Hands-on with Apple’s new Touch Bar MacBook Pro

At first glance, it looks an awful lot like the same MacBook Pro we’ve become accustom to seeing over the last several years. The TrackPad is the first indication that something’s different here. It’s huge. Twice as big as the last version, and thankfully now carrying the Force Touch technology the company perfected with the last version of the standard MacBook, perfectly mimicking the analog click to the point where it’s virtually indistinguishable.


If you’re standing off to the side, you’ll spot the ports. Two Thunderbolts on each side, clean and uniform, and the balance is once again restored for the Apple aesthetic universe. Save of, course, for the headphone jack still located on the right side, for now, at least.


The eagle-eyed might pick up the fact that the system is thinner – or that the screen is brighter, though it probably helps to have an older version right by it for sake of comparison. From there, however, you’ll pick out the key new feature, the row of function keys now lost to obsolescence, in favor of a thin, black, glossy strip.


The Touch Bar (a much catchier name than the rumored Magic Toolbar, mind) is, in a word, neat. Sure the company put the new feature through its paces on stage, but press conference demos in an in-person usage are two different things entirely. The strip itself is glossy. Not quite slick, but frictionless enough so as to run a finger across with little effort.


It’s a secondary Retina Display, which mean it’s capable of displaying some fairly high-res graphics, in spite of the fact that most of what you’ll be interacting with will be big and button button-like functionality. Click into Photos, however, and you’ll get little thumbnails that you can scroll through. Click into Safari and you get small images of the tabs you have open.


It’s quick and responsive, reacting to multi-touch and the amount of pressure the user applies. It also adapts quite quickly as you toggle between different apps. It’s a really cool and really versatile new addition – like having a small mobile display embedded directly into the Notebook.


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