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Roundup: Hands-On With Touch Bar on New MacBook Pros

One of the headline features of Apple's new MacBook Pros is the Touch Bar, a Multi-Touch-enabled strip of glass above the keyboard that provides instant access to tools and commands that change contextually based on the app you are using or system task you are carrying out. It also has Touch ID built in.

Siri and Touch ID (Image: AOL)
The all-new Touch Bar replaces the standard row of function keys on the new MacBook Pros, with system controls like an escape key, power, volume, and brightness still accessible at times. The middle part of the Touch Bar is the Control Strip, which changes automatically based on what you are doing.

Apple provided the media with an opportunity to demo the new Touch Bar following its "Hello Again" event earlier today, and a number of websites have now published early hands-on looks at the new feature. Read ahead for a roundup of Touch Bar first impressions alongside photos of it in action.

Image: Dieter Bohn/The Verge
Dieter Bohn at The Verge noted the Touch Bar has a matte finish, which gives the on-screen controls a little more of a physical feel:
What you might not have gathered from the keynote is that it has a matte finish, which makes the buttons on it somehow feel a little more physical. It’s bright, but not so bright that it distracts — it seems to be about on par with the brightness of the backlit keyboard.
Bohn added that the Touch Bar controls can be rearranged, while you can long-press on buttons to get to functions faster. Tapping and holding on Reply, for example, allows you to slide your finger over to Reply All. There

Apple Shares Full Video of Today's MacBook Pro Event [Update: iTunes Version Available]

After revealing the newest MacBook Pro to everyone today at its "Hello Again" event, Apple has now posted a full video of the presentation on its website, allowing anyone who was too busy to watch it live an easy venue to catch up with the presentation on their own time. As usual, Apple is expected to upload the video to YouTube and iTunes at some point later in the day.

Apple always shares a few commercials during its keynotes as well, and today was no different, with six videos hitting its YouTube channel in the minutes following the event's ending. The videos include a focus on Apple's venture into accessibility, and of course deeper dives into all of the features of the all-new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.

- Apple – Accessibility – Sady (with Audio Descriptions)
- Apple – Accessibility – Sady
- MacBook Pro — QWERTY
- MacBook Pro — Reveal
- The new MacBook Pro — Design, Performance and Features
- The new MacBook Pro featuring Touch Bar – So much to touch

In addition to the videos posted online about the MacBook Pro, you can catch up with all of the news out of the Hello Again event by checking out our list of keynote highlights below, which encompass all of MacRumors' event coverage posted today.

Besides plenty of news articles surrounding the MacBook Pro and Touch Bar, as well as the discontinuation of the MacBook Air, there's also pieces about the new "TV" app coming to tvOS and iOS, and gaming-related announcements, like Minecraft launching on the fourth-generation Apple TV.

MacBook Pro News
- Apple Unveils New 13-Inch and

Apple Unveils New 13-Inch and 15-Inch MacBook Pros With Retina 'Touch Bar'

Apple today announced the all-new MacBook Pro, confirming that the new computer will come in 13-inch and 15-inch sizes, in both Silver and Space Gray color options. The MacBooks are thinner and lighter than their previous generations, come with a Trackpad that's larger than the ones on the previous MacBooks, and have a redesigned keyboard for better typing.

Apple calls it "the most powerful MacBook Pro ever," and the 13-inch model features a 2.9 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.3 GHz, 8GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage. The 15-inch version has 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. Both computers reach "up to 2.3 times the graphics performance" of the previous generation.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro features Radeon Pro discrete graphics, while the 13-inch model has Intel Iris Graphics. Each edition includes SSDs with sequential read speeds over 3GBps, and the ability to drive a 5K display through a single Thunderbolt 3 port thanks to the technology's consolidation of data transfer, video bandwidth, and charging abilities.

For the display, that means Apple has created "the brightest, most colorful notebook display" ever, with images that are more vivid and lifelike thanks to the screen's 500 nits of brightness. In total, that means the new screen is now 67 percent brighter than the previous generation MacBook Pro, has 67 percent more contrast, "and is the first Mac notebook display to support a wider color gamut." The company said that

New MacBook Pro Models Now Available for Purchase as Apple Store Comes Back Online

The Apple Store has just come online following today's event, and the three new MacBook Pro models announced this morning are now available for purchase.

Available in Space Gray and Silver in 13 and 15-inch sizes, pricing on the new MacBook Pro starts at $1,499 for the entry-level model with no Touch Bar and goes up to $2,799 for the 15-inch machine.

The entry-level 13-inch machine, available to ship starting today, features a 2.0GHz Core i5 processor, 8GB of 1866MHz RAM, a 256GB SSD, Intel Iris Graphics 540, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports. It is priced at $1,499.

The mid-level 13-inch machine with a Touch Bar features a 2.9GHz Core i5 processor, 8GB of 2133MHz RAM, a 256GB SSD, Intel Iris Graphics 550, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, and a Touch Bar and Touch ID. It's priced at $1,799.

The high-end 13-inch machine features the same internals as the mid-level machine, but with a 512GB SSD for $1,999.

As for the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, the entry-level machine starts at $2,399 and includes a 2.6Ghz quad-core processor, 16GB of 2133MHz RAM, a 256GB SSD, a Radeon Pro 450 with 2GB memory, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, and a Touch Bar and Touch ID.

The high-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro features a 2.7GHz Core i7 processor, 16GB of 2133MHz RAM, a 512GB SSD, a Radeon Pro 455 with 2GB memory, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, and a Touch Bar and Touch ID.

There are also several build-to-order upgrade options available for improving the processor, storage space, and graphics card.

All MacBook Pro models with a Touch Bar and Touch ID ship out in two to three

Apple Unveils New 13-Inch Entry-Level MacBook Pro

Today at its October 2016 Town Hall event, Apple announced an entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro that it is positioning as an appealing alternative for potential buyers of the MacBook Air, the 13-inch version of which remains available to buy for now, with the 11-inch version being discontinued.

The new entry-level Pro takes on many of the design features of the rest of the range, except for Apple's new Touch Bar, which replaces the traditional function key strip in the rest of its new Pro MacBooks.

The new entry-level MacBook Pro is 12 percent thinner than the current MacBook Air. It's also 13 percent smaller in volume, while staying the same weight.

Apple's senior VP Phil Schiller says the new entry-level MacBook Pro is faster than the MacBook Air in "every way." It has a 2.0GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, a 256GB SSD, Intel Iris 540 Graphics, a larger Force Touch trackpad, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and a new second-generation butterfly mechanism keyboard.

The entry-level MacBook ships starting today and is available starting at $1,499. In contrast, the existing MacBook Air with 1.6GHz processor and 128GB storage and is still available at $999. The new entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro can be pre-ordered online now and will ship in 2-3

Live Coverage of Apple's 'Hello Again' Mac Event

Apple's "Hello Again" event kicks off at 10:00 AM Pacific Time today, with Apple expected to make several Mac-related announcements headlined by a revamped MacBook Pro with an OLED "Magic Toolbar" or "Touch Bar" and Touch ID support.

We're also expecting to see new MacBook Air models with USB-C ports, and perhaps some other new Macs as well. On a separate note, Apple is also said to be introducing a new "guide" app for Apple TV and iOS devices to help recommend TV shows to users across content providers.

Apple is providing a live video stream on its website and via Apple TV.

Photo via Dieter Bohn
In addition to Apple's video stream, we will be updating this article with live blog coverage and issuing Twitter updates through our @MacRumorsLive account as the event unfolds. Highlights from the event and separate news stories regarding today's announcements will go out through our @MacRumors account.

Sign up for our newsletter to keep up with Apple news and rumors.

Apple's online stores around the world are currently down in advance of the event.

"Hello Again" event highlights are available in reverse chronological order after the jump.

Apple's Online Store Down Ahead of Today's 'Hello Again' Mac Event

Apple's online storefront has been taken offline this morning, just over six hours prior to the company's "Hello Again" media event at its Cupertino, California headquarters, where Tim Cook and other senior executives are expected to announce an all-new MacBook Pro, refreshed MacBook Air, an Apple TV guide, and possibly other new Macs and additional product and service updates.

Apple will provide a live stream (spoiler free) of the keynote on the Apple TV and on iOS and Mac devices through its website, starting at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. MacRumors will also have full coverage of the event, with a live blog on our front page at and updates in 140 characters or less through our @MacRumorsLive account on Twitter. Earlier this week, we outlined what to expect at the event.

We'll also have specific coverage of today's announcements in separate news stories, and our community forums are a great place for readers to discuss the announcements before, during, and after the event. Be sure to keep tabs on the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air sections in particular for the latest

Samsung's Share of Smartphone Market Drops to Lowest Level in Nearly Two Years

The latest data from market research firm IDC shows Samsung's share of the worldwide smartphone market dropped to 20% in the third quarter -- its lowest market share since recording 19.9% in the fourth quarter of 2014. IDC estimates Samsung shipped 72.5 million smartphones in the quarter, down 13.5% compared to the estimated 83.8 million smartphones it shipped in the year-ago period.

The decline can be at least partially attributed to Samsung's disastrous Galaxy Note7 recall in early September, although the impact of that move on the third quarter was limited to only a few weeks. Samsung's market share and financial results will likely suffer more greatly in the fourth quarter as the recall and subsequent discontinuation of the Galaxy Note7 weigh on the entire three-month period.

Apple finished runner-up to Samsung as usual with 45.5 million iPhones sold, down 5.3% versus the 48 million iPhones it sold in the same quarter last year. Apple's worldwide market share was 12.5%, down slightly from 13.4% in the year-ago quarter. Samsung's Galaxy Note7 recall could further boost sales of the already-popular iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus heading into the holiday shopping season.
Higher than expected iPhone 7 Plus demand outstripped supply, which should be alleviated through the fourth quarter, helped by new features such as water resistance, faster processing, improved optics, and larger storage capacities. A new "jet black" color option has also proven popular with many carriers and retail partners are still showing the device on back order. IDC believes that the iPhone

Apple's Custom Mobile Chip Designs Gradually Expanding to Include Graphics Hardware

After years of recruiting graphics architects, Apple has gradually shifted from licensing PowerVR graphics to designing its own custom GPUs for iPhones, according to David Kanter at Real World Technologies.

The new graphics processor is said to have first shipped with the A8 chip in the iPhone 6, with successive versions built into in the A9 and A10 Fusion chips powering the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 lineups respectively.

For context, Kanter said a modern GPU has three major components that work together in harmony to render graphics:
The first is the fixed-function graphics hardware, which is responsible for tasks like processing API commands, triangle rasterization, and raster output. The second is the shader core, which is the heart of the GPU and executes programmable shaders (e.g., vertex, geometry, pixel, and compute shaders). Last, the graphics driver is the software that runs on the CPU and ties everything together, coordinating the activities of the GPU. The driver transforms graphics applications written in the Metal or OpenGL ES APIs into a series of commands for the fixed-function hardware and programmable shaders that execute on the shader cores.
Apple previously relied on PowerVR chipmaker Imagination Technologies to supply fixed-function graphics hardware, shader cores, and drivers for older-generation iPhones, but Kanter said Apple has since replaced the programmable shader cores with its own more efficient and higher performance design, and developed its own driver and compiler to emit code for its architecture.

While Apple's GPU architecture has

Apple Delays AirPods, October Launch No Longer Happening

When Apple debuted its AirPods in September, the company said the wireless earbuds would launch in late October. Now that it's late October, people have been wondering if a release is imminent, but as it turns out, the AirPods are delayed.

Apple today told TechCrunch that it needs "a little more time" before the AirPods are ready for a public release, without specifying the reason behind the delay.

"The early response to AirPods has been incredible. We don't believe in shipping a product before it's ready, and we need a little more time before AirPods are ready for our customers," an Apple spokesperson said to TechCrunch.
Apple did not provide TechCrunch with updated launch information, so it is no longer clear when the AirPods will be available for purchase.

AirPods are Apple's premium headphone solution for the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, which do not include a headphone jack. AirPods, powered by Bluetooth and an Apple-designed W1 chip, are entirely wireless with no cords between them.

They include advanced features like infrared sensors to detect when they're in the ear, beam forming microphones to reduce external noise, and accelerometers to respond to touch gestures.

AirPods have been in the hands of reviewers since September and have garnered largely positive reviews for the fit, the features, the simple setup, and the easy

Microsoft Announces Surface Book i7, Desktop PC 'Surface Studio,' and Windows 10 Creators Update

At its media event today in New York City, Microsoft announced a new update coming to Windows 10 devices that's focused on creativity and productivity tools, as well as two major new pieces of hardware: the Surface Book i7 and Surface Studio. The Surface Book is the second generation of last year's original model, while the Surface Studio is the company's all new, all-in-one desktop PC that's aimed at the high-end, enterprise market with a starting price of $2,999.

Windows 10 Creators Update

Coming in early 2017, Microsoft today announced the newest update for Windows 10 devices, which it calls the "Creators Update." In the update, the company aims to enhance user productivity with a collection of 3D creation tools, including a new update to Paint called "Paint 3D," that use simplified interfaces to let anyone work and produce fully 3D artwork and projects. With a Windows Phone -- and eventually coming to more devices -- users can even scan real-world objects into digital form to send to friends and family.

Microsoft also showed off the upcoming "3D magic" in the Creators Update using Hololens, including a way for users to preview pieces of furniture in their own homes from a web browser. Windows 10 is gaining support for various VR headsets from companies like HP, Lenovo, Asus, and Acer, that all let users interact with the Creators Update's "mixed-reality" abilities, including a feature called "Holo Tours" that transports Windows 10 users into 360-degree videos taken around the world.

Priority contacts will be placed on the Windows 10 toolbar in the

Apple Said to Debut Three Glass-Backed iPhone 8 Models, Including New 5-Inch Size, in 2017

Apple is working on three new iPhone 8 models to be released in 2017, all of which will include glass-backed bodies, reports Japanese news site Nikkei. Previous rumors have also pointed towards three iPhone 8 models, but past information suggested that Apple would release one "premium" glass-backed model with an OLED display and two "standard" aluminum models rather than three models with a glass body.

Citing a supply chain source, Nikkei says Apple will release the three iPhones in the following sizes: 5.5 inches, 5 inches, and 4.7 inches. The site still believes one premium model with a curved edge-to-edge OLED display will be sold alongside two models that have standard LCD displays.

Edge-to-edge iPhone concept image via ConceptsiPhone
"Apple has tentatively decided that all the 5.5-inch, 5-inch and 4.7-inch models will have glass backs, departing from metal casings adopted by current iPhones, and Biel and Lens are likely to be providing all the glass backs for the new iPhones next year," the source said.
All three iPhone 8 models will use glass supplied by Biel Crystal Manufactory and Lens Technology in China for both the front and back, which will be held together with an aluminum frame. Foxconn has been working on glass backs, but Biel is said to have the technological edge.

Because it is early in the development cycle, Nikkei warns that Apple's plans could still change and it could decide to scrap plans to offer three devices. In 2016, early iPhone 7 rumors also pointed towards three devices, including one 4.7-inch iPhone and two 5.5-inch models, one with