Apple Inc. has finally updated its MacBook Pro lineup, which was the star of the show at its event Thursday. In addition to being thinner and lighter, the machines have new Touch Bar that replaces the standard function keys and adapts to the app being used on screen.
The 15-inch MacBook Pro also gets improved graphics with the new Radeon Pro graphics card. While both models enjoy a more responsive keyboard, a brighter Retina display, a larger trackpad and louder speakers.
Here’s a look at how the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar compares with the Microsoft Surface Book, which received a performance upgrade at that company’s event on Wednesday. The Surface Book with Performance Base gets both improved graphics with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M 2GB GPU and improved battery life, now offering up to 16 hours.
Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro vs. 15-inch MacBook Pro vs. Microsoft Surface Book with Performance Base: Tech Specs:
|13-inch MacBook Pro||15-inch MacBook Pro||Surface Book|
|Operating system||macOS Sierra||Windows 10 Pro|
|Display||13.3-inch LED-backlit Retina||15.4-inch LED-backlit Retina||13.5-inch PixelSense|
|Resolution||2,560 x 1,600 pixels||2,880 x 1,800 pixels||3,000 x 2,000 pixels (267ppi)|
|Processor||2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor||2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor or 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor||Intel Core i7 processor|
|Graphics||Intel Iris Graphics 550||Radeon Pro 450 with 2GB memory or Radeon Pro 455 with 2GB memory||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M 2GB GPU|
|RAM||8GB||16GB||Up to 16GB|
|Storage||256GB – 512GB PCIe-based SSD||256GB – 1TB SSD|
|Ports||Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports
|Two full-size USB 3.0
Full-size SD card reader.
Surface Connect for power and docking (base and clipboard).
Stereo headphone jack
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi: 802.11ac||Wi-Fi: 802.11ac|
|Battery||Up to 10 hours iTunes movie playback||Up to 16 hours battery life for local video playback|
|Dimensions (inches)||11.97 x 8.36 x 0.59||13.75 x 9.48 x 0.61||12.3 x 9.14 x 0.51- 0.90 (as a laptop)|
|Weight (pounds)||3.02||4.02||3.63 including keyboard|
|Fingerprint sensor||Yes, Touch ID||No, but has a facial recognition camera, supports Windows Hello|
|Base price & availability||From $1,800
Available for pre-order, ships in 4-5 weeks
|From $2,400Available for pre-order, ships in 3-4 weeks.||From $2,400, Surface Pen included.
Available for pre-order, ships 10 Nov.
Special features: Touch Bar and Surface Dial
A rumor that was making the rounds for months leading up to the Apple event was an OLED touch display that would replace the standard function keys. At its event yesterday, Apple didn’t disappoint with both the 13- and 15-inch models containing a new Touch Bar.
While the Touch Bar retains the functionality of the old function keys, like the ability to adjust sound and lighting, it also adapts according to the program the user is currently working on.
The incorporation of Touch ID into the Touch Bar means MacBook Pro users will be able to log into their device with their fingerprint and approve Apple Pay purchases. When users are in Photoshop, the Touch Bar will display various shortcuts to allow for quick editing of photos. While using the Mail app, the Touch Bar will display various emojis or offer predictive text suggestions. The user will also be able to customize the Touch Bar when using certain apps, like adding the attachment icon when using the Mail app.
At its Windows 10 event on Wednesday, Microsoft Corp. launched the Surface Dial, a wireless rotational peripheral with adaptive haptic feedback and 3,600 points of precision. The Surface Dial gives users quick access to tools and shortcuts and allows them to manipulate images, adjust volume, change color hues as well as create custom controls.
While the Surface Dial offers on and off-screen capabilities for the newly launched Surface Studio, it also offers off-screen capabilities for the Surface Book.
The MacBook Pro has gotten thinner, but that does mean that Apple has sacrificed various ports that were available on the old version.
The new MacBook Pro now has four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports and a headphone jack. Gone are the HDMI port, SD card slot, Thunderbolt 2 ports, standard USB port and MagSafe 2 charging port.
As most peripherals on the market aren’t compatible yet with Thunderbolt/USB-C you will need to purchase an adaptor in order to connect your new Mac with a monitor, portable drive and SD card.
Price and availability
The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and 256GB SSD will cost $1,800 while the model with 512GB SSD comes with a $2,000 price tag. Both are available for pre-order and will ship in four to five weeks. If you aren’t a fan of the Touch Bar you can get either a 128GB for $1,300 or a 256GB model for $1,500. Both are available immediately.
The 15-inch MacBook Pro comes in two models, both with the new Touch Bar. The 2.6GHz processor MacBook Pro with 256GB storage costs $2,400 while the 2.7GHz processor MacBook Pro with 512GB storage costs $2,800. Both are available for pre-order and will ship in three to four weeks.
The base model of the Surface Book is on par with the base model of the 15-inch MacBook Pro. However, while the storage is the same, the Surface Book has 8GB of RAM compared with 16GB from Apple. A 16GB Surface Book with 512GB of storage costs the same as the MacBook Pro at $2,800.
Sources: Apple, Microsoft
Images via Apple