Late 2016 MacBook Event Recap

“Hello Again” it’s happy time again in Cupertino with another event from Apple all about their infamous Mac product line.  We’ve been expecting a lot, hearing a little through the rumor mill and more — but what did we actually get?
General Updates
Let’s start with a review of what’s been happening in the world of Apple.  iPhone is doing extremely well with adoption of iOS 10 already at 60%.  Recent updates have enabled portrait mode on the iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Pay in Japan.  Additionally, on October 28th a new Nike branded Apple Watch (announced in September) will be available.  Apple TV now has 8000 apps available to it’s userbase with the popular game, Minecraft, coming to the big screen soon.  New features that are slated to hit boxes before the end of the year are Twitter integration into NFL and NBA coverage, which features a picture in picture styled approached that delivers rich Twitter content regarding the event that’s happening on the large portion of your screen.  A new app called “TV”, which will be coming to the Apple TV, iPhone and iPad seeks to bring into focus all things that you are watching across all of your apps so that you have a centralized “hub” for your media content and new ways to discover content that you may be unaware of.
But you want to hear about shiny new MacBooks, huh?  Well you’ve drug it out of me…
MacBook Updates
The new 2016 MacBook Pro will come in two sizes, 13″ and 15″ featuring a beautiful aluminum unibody design in silver and space gray color options.  As with other items in the Apple lineup, the screen will feature a wide color gamut resulting in a more vibrant and accurate display.  Important to note is that these are some of the thinnest and lightest laptops ever made by Apple with the 13″ MacBook Pro weighing 3 pounds and the 15″ weighing 4 pounds respectively while shaving up to 3 mm of the thickness with the lid closed.
Specs of Late 2016 MacBook Pro lineup as of October, 2016.
Specs of Late 2016 MacBook Pro lineup as of October, 2016.
With new internals that match the sophisticated look, there is also a new feature called “Touch Bar”, which replaces the standard function keys on the two top-end models of the MacBook Pro.  The new notebooks will utilize AMD’s Radeon Pro graphics architecture (15″ model) , which is built to improve upon performance achieved by the last generation MacBook Pro line.  With all of these new features squeezed into a smaller more lightweight body, battery life will not be sacrificed as users can still expect to get 10 hours on the device.  Prices of all MacBook Pro models are shown below.
Late 2016 MacBook lineup as of October, 2016.
Prices of Late 2016 MacBook lineup as of October, 2016.
Touch Bar
Touch Bar is a new spin on the standard row of function keys that we’ve been used to for years — and this spin isn’t a bad one (or at least not awful).
MacBook Pro Touch Bar.
MacBook Pro Touch Bar.
Touch Bar acts as functions keys; however, it is dynamic and shifts to help you control whatever app you are currently in.  If you are editing clips using Final Cut Pro, Touch Bar can allow you to trim clips, scrub the timeline and more.  For those who love to work in Adobe Photoshop, Touch Bar can apply filters, navigate between layers and scrub through all recent changes to your project.  Additionally, for the deejays out there, Touch Bar can completely change the workflow of mixing and take your abilities to a new and different level.  In addition, built into the bar is TouchID, which can be used for Apple Pay.  Finally, for all of the power users, Touch Bar can be completely (yes, completely) customized to your liking by simply dragging a new icon onto the bar from the screen of the MacBook using the trackpad.

Product Video (Source: Apple, Youtube)

Bottom line:  This is a solid update for the MacBook line.  Some are left wondering where are updates to the iMac, Mac Mini and Mac Pro — yes, I am part of that group.  I wonder if the Touchbar wouldn’t be more useful at the bottom of the keyboard so that the user doesn’t have to constantly reach to the top of the keyboard.
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