The superlatives are already rolling in. My expectations for yesterday’s event were muted. I had read rumors about a touch bar, but I didn’t really get it. Until the rollout.
Apple did a superlative job with the MacBook Pro reveal. The Touch Bar itself is a thing of beauty, but Apple prepared well here, bringing a variety of apps to the stage to put the Touch Bar through its paces, to show how this Touch Bar makes possible a brand new way of interacting with your computer. This is so much more than what I expected, so much more than programmable soft keys.
And the reviewers seem to be loving it. Here are a few reviews, each with its own take on the details, from the weight, to the ports, to the trackpad, keyboard and, of course, the Touch Bar.
Deiter Bohn, writing for The Verge:
The new MacBook Pro is here — literally available for preorder today — and I’ve just tried it. The best thing I can say about is simple: everything about it looks and feels so good I almost didn’t believe it.
Rene Ritchie, writing for iMore:
The star of the show was the all-new Touch Bar, though. Think of it as a tiny 2170×60 iPad embedded right where the function keys used to be. Rumor has it it’s OLED, like Apple Watch, but it has a matte finish that feels much like the keyboard keys.
It leverages the same kind of data detectors and data predictors Apple has been building into macOS for years, but uses them to show context-dependent, highly curated, dynamic controls.
Yes, your ESC key is still there. As are your other system functions like volume and brightness. But tuck those away and apps take over. In Photos you can scroll through your thumbnails, quickly access edit controls, even swipe to rotate. In Final Cut Pro you can scrub through your time line. In Safari you can scroll through your windows and open new tabs. In Xcode, even in Terminal — no Apple app went untouched, as far as I could see — there are context aware shortcuts.
And the emoji. You get emoji suggestions, just like iOS, and can access the emoji picker right on the Touch Bar. You can also access Tapback emoji. It makes the new, funner Messages app ridiculously faster.
David Pierce, writing for Wired:
The new Pro, which comes with either a 13- or 15-inch screen, does look like the last model. Which is to say, it still looks like a laptop. But as soon as you open the thing up, crack your knuckles, and put fingers to keys, you won’t be confused anymore. Actually, you’ll figure it out before even that, as soon as you see that massive new trackpad.
But the keys really sell the change. The new Pro has the same keyboard as the super-thin MacBook, though it’s been tweaked a bit from the smaller model, and has a surprisingly satisfying amount of travel, but there’s no doubt your fingers are going to have to get used to a little less clack. Those shallow butterfly keys feel somewhere between the traditional mechanical keyboard and the on-screen keys on your iPhone.
Christina Warren, writing for Gizmodo:
The first thing I did, when presented with the new Macbook Pro, was reach for that dimly lit display just above the keyboard. The new Touch Bar is the most exciting part of the new MacBook Pro. It’s a Retina strip that sits on top of the keyboard (Retina commonly denotes a super high DPI) and is a replacement for the function keys that have existed on laptops for what feels like forever.
In typical Apple fashion, the company is touting this as a “revolutionary way to use your Mac.” Revolutionary is a bold claim, but after spending some time with the Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro, I have to admit, it is very, very cool.
And, of course, don’t miss the excellent first blush review of the MacBook Pro and Touch Bar from our own Jim Dalrymple.
Lots to absorb, lots to read, but so far, sounds like Apple has a real winner here.