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Apple Refreshes MacBook Pro 2016 Models With Touch Bar And Touch ID

As News Editor of Silicon UK, Roland keeps a keen eye on the daily tech news coverage for the site, while also focusing on stories around cyber security, public sector IT, innovation, AI, and gadgets.

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The new MacBook Pros have refreshed innards and a second Retina screen but sport wallet-emptying UK prices

Apple has revealed refreshed 13 inch and 15 inch MacBook Pros, featuring USB-C ports, an OLED Retina screen-equipped Touch Bar, Touch ID and hefty Brexit influenced price points.

The MacBook line now comprises laptops with the new touch screen panel and a 13 inch MacBook Pro with refreshed innards and a slimmer size, but without the Touch Bar or Touch ID.

The latter is aimed at replacing MacBook Air models, of which the 11 inch version has been discontinued.

Touch Bar

apple-macbookpro-2Before we get into standout features, the new MacBook Pros come with updated internals, including a 6th-generation quad core Intel Core i7 processor and on-board graphics, up to 16GB or RAM and up to 512GB of storage.

The 15 inch MacBook Pro gains a dedicated Radeon Pro 450 GPU for handling more graphic intensive tasks.

All three models come sporting Apple’s vibrant and sharp Retina screens, which has been given a slight tweak to offer 25 percent more colour and sport a 67 percent increase in brightness and contrast.

The noteworthy feature, found on the higher priced MacBook Pro 13 inch and 15 inch models, was the addition of a small display bar on the top of the laptops’ keyboards.

Dubbed the Touch Bar, this touch sensitive Retina displays offer contextual keys and icons to tap to correspond with the program being used. These can range from emojis in iMessage to QuickType suggestions in Pages and most visited websites and tab when using Safari. Third-party apps like Adobe Photoshop will also be receiving support for the Touch Bar.

Apple’s finger print scanner Touch ID is also built into the Touch Bar meaning users don’t have to go through the arduous task of typing in a password every time they boot up their MacBooks. It also allows multiple people to access their Apple accounts on the same MacBook as well as authenticate Apple Pay transactions.

The new MacBook Pros also get rid of the traditional USB ports, favouring the newer USB-C ports instead. A separate adapter will be needed to use normal USB equipped peripherals with the new notebooks. Some may appreciate the irony that Apple has left the 3.5mm headphone jack intact on its new Pro models despite making a show of dropping the port on the iPhone 7 handsets.

MacBook Pro 2016

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Apple MacBook Pro 2016

Brexit bill

Despite Article 50 yet to be triggered and Britain’s departure from the European Union over two years away, speculation on the markets has caused the pound to slump in value. Apple has jumped upon that and cranked the prices of its MacBooks up.

The 13 inch MacBook Air jumped up by around a £100 to £949 despite receiving no upgrades, while the new MacBook Pros start at £1,449 for the non-Touch Bar 13 inch models, while the version with the display bar begins at a wallet-emptying £1,749.

It could be argued Apple is exploiting a situation that has yet to come into effect. But the company knows it has a dedicates user base for the MacBook Pros who will likely opt for the new laptops.

That being said, the price hike in the UK has been significant and there are many laptop makers offering slim, well-made ultraportables that come with an improving Windows 10, meaning Apple could find its pricing model may have knocked-off some of the appeal its MacBooks normally garner.

People in the creative sector have often erred toward MacBook Pros, but with Microsoft offering an all-in-one PC called the Surface Studio, Apple could find its position with design and media agencies eroded as well.

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