This is Apple’s new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, Touch ID & more!

“The Mac is more than a product to us. It’s a testament to everything we do and create at Apple,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook at today’s “Hello again” Mac event as he unveiled long-expected updates to Pro notebooks. The new MacBook Pro has, as rumored, a programmable OLED touch bar substituting the function key row, called Touch Bar.

There’s also a Touch ID sensor powered by a new Apple-designed T1 chip. Like its predecessor, the new MacBook Pro comes in 13 and 15-inch flavors and each is available in Silver or Space Gray finish. hello again event macbook pro compare

The notebooks have a 2x larger trackpad with ForceTouch haptic feedback (46 percent larger on the 13-inch MacBook Pro and twice as large on the 15-inch MacBook Pro) and are driven by Intel’s latest Skylake chips with faster graphics. The iconic glowing Apple logo on the lid is gone, however, like on the existing twelve-inch MacBook.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro weighs in at three pounds, almost half a pound lighter than the previous generation. It’s seventeen percent thinner and has 25 percent less volume than the previous-generation MacBook Pro.

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The 15-incher weighs in at 4 pounds, is fourteen percent thinner and has twenty percent less volume. The biggest news is the new Touch Bar feature. Touch Bar, as mentioned, provides one-touch access to all of the functions previously provided by dedicated hardware function keys, and then some more.

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When you’re multitasking, Touch Bar shortcuts change depending on the app being used. It’s great that Touch Bar provides autocorrect suggestion when typing on the keyboard, has a dedicated Siri button and even suggests emoji replacements.

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In fact, it provides a dedicated interface for browsing all your emoji by category, frequently used and more—by way of swiping. In other apps, Touch Bar lets you create new tabs, manage your windows and more.

In Photos, as another example, a photo strip is rendered on the Touch Bar so you can quickly select an image to work with. You can even rotate photos, make color adjustments and more, right on the Touch Bar.

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In the Finder, you can customize any toolbar features like the screenshot control to appear on the Touch Bar simply by dragging an item from the toolbar down until it drops on Touch Bar. And when customizing Touch Bar, the icons wiggle like on iOS.

Touch Bar has controls for iWork apps, iTunes, Terminal and other Apple apps, with a developer API available to enable custom shortcuts in third-party apps.

Both machines have a second-generation Touch ID with sapphire crystal protection. With a fingerprint scan, customers can unlock their Mac, switch user accounts and authenticate Apple Pay purchases on the web. “Touch ID enables a quick, accurate reading of your fingerprint and uses sophisticated algorithms to recognize and match it with the Secure Enclave in the new Apple T1 chip,” Apple said.

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The Mac’s Touch ID sensor is powered by a brand new Apple-designed chip, called the T1, which has a Secure Enclave to support strong security and privacy like on iPhone.

Compared to the previous generation, the new MacBook Pro’s Retina screen is 67 brighter, has 67 percent greater contrast and gives you 25 percent more colors while consuming thirty percent less power than before.

It is the first Mac notebook display to support a wider color gamut. Both new machines have four Thunderbolt 3 ports providing a whopping 30GB/s bandwidth and allowing users to drive a 5K display and power their MacBook Pro with a single cable.

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The new Thunderbolt standard is port-compatible with USB-C (also known as USB 3.1 Generation 2), meaning all your USB-C devices can be connected to the new MacBook Pro’s Thunderbolt ports. Thunderbolt 3 also supports the DisplayPort 1.2 video interconnect standard.

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Any of the four Thunderbolt 3 ports can be used as a USB-C charging port. In fact, any of the four Thunderbolt 3 ports can be Thunderbolt 3, USB-C or Display Port without any adapter, or become HDMI or VGA with an adapter.

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The 13-inch model comes with either Intel’s dual-core Core i5 or i7 with a 2,133 MHz memory, integrated Intel Iris graphics with 64 megabytes of eDRAM that’s two times faster on average or 103 percent faster in gaming and 76 percent faster in video editing and 3D graphics. The SSD in the 13-incher provides a throughput of 3.1 Gb/s.

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As for the more powerful 15-incher model, it’s powered by Intel’s sixth-generation quad-core Core i7 processor with faster 2,1333MHz memory and discreet Radeon Pro graphics that’s part of AMD’s new 14-nanometer Polaris architecture. You can outfit the graphics card with up to four gigabytes of dedicated video RAM.

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Graphics on the 15-inch MacBook Pro is up to 2.4 faster than the previous-generation MacBook Pro with 60 percent faster gaming, 57 percent faster video editing and 130 percent faster 3D graphics. As for the SSD, the 15-inch MacBook Pro can be outfitted with up to 2TB FusionDrive while the SSD provides a throughout of 3.1 GB/s.

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Last but not least, both new MacBook Pros have an all-new speaker design with twice the dynamic range of the previous generation. Battery? You get a ten-hour battery life.

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The machines are available for pre-order today from Apple.com, Apple retail stores and authorized resellers, shipping in 2-3 weeks. The standard 13-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.9 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 chip with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.3 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 256GB SSD, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, Touch ID and Touch Bar costs $1,799.

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The flagship 15-incher with a 2.6 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 chip with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.5 GHz, 16GB RAM, discreet AMD Radeon Pro 450 graphics, 256GB SSD, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, Touch ID and Touch Bar will set you back $2,399.

hello again event macbook pro prices

For MacBook Air fans, Apple has created a 13-inch MacBook Pro model without Touch Bar and Touch ID and with the familiar row of function hardware keys. That machine, priced at $1,4999, ships today.

It’s powered by a 2 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 chip with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1 GHz, has 8 GB of RAM, integrated Intel Iris 540 graphics, two Thunderbolt 3 ports rather than four and comes with 256GB SSD.

The current MacBook Air continues to be available without a hardware refresh. Additional technical specifications, configure-to-order options and accessories are available online at apple.com/macbookpro.

By the way, this week mark’s 25th anniversary of Apple’s first notebook, the PowerBook, which defined the modern notebook with a matrix-dot display and a keyboard-forward design that created room for a trackpad and other features.

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Apple officially schedules iPhone 6s and 6s Plus event for September 9!

Apple has started sending out press invites for its next big event. This will take place on September 9 at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California, a venue with seating capacity for around 7,000 people, and one that the Cupertino company hasn’t used before.

This means we may witness one of Apple’s biggest launch events in its history. It’s obviously expected to announce the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, These have been said to sportForce Touch tech inside their touchscreens, a higher-res camera than their predecessors, a new chipset, and more RAM. As always with “s” releases, expect the exterior to remain unchanged.

Pre-orders for the new smartphones will start on September 11, two days after their unveiling, while sales should begin a week later than that, on September 18, for the first wave of markets. A second wave of availability should hit on September 25. All of this information has been leaked numerous times already, along with a possible September 8 or 9 announcement date. So now that this has been confirmed, there’s no point in doubting the rest of the rumored timeline.

There could be other new stuff in store for us too. A more affordable iPhone 6c has been in and out of the rumors for many months now, so it’s still unclear whether it will ever become reality. On the other hand, Apple might also unveil new iPads, perhaps even the much-rumored iPad Pro. A revised Apple TV may be in the works too, though there’s no telling if it’s going to be ready in time for this event.

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Apple Store goes down ahead of today’s iPad event. Live video stream available on Apple’s website!

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The online Apple Stores in the United States and the world over have gone offline ahead of today’s iPad event. Just a few minutes ago, Apple also updated its homepage with the event teaser graphics and provided a link to live stream the event through a web browser on iOS devices and Macs. Additionally, the Apple Events channel on the Apple TV has been updated with the event listing so couch potatoes from around the world can enjoy the presentation as it unfolds, from the comfort of their living room…

Today’s event kicks off at 10am PST / 11am MST / 12pm CT / 1pm EST.

In other time zones, the event schedule works out to the following:

• London – 6:00 p.m.
• Paris – 7:00 p.m.
• Beirut – 8:00 p.m.
• Berlin – 7:00 p.m.
• Tokyo – 2:00 a.m. (Wednesday)
• Sydney – 4:00 a.m. (Wednesday)
• Auckland – 6:00 a.m. (Wednesday)

ECB will be on hand watching the event unfold so expect ongoing coverage, news articles, analysis and colorful commentary pre, during and post event.

In the meantime, check out our iPad event roundup for a sense of what to expect from today’s presentation.

What to expect from Apple’s iPad event tomorrow?

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Last week, Apple sent out media invitations for an event set to take place on Tuesday, October 22 at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, California. It’s believed that the event will focus on new iPads, but OS X Mavericks and new Macs are also expected to get some on-stage time.

On the iPad front, we’re anticipating a new 9.7-inch model with a redesigned shell, an A7 processor and other upgraded internals. And as for the iPad mini, it sounds like Apple’s tiny tablet is finally going to be getting that high resolution Retina display everyone has been asking for.

What else? Keep reading for our full rundown of what to expect from this week’s event…

iPad 5

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The media has been referring to Apple’s fifth generation 9.7-inch tablet as the ‘iPad 5,’ but there’s no telling what Apple’s going to call it. The company has toyed with a few nomenclatures in the line, including the ‘iPad 2,’ the ‘new iPad,’ and as it currently sits, the ‘iPad with Retina display.’

Outside

On the outside, the tablet is expected to look different than its predecessors. We’ve been seeing photos of purported ‘iPad 5′ shells since January, and they all collectively suggest that for the first time since the iPad 2 debuted in 2011, Apple has given the hardware a fairly significant overhaul.

That overhaul includes a big size reduction. It’s believed that the new tablet will be lighter than the current iPad, and 2 mm thinner. And if these recently-leaked schematics are accurate, it will also be 1mm shorter and—thanks to narrower side bezels—shrink in width by as much as 16mm.

Inside

As for the inside of the iPad 5, we’re expecting it to be running a variation of Apple’s new A7 processor. We actually haven’t seen any logic board leaks for the tablet yet, but the 64-bit chip has received a ton of praise thus far for its performance in the iPhone 5s, so we can’t imagine Apple not using it.

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The new slate is also believed to be getting an iSight bump, moving from a 5mp camera sensor to an 8mp one. Highly regarded analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says it will feature some of the same tech found in the 5s, like a larger aperture, but outside of his predictions, we haven’t heard or seen anything about it.

Other

There are still a number of unknowns here, like will the iPad 5 feature the M7 chip? It’s possible. Apple’s co-processor would help the tablet read the accelerometer without using too much power. And what about Touch ID? We’ve seen a few sketchy photos, but nothing concrete.

iPad mini 2

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Again, the media has been referring to the second generation iPad mini as the ‘iPad mini 2,’ but Apple could really go a number of ways with this. ‘The new iPad mini’ seems like a mouthful, as does ‘the iPad mini with Retina display.’ The iPod approach could work though, ‘the iPad mini (2nd gen).’

Outside

Unlike the iPad 5, the iPad mini 2 isn’t expected to look much different on the outside than the current model. If anything, it’s been said it may be a little thicker, due to the Retina display needing a larger battery. But as far as the actual design, we think it’ll be very similar. And purported shell leaks concur.

One difference you will notice on the outside though, again assuming that the bevy of reports we’ve seen over the past 6 months are accurate, is the new crisp Retina display. It’s said to feature the same 2048 x 1536 resolution as its larger sibling, but because it’s more compact, it’ll have a much better 324 ppi.

Inside

Not much has been said about the iPad mini 2′s internals thus far, and again there’s been nothing in the way of logic board leaks, but Ming-Chi Kuo is calling for a variation of the A7 chip. Its size shouldn’t be a problem, considering Apple uses it in the 5s, and with a Retina display, the new mini could use the power.

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Kuo is also calling for the mini 2 to get an iSight sensor bump, like the iPad 5, to 8 megapixels, with a larger aperture. Again, we have yet to see any proof of this—or anything else for that matter. Touch ID, despite these convincing photos that surfaced last month, is still a question mark, as is whether or not it will sport the M7.

Other

We’ve seen a number of reports claiming that the new iPad mini is going to be hard to find on launch day, due to very constrained inventory. It seems Apple is having trouble mass-producing the Retina displays for the compact tablet, to a point where the companyallegedly considered delaying the launch until next year.

New Macs

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We should see a few new Mac products on stage at this week’s event, including the redesigned Mac Pro and refreshed MacBook Pros. Apple is running out of time to make its ‘fall’ deadline with the Mac Pro, and the MacBook Pros are long overdue for their Haswell updates. We wouldn’t be surprised if non-Retina models weren’t mentioned.

Miscellaneous

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With OS X Mavericks—this year’s update for Apple’s desktop OS—already in Golden Master and Apple asking developers to submit their updates for the new software, we imagine it will get a fair amount of stage time. The company will likely go over a few of its new features, as well as offer update pricing and availability details.

As for other software, Apple has a number of iOS apps that have yet to receive their iOS-7 makeovers. And since the company likes to pitch its iPad as a productivity tool, we imagine we’ll at least get updates for the iLife and iWork suites—redesigned icons for GarageBand and iPhoto have already been spotted.

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Finally, remember that the tagline on the invites for the event reads ‘we still have a lot to cover,’ so there’s really no telling what else will show up. We wouldn’t be surprised to see a new version of Apple’s set-top box announced though, considering it’s been over 500 dayssince its last refresh and these recent Amazon ads.

Wrapping up

Although it may seem like just another iPad unveiling, consider these 3 things: 1. Apple forewent its usual iPad event in the spring of this year, making for a lengthy 12-month gap in major product releases. 2. There have been [comparatively] few iPad part leaks—we knew the iPhone 5s and 5c right down to the packaging.

And finally, 3. The event is being held at the Yerba Buena Center, which is a much larger venue than Apple’s on-campus auditorium it used for its iPhone 5s event. It holds a lot more people (more than double the amount of people according to John Gruber). Why did Apple choose the larger space? Good question.

We’ll be here all day Tuesday to cover the event live and bring you additional announcements and commentary. The keynote is scheduled to kickoff at 10am PDT / 1pm EDT. Until then, feel free to offer up your own predictions in the comments below!

Apple sends out invites for October 22 iPad event: ‘We still have a lot to cover’.

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The Wall Street Journal-owned technology blog, AllThingsD, reported last week that Apple’s next media event will take place on October 22, that’s next Tuesday. Sure enough, the company just sent out invites for the October 22 event to select members of the press. The invitation-only press conference will be held at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco and will begin at 10am PDT / 1pm EDT, John Paczkowski of AllThingsD first reported and The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple subsequently confirmed.

The invite graphics features a close up of the Apple logo set against the white background and a bunch of colorful apple leaves. “We still have a lot to cover,” reads the tagline…

The choice of venue doesn’t surprise me: Steve Jobs picked Yerba Buena Center to introduce the world to the original iPad back in 2010.

With October 22 now official, we can speculate some more on the nature of the event.

We’re of course expecting the new iPads, namely the fifth-generation full-size iPad and a second-generation iPad mini with Retina display. The iPad 5 should be thinner and lighter due to the iPad mini-style design with narrower side bezels, feature Touch ID and run the Apple-designed A7X chip, basically an improved version of the iPhone 5s’s 64-bit A7 processor.

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The iPad mini 2 may or may not receive a Retina display upgrade and it’s unclear whether it will gain Touch ID fingerprint scanning. Assuming Touch ID is a go for the iPad mini 2, the device should also feature the A7X chip as Apple’s 64-bit chip with its Secure Enclave protection is required for reliable and secure fingerprint scanning.

The AllThingsD author agrees:

The iPad 5 will run Apple’s new 64-bit A7 chip, source say. The second-generation iPad mini will be upgraded with a Retina display, and will also likely see the A7 incorporated into its innards.

Due to the bigger battery powering the Retina display, the iPad mini 2 could bulk up slightly. Both new iPads should also sport Apple’s eight-megapixel iSight camera on the back, new color finishes (White, Space Grey and Gold) and redesigned Smart Covers.

Of course, the company could surprise us with other product announcements such as OS X Mavericks, Haswell-driven MacBook Pros and iWork/iLife software updates.

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“The new Mac Pro and OS X Mavericks will likely get some stage time, as well,” writes Paczkowski.

The MacBook Pros are likely to receive a huge boost in terms of battery performance due to Intel’s fourth-generation Core chips code-named Haswell. We’re also hoping for Thunderbolt 2 I/O and enhanced Intel graphics (discreet GPUs on the high-end model) to drive 4K external displays.

As for the next-gen Mac Pro, Apple had previewed the upcoming dream desktop at June’s WWDC so we have a good idea what to expect: the latest Intel Xeon processors, speedy PCIe flash storage, USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 2 I/O, dual-workstation GPUs capable of driving up to three external displays running at 4K resolution each and much, much more.

Finally, Apple might refresh the Apple TV hardware at the event, one pundit hopes.

By the way, it’s interesting Apple had “a little more” to show us in October 2012 and a year later there’s “a lot more” to show. To me, that indicates product launches beyond just new iPads.

If the French blog MacG is to be trusted, new iPads will land on store shelves on October 30 or 31, new MacBook Pros on October 25 or 25 and the next-gen Mac Pro on November 15.