Apple has the first major update to its Macbook Pro line since 2012. The new models feature a new, smaller body, less weight, and less bezel. Internally, these new models sport Intel’s Skylake processors, which bring greater performance per watt than previous generations. Three models are announced, and while all of them are Macbook Pro’s, one of them is touted as a replacement for the Macbook Air. The new models are said to have 10-hour battery life for basic web browsing and productivity tasks.
On the two higher end models, Apple has replaced all ports with four Thunderbolt 3 ports and a single headphone jack. USB-A, HDMI, the SD card slot, and Magsafe charging are all absent. Thunderbolt 3 uses a physical USB-C connection, which allows for charging, USB, display output, and Ethernet on a single cable. Any of the four ports is capable of charging the laptop.
The first 13-inch model has the option of dual-core i5 or i7 processors, with 8GB of RAM standard. The 15-inch model comes exclusively with quad-core i7’s and 16GB RAM. It also comes with a Polaris-based Radeon 450 with 2/4GB options. There is no option for integrated graphics only on the new 15-inch model.
Apple has also added an OLED panel above the keyboard. Dubbed the Touch Bar, this strip is touch sensitive for up to ten fingers and can change depending on the active program. Apple showcased it with Photoshop and a DJ app, which allowed quick access to controls and shortcuts. The right portion of the bar is both the power button and a Touch ID sensor. Like iOS devices, this new Mac has a secure enclave for added security. This prevents tampering or data leaking to unauthorized programs.
Curiously, there’s also a lower-end 13-inch model. It has the same body of the other 13-inch model, but it lacks the Touch Bar, and is limited to two Thunderbolt 3 ports rather than four. It also has a slower model of i5 than the other 13-inch model. Apple is positioning this as the replacement for the 13-inch Macbook Air. As of this writing, the Air is still available for purchase, but it will likely not be updated.
The lower end 13-inch model is shipping now, and the higher end 13-inch and 15-inch models are shipping in 2-3 weeks. They start at $1499, $1799, and $2399 respectively.