New Mac laptops, but no desktops debuted at Apple’s ‘hello, again’ event

At today’s “hello, again” event, Apple introduced a nifty new MacBook Pro, but the desktop line-up saw no love. What was introduced was the thinnest and lightest MacBook Pro ever, along with an interface that replaces the traditional row of function keys with a Retina-quality Multi-Touch display called the Touch Bar. 

“The Mac is dear to all of us at Apple,” said CEO Tim Cook. “It’s a testament to all we do and create. The Mac has had a profound impact on education, art, design, and more. And this week is the 25th anniversary of our first notebook [a PowerBook].”

The new MacBook Pro sports Apple’s brightest and most colorful Retina display yet, Touch ID support, a more responsive keyboard, a larger Force Touch trackpad and an audio system with double the dynamic range. It’s also the most powerful MacBook Pro ever, featuring sixth-generation quad-core and dual-core processors, up to 2.3 times the graphics performance over the previous generation, SSDs and up to four Thunderbolt 3 ports.

The Touch Bar places controls right at the user’s fingertips and adapts when using the system or apps like Mail, Finder, Calendar, Numbers, GarageBand, Final Cut Pro X and more, including third-party apps. For example, the Touch Bar can show Tabs and Favorites in Safari, enable easy access to emoji in Messages, provide a simple way to edit images or scrub through videos in Photos and more.

Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, says the new MacBook Pro features an entirely new enclosure design and all-metal unibody construction that creates a rigid and dense notebook “that is amazingly thin and light. “At 14.9 mm thin, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is 17% thinner and 23% less volume than the previous generation, and nearly half a pound lighter at just three pounds. The new 15-inch MacBook Pro, at just 15.5 mm thin, is 14% thinner and 20% less volume than before, and weighing just four pounds, is nearly half a pound lighter.

Integrated into the power button is Touch ID, a feature that comes to the Mac from the iPhone and iPad. Once you enroll your fingerprint in Touch ID on your MacBook Pro, you can unlock your Mac, switch user accounts and make secure purchases with Apple Pay on the web with a single touch. Touch ID enables a quick, accurate reading of your fingerprint and uses algorithms to recognize and match it with the Secure Enclave in the new Apple T1 chip.

As thin as a MacBook display at .88 mm, the Retina display on the new MacBook Pro at 500 nits of brightness, is 67% brighter than the previous generation, features 67% more contrast and is the first Mac notebook display to support a wider color gamut, according to Schiller. With power-saving technologies like a larger pixel aperture, a variable refresh rate and more power-efficient LEDs, the display consumes 30% less energy than before, he adds.

The new MacBook Pros sport sixth-generation dual-core Core i5 with eDRAM, dual-core Core i7 with eDRAM and quad-core Core i7 Intel processors. The 15-inch MacBook Pro features Radeon Pro discrete graphics delivering up to 2.3 times more performance than the previous generation, while the 13-inch MacBook Pro comes with Intel Iris Graphics that are up to two times faster than before. All models feature SSDs with sequential read speeds over 3GBps and Thunderbolt 3, which consolidates data transfer, charging and twice the video bandwidth in a single port — allowing users to drive a 5K display and power their MacBook Pro with a single cable.

  • Larger Force Touch trackpads — 46% larger on the 13-inch MacBook Pro and twice as large on the 15-inch MacBook Pro;
  • More responsive and comfortable typing on the keyboard with a second-generation butterfly mechanism;
  • Louder, more true-to-life sound through speakers with double the dynamic range and improved bass.
  • Schiller also touted the 12-inch MacBook. However, it seems — as I predicted — that there’ll be more updates to the MacBook Air line.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro with no Touch Bar starts at US$1,499, features a 2GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1GHz, 8GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage, and ships today.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar and Touch ID starts at $1,799, and features a 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.3 GHz, 8GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage, and ships in two to three weeks.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,399, features the Touch Bar and Touch ID, a 2.6 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.5 GHz, 16GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage, and ships in two to three weeks.

You can upgrade the amount of flash storage. However, as always, it’s very expensive: 512GB for an extra $200, 1TB for $600, and 2TB for a whopping $1,400.