Here’s everything from Apple’s MacBook Event
They started with showing what people have accomplished using Apple products like every other Apple event, and then showed some new updates and apps.
The first of this was Memories, which work similarly to Facebook memories: you get a little nostalgic reminder about a photo from the pass taken on the same date.
iOS 10 was made official about 2 months ago, and it already boasts an adoption of 60% of the devices…… while “the other team” has less than 1% adoption of Android Nougat. I am not hurt.
Apple Pay has grown internationally, with major emphasis on Japan here. It is very useful in transit there.
They talked a lot about the Portrait mode on the iPhone 7 plus and again, started showing examples of works captured by users.
According to reviews, the Apple Watch series 2 is the best wearable out there, also in terms of fitness. The funky neon coloured Apple Watch Nike Plus starts selling tomorrow.
The next major software overhaul came to TV, not AppleTV. TV is their new app for all iOS running devices which gives ‘unified TV experience’.
Ryan Troy from Twitter took the stage to talk about how AppleTV works in tandem with Twitter for a much more immersive Live experience with the example of a rugby game. While the game is playing on the screen, a single swipe takes you to Twitter where you can join discussions of that particular game, show live reactions, get views from different vantage points using Periscope, connecting with people at the stadium etc. A very cool integrated approach, I must say.
Now let’s get to what 93% of you came here for. The new Macs. It’s been 25 years (25th October 1991) since Apple unveiled their first notebook (weirdly, more about that coming up) So with a dash of nostalgia, they begin.
Once more, there are 2 versions to the MBP: 13″ and 15″ variants, in silver and space grey colours. The outer shell is still aluminium, though, sadly the iconic Apple logo no longer lights up.
Opening the notebook, you are greeted with a giant trackpad which is 2x bigger than the older MBP. Also comes bundled with ForceTouch for an added layer of input.
The keyboard keys are backlit, and are built on top of their butterfly 2.0 mechanism, which debuted on their 12″ MacBook.
A close look at the keyboard will reveal that the Function Keys row is missing. That is replaced by the new Multi touch supported OLED screen above the keyboard, called the Touch Bar. It’s been a while since I have said this about an Apple product, but this new method of input is innovative. Keep reading to know why.
Legend says that these keys have been here for over 4 decades and they aren’t always required. So why not replace it with something a more useful? So they added an entire display there which changes with every app and software to give you various functions. By default, it has volume, brightness, Siri and a few others on your normal screen. But these controls change with EVERY app.
They showed 3 examples to showcase the functionality of the bar with top guns from the industry:
Final Cut Pro: the top video editing software brought things like the entire timeline on the Touch bar for easy navigation, zooming and fading, Additional layers can also be added and controlled. They edited a 4K clip on stage with ease.
Photoshop: According to the product manager, a lot of functions usually require multiple clicks and gestures, which become easier due to the TouchBar. All essential controls like layers, brushes, smart select are there, along with an actual colour palette. An entire photo was transformed from a place in Greece to someplace around the mountains, colour graded and added elements, using only the bar. This might not seem like a lot, but seeing this on video might change your mind.
DJ Pro: the person from Algoriddim pulled some songs to the mixer, and then jammed some music using just the TouchBar. That was impressive. This was a good way to also show all the use of multi touch there, and how easy it is to navigate on the bar.
The TouchBar is also customisable to suit your needs and have your essential short cuts at hand. It’s as easy as drag and drop. Microsoft is among the biggest developers to bring use of this, to their entire Office line-up
Other addition was a TouchID 2.0 scanner on the top right of the keyboard. It unlocks your laptop in a second, can be used for Apple Pay, and if multiple people have their fingerprints saved there, then one touch switches profiles quickly. Works using some T1 security chip This was impressive.
The display on both the devices are retina resolution, though the numbers weren’t mentioned. Though more brightness, better contrast and a wider colour gamut were all a part of it.
In terms of specs, there were some differences in the 2 variants:
The 13″ one had a 6th gen core i5/i7 with integrated graphics, 8GB memory (base version) and a 256gb SSD.
The 15″ version is a little beefier which runs a quad core i7 with dedicated AMD Radeon Pro 450 graphics(Polaris based) and double the RAM. Also, they talked about good gaming performance…. on a Mac…..
In terms of I/O, both of them feature a headphone jack, and 4 Thunderbolt 3.0 ports. This implementation means that the 4 USB type-C connectors ALL support charging (in and out), transfer speeds up to 40 GbPS(USB 3.1 gen2), can power displays with extreme resolutions like 5K (Display port 1.2) and very future proof. This is a very good selection, but if you are deep into the Apple ecosystem, you won’t be able to plug in your iPhone to charge/transfer without the need for a converter.
The battery life is rated at 10 hours of use.
In closing, they compared the new Macs to the PowerBook series (25 years old) saying that these new puppies are so powerful that they can complete tasks in under 5 seconds which would take the old guy over a year to finish. Hmmmm….
One surprise announcement was a new successor to the 13″ MacBook Air. Since this new range of MBPs is already thinner and lighter, they Air lineup was in a confusing spot. So they announced a new notebook which is identical to the 13″ MBP but without the TouchID, Touch Bar and only 2 Thunderbolt ports, However it was smaller, thinner, lighter than the current 13″ MBA in every aspect.
Aaaaaand, the 12″ MacBook from last year is now a part of this lineup. thus making it go 12″, 13″ and 15″, weighing at 2lbs, 3lbs and 4lbs, with 1, 2 and 4 Thunderbolt ports, so you can choose according to your portability needs.
In terms of pricing and availability, the base versions cost as follows:
12″ MacBook = $1299 (already available)
13″ MBP without TouchID, TouchBar = $1499 (can order, ships today)
13″ MBP = $1799 (can order, ships in 2-3 weeks)
15″ MBP = $2399 (can order, ships in 2-3 weeks)
It’s a breath of fresh air for so many people who have been looking for new laptops on the Apple side and this product refresh was long due. The pricing is nothing non-Apple, but in terms of hardware, software and UX, I think this device can last for a while.