Apple has unveiled its first new Macbook Pro laptop in a year and a half, with a number of changes and new features. The new laptop was announced at a press event Thursday morning in Cupertino, California. The new Macbook is thinner and lighter than any of its predecessors, and it comes equipped with an OLED touchscreen built into the keyboard, as well as a fingerprint scanner.
It also includes two USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports on both sides of the laptop, with a grand total of four. The USB-C ports, smaller than USB-A, were first unveiled on Apple’s 2015 MacBook. The new MacBook, unlike last year’s model, does not include any USB-A ports at all. USB-A ports are still considered the industry standard throughout the world, and Apple still uses them for their iPhone’s Lightning Cable.
The new MacBook also forgoes the SD card reader, HDMI port, and two Thunderbolt ports that functioned also as mini DisplayPorts on last year’s MacBook model. These functions, as well as the still ubiquitous USB-A plugs will need adapters to work with the new MacBook. The new USB-C ports also replace the MagSafe power adapter on older models. Unlike the most recent iPod model, however, the new MacBook does include a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The OLED touchscreen included above the standard keyboard replaces the multi-function “F” keys, providing shortcuts for volume control, window management, and allowing the use of emojis in text.
Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, explained, “It’s a retina display, multitouch, responding to gestures and taps. We call it Touch Bar. First it replaces the standard system functions, but it goes way beyond that. It adapts to whatever software you’re using.”
The Touch Bar will also be used for navigation within browsers, photo manipulation, and text suggestions. The strip also includes the new Touch ID fingerprint scanner on the power button, similar to the setup of the new iPad and iPhone. Fingerprint scanning can be used to unlock the computer and to confirm payments.
The laptop’s new Force Touch trackpad is twice as large as in the last model.
The new MacBook will be available in a 13-inch version and a 15-inch version. The 13-inch model can be equipped with the dual-core versions of either the Intel i5 or i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB storage and Intel’s Iris 550 integrated graphics chip.
The more powerful 15-inch model includes Intel’s quad-core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.