Apple Unveils Touch Bar Features in New MacBook Pros Including Touch ID

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Apple announced a new Retina display 'Touch Bar' replacing the function key strip on the keyboards of its two top-tier MacBook Pro notebooks at its "Hello again" event today.

Apple software engineer Craig Federighi showed off the customizable sapphire crystal Touch Bar in action, which can also be used as a traditional Function key set and supports a host of native and third-party apps.

touch bar
Apple says the Touch ID component in the Touch Bar features an Apple T1 chip with a secure enclave for security purposes.

The Touch ID sensor recognizes account holders instantly and also supports account switching. System controls can be used and they also support gestures and swipes for controlling brightness, for example.

Contextual controls in apps are fully supported. For example, the Mail app gains Touch Bar controls for composing messages, replying, flagging, filing, and formatting options.

When composing, Quick Type options like in iOS appear on the bar, with like Siri predictions. Emojis are also displayed in the Messages app: browsing emojis by frequently used or by category can be achieved with simple swipes.

Naviagation in and between apps is also included. The touch bar can be used to move between tabs, previews, previews. and opening new tabs with favorites ready to select.

Lastly, Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, and Photos are also supported - users can use Photoshop tools, swipe through photo collections, and use playback controls when viewing photos and editing videos.

Related Roundups: MacBook Pro 13", MacBook Pro 16"

Top Rated Comments

RowellE Avatar
55 months ago
I feel like most of the stuff you do on the Touch Bar is what the trackpad is for...
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mac 128 Avatar
55 months ago
While I think there's some great potential here ... a lot of the touch bars just replace things that could be accessed by the mouse, requiring a person to take their hands off the trackpad.

I suppose this is all getting us ready for Touch-based macOS...
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thisisnotmyname Avatar
55 months ago
I like the concept. Hope they provide a new magic keyboard too so I can be consistent on my Mac Pro too.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
netsped Avatar
55 months ago

I feel like most of the stuff you do on the Touch Bar is what the trackpad is for...

And keyboard shortcuts.

The lady demoing Final Cut appears to find Touch Bar really uncomfortable using it though.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lhymes Avatar
55 months ago
I find it odd that Apple has developed a means of interacting with content creation that takes your eyes away from the content... hate to be the one to say this, but the whole thing is very counter-intuitive.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Scoobysnack1 Avatar
55 months ago
Wow! That was completely underwhelming. And the prices are just incredible. I don't think I can justify this kind of expense for a laptop. They've completely price themselves out of the range of 99% of the population. Computers for the 1%. Just like the iPad pros, way too expensive. I guess I'm gonna have to learn to live with windows 10. Apple has completely done away with their entry and mid level computers and gone super ultra high premium. For the first time in 35 years I will have to be a Windows user. Too bad. I'm a little sad to say goodbye community. It's been nice being one of you.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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