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Apple Event Recap: New MacBook Pro revealed, full specs and UK prices here

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Apple October 2016 MacBook Pro launch event: The Apple keynote is finally over, and we've got a bunch of software and hardware news to spill. Here’s the latest from Cupertino.

Apple event overview

As predicted, Apple confirmed new Apple TV features that make it easier to watch content from a bunch of different channels and apps. The main way it’s doing this is through a new Apple TV app that’s appropriately named ‘TV’.

And the other main announcement was the new MacBook Pro 2016, which comes in three different variants. Two of these variants include the long-rumoured OLED Touch Bar, which adds new functionality to the keyboard.

Read on for the full details.

Apple TV news – a new app for 'unified' television

Apple CEO Tim Cook began proceedings by revealing that Minecraft will be coming to Apple TV, repeating the company’s time-honoured mantra: “We believe the future of TV is apps.”

The Cupertino, Californian tech giant also announced that Twitter would be integrated with Apple TV. For instance, when you’re watching sport, you’ll be able to see tweets from journalists, media outlets, and businesses that are relevant to the content. You’ll also see audience polls that you can interact with.

Related: New MacBook Pro Features

twitter

Cook also unveiled a new app called ‘TV’, explaining: “We want Apple TV to be the one place to access all of your television. A unified TV experience."

So what does it actually do? Well, there’s an ‘Up Next’ tab that will surface media you’ve paid for, the next episode of TV shows you’re watching, and newly released episodes of TV shows. You can also swipe down and find editor-curated content across movies and TV, all pulled from your apps. Selecting content will direct you straight to an app, where the media will begin playing immediately. You'll also be able to find locally stored iTunes content through the TV app.

Related: Microsoft Surface Pro 5

Perhaps more excitingly, Apple has integrated Siri into the TV app. You could, for instance, ask Siri to start playing a TV show, and you should be able to watch the programme from where you left off. Siri will also let you access live content – like news channels – with voice commands. You'll then be able to use the Apple TV app on your smartphone to select different news stories. Apple has also added contextual understanding; if you say 'Watch the Louisville game' to Siri, the app will know that you want to watch an NFL match and take you straight to the live broadcast – it's (appropriately) called Siri Live Tune-in.

tv app

The TV app is going to be available on your Apple TV and iPad, and will work in exactly the same way on both platforms (hopefully). It will be available for free by the end of the year in the United States, but not in the UK – sorry, Brits.

New MacBook Pro 2016

As (semi-)expected, Apple announced three brand new MacBook Pro models for 2016, confirming months of rumours and speculation. Like before, there are 13-inch and 15-inch versions of the MacBook Pro, both of which are thinner, lighter, and more powerful than their predecessors.

The cheaper 13-inch MacBook Pro ships today, and costs £1,449 ($1,499), while the more expensive 13-inch MacBook Pro ships in two to three weeks, and costs £1,749 ($1,799). And the 15-inch MacBook Pro ships in two to three weeks at a starting price of £2,349 ($2,399). All three devices are available to order from today.

The Mac is more than a product to us. It’s a testament to everything we do and everything we create at Apple,” said Cook. “It’s not just important to us, it’s important to the world. It’s had a profound impact in education, design, business, the arts, the sciences, and so many areas.”

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MacBook Pro Design: The 13-inch model is 14.9mm thick, which is 17% thinner than the previous model. It’s also 23% smaller in volume, and weighs just three pounds. Meanwhile, the 15-inch model is 15.5mm thick (that’s 14% down on the old model), and 20% smaller in volume. It’s also half a pound lighter than the old model, weighing in at 4lbs. There’s a new Force Touch trackpad on both models that’s twice as big as the old one, and both MacBooks will be available in Silver and Space Grey colour options. All the new notebooks feature a 10-hour quoted battery life.

Related: Microsoft Surface Studio vs iMac

MacBook Pro specs: The 15-inch MacBook Pro features a 6th-gen Intel Core i7 quad-core processor and 2,133MHz RAM. There's also an AMD Radeon Pro GPU built on 14nm GPU Polaris architecture, paired with 4GB of vRAM. Storage is a 3.1GB/s 'superfast' SSD with options up to 2TB, and there are new speakers with "twice the dynamic range of audio", according to Phil Schiller, Apple's SVP of Internet Software & Services. And there's also a new thermal architecture with thinner heat-pipes. Apple says all of this translates to performance increases of 130% for 3D graphics, 60% for gaming, and 57% for video editing, compared to the old model. And finally, this model has four USB-C standard Thunderbolt 3 ports each, all of which can charge your device, as well as supporting Thunderbolt, USB, DisplayPort, HDMI, or VGI connections.

mbp performance

Meanwhile, the 13-inch MacBook Pro comes in dual-core Intel Core i5 or i7 configurations, both with 2,133MHz memory. There's Intel's Iris Graphics with 64MB of eDRAM that Apple reckons will provide double the graphical performance of the old model, and a 3.1GB/s SSD. According to Apple, you'll see performance increases of 103% for gaming and 76% for video editing and graphics. It comes with the same ports as the 15-inch model, but there's a caveat – there's a second, cheaper 13-inch MacBook Pro that features just two Thunderbolt 3 ports and standard function keys.

Here's a breakdown of all three models:

new macbooks

OLED Touch Bar: Perhaps the most exciting change was the addition of a (massively leaked) new OLED 'Touch Bar' that replaces the top row of function keys on the keyboard. It can display information, notifications, quick-type suggestions, and quick access to Siri. You can set brightness and volume with a slide or tap, and it’ll adapt to whatever software you’re using, including some third-party apps like Adobe Photoshop, Djay Pro, and Microsoft Office and Skype. If you’re in Safari, you’ll see buttons for your favourite websites. Once you’re on a website, you’ll see a search field, back button, and more. And on Mail, you'll see controls for trashing messages, replying, and even predictive actions. For instance, the Touch Bar might suggest moving an e-mail to a certain folder, based on your habits – spooky, huh?

"It’s so easy to answer a FaceTime call right from the TouchBar,” said Schiller. “It controls your music playback in iTunes."

touch bar

This bar also has Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner built in, which can be used to unlock the notebook or make online purchases via Apple Pay. The sensor doubles as the power button, and is covered by a sapphire glass that Schiller reckons "feels great". The Touch Bar is powered by a new Apple T1 chip that features a secure enclave – that should stop thieves nicking your biometrics (and bank balance).

But the headline feature is that you can use the Touch Bar to browse emoji *cue millennial swooning*:

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Related: Download Windows 10 Creators Update

Full specs for New MacBook Pro models

13-inch MacBook Pro (No Touch Bar):

  • Display: 13-inch LED-backlit IPS 2,560 x 1,600 pixels (227ppi, 500 nits brightness)
  • Processor: 2.0GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 (boost to 3.1GHz) OR 2.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 (boost to 3.4GHz)
  • Storage: 256GB/215GB/1TB
  • Memory: 8GB of 1,866MHz LPDDR3 RAM OR 16GB
  • Graphics: Intel Iris Graphics 540
  • Ports: 2x Thunderbolt 3
  • Connectivity: 802.11 ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Camera: 720p FaceTime HD
  • Audio: Stereo speakers, two microphones, 3.5mm jack
  • Battery: 54.5Wh (10-hour browsing, 30-day standby)
  • Dimensions: 14.9 x 304.1 x 210.2mm, 1.37kg

13-inch MacBook Pro (Touch Bar):

  • Display: 13-inch LED-backlit IPS 2,560 x 1,600 pixels (227ppi, 500 nits brightness)
  • Processor: 2.9GHZ dual-core Intel Core i5 (boost to 3.3GHz) OR 3.1GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 (boost to 3.5GHz) OR 3.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 (boost to 3.6GHz)
  • Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB
  • Memory: 8GB of 2,133MHz LPDDR3 RAM OR 16GB
  • Graphics: Intel Iris Graphics 550
  • Ports: 4x Thunderbolt 3
  • Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Camera: 720p FaceTime HD
  • Audio: Stereo speakers, three microphones, 3.5mm jack
  • Battery: 49.2Wh (10-hour browsing, 30-day standby)
  • Dimensions: 14.9 x 304.1 x 210.2mm, 1.37kg

15-inch MacBook Pro (Touch Bar):

  • Display: 15.4-inch LED-backlit IPS 2,880 x 1,800 pixels (220ppi, 500nits brightness)
  • Processor: 2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 (boost to 3.5GHz) OR 2.9GHz (boost to 3.8GHz) OR 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 (boost to 3.6GHz), OR 2.9GHz Intel Core i7 (boost to 3.8GHz)
  • Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB
  • Memory: 16GB of 2,133MHz LPDDR3 RAM
  • Graphics: Radeon Pro 450 with 2GB of GDDR5 or Radeon Pro 460 with 4GB of GDDR5 or Radeon Pro 455 with 2GB of GDDR5 – all with Intel Graphics 530
  • Ports: 4x Thunderbolt 3
  • Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Camera: 720p FaceTime HD
  • Audio: Stereo speakers, three microphones, 3.5mm jack
  • Battery: 76Wh (10-hour browsing, 30-day standby)
  • Dimensions: 15.5 x 349.3 x 240.7mm, 1.83kg

Related: CES 2017

Watch Now: Apple MacBook Pro event 2016 preview

Will the new MacBook Pro come with a 'Touch Bar'? Are we likely to see a 4K Apple TV? Let us know in the comments below.

Menorca Man

October 27, 2016, 7:50 pm

Hmm, I wonder how long it'll be before Apple claim to own the copyright to the term "TV" ?!!

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