Apple’s MacBook Pro adds touch bar, but high prices cause Twitter backlash
Apple has revealed the latest model in its MacBook line up which adds a fingerprint reader and a long, thin touch screen called Touch Bar that replaces traditional function keys.
But the laptops have also been priced considerably higher than the previous generation and are now several hundred pounds more expensive.
The Touch Bar, the redesign’s most obvious new feature, is powered by the W1 chip that is found inside the Apple Watch and even runs Watch OS in a secure enclave to boost the laptop’s security features.
The bar adapts to whatever program is running on the main screen to offer additional functionality, such as showing older versions of a picture being edited or offering a scrubber to easily navigate through videos.
It also has a fingerprint reader built into it for accessing Apple Pay and logging into the device.
With Apple’s iPhone taking centre stage in its product line-up recently, the new MacBook Pros are the first substantial redesign in several years.
Ben Bajarin, an analyst at Creative Strategies, described the changes as “important incremental upgrades” which would convince people with old Macs to trade up to the smaller, faster model.
But he noted that Microsoft’s competing Surface notebook allowed touch on its main screen.
“A lot of people spend a lot of time on these machines. The key for them is incremental innovations that make their job easier,” said Bajarin. “That’s value.”
The new pricing is roughly line with expectations, Bajarin said, but it surprised some.
On Twitter, many potential buyers were underwhelmed by the new features and posted pictures of people crying about the new prices. Apple shares fell 1.2 percent.
The MacBook Pro with Touch ID, Touch Bar and a 13-inch screen will start at £1,749, compared with £1,249 for the previous 13-inch product. Apple also will offer a 13-inch MacBook Pro without the Touch ID and Touch Bar for £1,449.
The 15-inch notebook will start at £2,349, compared with £1,899 for the previous version.
The Mac line accounted for about 11 per cent of Apple sales in the just-finished fiscal year, with the number of machines sold down by 10 per cent to 18.5 million.
Apple has steadily upgraded components to the MacBook Pro, but the overall form has changed little, and PC Week described the unit being replaced as a “fossil” which had not had a major design change since 2013.
Apple also announced a new TV app that would work on Apple TV, iPhone and iPad products, in an effort to make it easier to tune into programmes across devices although it is only available in the US for now.
The company also said that it would integrate Twitter feeds into live sports games on Apple TV, adding a social element to the product.
Last month, Apple unveiled the latest iteration of its iPhone along with the Apple Watch Series 2, the second iteration of its wearable device.