Yesterday was Microsoft Corporation’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) turn in the spotlight, but today all eyes were on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). The company just wrapped up an event in Cupertino where it revealed the long-awaited new MacBook Pro, complete with Touch Bar and Touch ID sensor. Here’s what AAPL announced today.
The MacBook Pro is a critical anchor in AAPL’s Mac computer lineup.
The company has kept its professional users waiting a long time. The MacBook Pro hadn’t seen a revision in over 500 days, and during that time, Microsoft introduced it’s first laptop in the Surface Book — and then took the wraps off a version it claimed offered three times the speed of a 13-inch MacBook Pro. Today, AAPL fired back.
The New MacBook Pro
After pointing out that this week marks 25 years of Apple laptops, the new MacBook Pro was introduced.
Available in 13-inch and 15-inch sizes, the new MacBook Pro is significantly thinner, lighter and more powerful than the previous generation. It has a Force Touch trackpad that has doubled in size and uses the butterfly keyboard pioneered with the new MacBook.
The display is 67% brighter and graphics performance is boosted by over 50% to as much as 130% when working with 3D graphics. The 15-inch MacBook Pros come standard with a sixth generation Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) Core i7 CPU, while the 13-inch version comes with the a Core i5 with the option of upgrading to the Core i7. Both offer up to 10-hour battery life.
But the big feature is the one everyone’s been talking about for weeks: the Touch Bar. Replacing the function keys is a multi-touch Retina resolution strip. It replaces the function keys, but also changes to display keys and functions that are specific to the application you’re using. It incorporates a Touch ID sensor, for password-free unlocking and Apple Pay online purchases.
AAPL also went with USB-C on the new MacBook Pro. But this time — unlike the old MacBook — there are four. So that’s four ports that can be used as any combination of USB, Thunderbolt 3 or power. A lot of MacBook Pro users are still going to have to invest in adapters for their peripherals, but at least they can connect more than one at a time.
The company is also offering an entry level 13-inch MacBook Pro without that Touch Bar and just two USB-C ports. It’s thinner than the 13-inch MacBook Air and weighs the same three pounds.
Pricing starts at $1,499 for the “budget” 13-inch MacBook Pro, $1,799 for the full featured version and $2,399 for the 15-inch new MacBook Pro. Pre-orders start today.
In addtion to the new MacBook Pro, AAPL also discussed Apple TV at its event.
No new hardware, but Apple announced Minecraft is coming to the Apple TV. Turning to television, Tim Cook stated AAPL’s goal for the Apple TV to be a unified TV experience. Supporting that goal? No Apple cable package … instead, there’s a new app called TV that serves as a hub to track all the TV shows and movies a user regularly watches, through all their viewing apps and across all their devices. It also supports live sports broadcasts, where available — and Siri knows the schedules.
No sign of support for Netflix, Inc.‘s (NASDAQ:NFLX) streaming service, though.
What Was Missing From AAPL’s Event?
A display from LG was mentioned with the new MacBook Pro, so it looks like the rumored Apple-branded monitor to replace the discontinued Thunderbolt Display is dead for now. There was also no sign of a new MacBook Air, and the 11-inch was indeed discontinued, although the 13-inch model will apparently remain as an entry level laptop. Also missing in action was a new iMac.
Is this the last Apple event for 2016? Probably. AAPL usually wraps things up by the end of October. But we’re going into the crucial holiday season with an Apple TV that’s priced much higher than the competition and lacks 4K support.
A new app isn’t going to cut it when you can buy a 4K Google Chromecast Ultra for $69 from Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL). If there’s going to be another announcement from AAPL this year, it’s going to be about Apple TV, either a pricing cut or a new 4K model.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.