Apple's New MacBook Pro Pulls Out Most of the Stops

By Steve Anderson October 28, 2016

Mostly, when people think Apple these days, they think of the mobile devices like the iPhone and the iPad. That's with good reason, too; Apple has effectively built an empire around these systems. Apple's more than that, though, and it's bringing some of that mobile sensibility to its MacBook Pro line, offering up a thinner, lighter laptop with a lot of extra firepower.

The 2016 MacBook Pro represents a pretty heavy shift away from the older models; it’s giving the best Apple can offer in laptops more than just minor changes, as has been the case for the last couple of years. First, it's brought metal to all sides in a design that Phil Schiller calls “incredibly extreme.” That's a pretty big change, but there's more going on here; the rumored change that brought the optical LED (OLED) touch strip to the device is in play, and is now known as the Touch Bar.

The Touch Bar boasts several options, like a built-in, software-based Esc key, as well as what amounts to its own Retina display. It responds to tap and gesture alike, and even partially connects to a Touch ID fingerprint system similar to that of the iPhone line. It's second-generation, with a sapphire glass cover, which should make it as accurate as possible and still safe to incorporate.

There's an improved Force Touch trackpad here as well, that's double the original size if using the 15 inch model, and a second-generation butterfly mechanism keyboard as well. The display has been beefed up with 67 percent greater brightness, 67 percent improvement in contrast ratios, 25 percent more colors, and a 30 percent reduction in power consumption.

It's even packing a sixth-generation Intel Core i7 processor, an ATI Radeon Pro graphics card, and several storage options including a two terabyte solid state drive. Battery life on this beast runs up to 10 hours, and the laptop itself weighs only three pounds, measuring just 14.9 mm thick.

For anyone who thought that the PC’s day was done, and that laptops would follow close behind as the bulkiest of mobile devices, think again. There are still plenty of laptop users—the article you're reading right this second was typed up on a laptop—who count on these devices for their word processing capability and ability to bring not only a complete storage system, but also a complete network access system, to one platform. Tablets and smartphones are great, but none of them will ever really represent the kind of power and versatility that a laptop can. Sure, they'll likely have the edge in portability, but with Apple offering up a powerhouse at three pounds, that edge may not be around all that much longer either.

Granted, price is a concern—the entry-level MacBook Pro runs $1,499—but for those who want a system that will do most anything and go most anywhere, Apple's got a whole new reason to make users think MacBook.




Edited by Alicia Young

Contributing Writer

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