A touch screen finally came to Apple’s computing line, but it wasn’t in a way that consumers would expect. Apple announced the first updates to its MacBook Pro line of notebook computers in at least 2 years, and the biggest development was the addition of a touch screen … on the keyboard.
The Touch Bar that’s on certain models replaces the function keys that are on older models, which are typical of computer keyboards. By scrolling and tapping Apple’s touch screen, you can perform the same functions that you could with function keys, but the functionality adapts to the program that’s in use. For example, you can access emojis while in Messages or show and tap favorites in the Safari web browser.
In addition, Apple added Touch ID capability to the power button, so, as is the case with Apple’s iPhone smartphones and iPad tablet computers, you can use fingerprint authentication to unlock your notebook computer or make a purchase through Apple Pay.
Apple also continued its recent trend of getting rid of familiar ports. The most notable is the removal of all USB drives, so you’ll have to buy an adapter to use peripherals or flash drives that have a USB connector. Instead, the new line of MacBook Pro computers have four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports. (Apple kept the headphone jack, however.)
The line of three MacBook Pro notebook computers are thinner and lighter than are previous models; they’re also more expensive. A 13-inch model that lacks the Touch Bar and Touch ID starts at $1,499 for 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage, which is up from $1,299 for the previous entry-level MacBook Pro. It’s available for shipping.
To get the two touch features, you’ll have to pay at least $1,799 for a 13-inch model that has the same specs or $2,399 for a 15-inch model that has 16GB of memory and 256GB of storage. Those will be available for shipping in 2–3 weeks, Apple says.