last few decades, Apple has decided to deep-six the function keys and replace them with the Touch Bar. Can we have a moment of silence for the function keys? Pour out some liquor.

The Touch Bar is a revolutionary new feature that allows for an almost infinite number of functions, revealing themselves according to what app or software you’re using. So, let’s say you have iTunes open, the Touch Bar will reveal playback controls where you can play, stop, rewind, etc.
If you’ve got Photos open you’ll be able to rotate, edit, swipe and so on, all from the Touch Bar. Quick Type suggestions will pop up when you’re typing. The full list of Emoji’s pop up in iMessage.  Final Cut Pro, Word, Skype, etc., all will have this function. Some have already been integrated and some such as Word and Skype will have Touch Bar integration by the end of the year.

MacPro
Photo Courtesy of Apple

Now, remember when I asked you to pour out some liquor for the function keys? I’m sorry, that was a waste of some good drink because the Touch Bar will allow you to turn them on and use them if you feel inclined. Smart move as I can see some throwing a fit if they didn’t have access to these familiar keys.

The Touch Bar is customizable so if you want to add a key you can drop it off the bottom of the screen and it will attach itself.

Outside of the Touch Bar we’re seeing a Track Pad twice as big as the previous model. Though I can imagine once we get adept at using the Touch Bar, we’ll cut down on the need to use the Track Pad.

Touch ID has finally made its way to the MacBook with a fingerprint sensor in the top right corner allowing for quick access to your computer and quick shopping with Apple Pay. If more than one person has a Touch ID attached to that MacBook, a simple touch will switch from one user’s account to the other.

One thing people were worried about was the rumored removal of the USB 3.0 port. Well it’s no longer a rumor as they’ve done away with it and in its place are 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports. Though a simple adaptor solution will allow you to connect up cables like USB, VGA, HDMI, etc.

While it seems Apple is hell-bent on removing our familiar safety blankets (I’m looking at you iPhone 7 with a missing headphone jack) it’s hard to argue with the idea that this is how progress and revolution occurs. Unless we do away with “old” technology, even technology we don’t have any gripes with, we’ll never be able to see if there’s something better out there.

The MacBook Pro is available to order now. The 13-inch goes for $1,799 while the 15-inch starts at $2,399. And if you really, really need the function keys and could care less about the new Touch Bar there’s a 13-inch option to accommodate you and it’s only $1,499.

What do you think of Apple doing away with the function keys and replacing them with the new Touch Bar? Let us know!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.

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