Apple has revamped its MacBook Pro range delivering a device that is thinner, lighter and more powerful, and we were at the Apple Event at the company's headquarters to check it out ahead of it going on sale in November.

Rather than just roll out the usual annual revamp of new and improved internal specs, the company has added a new feature, called Touch Bar, that it hopes will change the way you use your Mac in the future.

Now available in grey or the traditional MacBook Pro silver, the new MacBook Pro will come in two sizes, 13- and 15-inch, and three different off the shelf models. It will feature a somewhat familiar design, but with a number of enhancements.

On the outside that means all the familiar ports have been removed, like the MacBook that launched in 2015. The MacBook Pro ditches the USB sockets, the SD card slot, DisplayPort, the Magsafe power adapter, in fact everything except the headphone socket - clearly not enough Courage just yet.

Don't panic though, the MacBook Pro does have connections. Four Thunderbolt 3 sockets that can be used to power and connect to an array of different devices, supporting standards like USB Type-C, DisplayPort, HDMI and more.

Those changes mean that the laptop is now considerably smaller and thinner than before, with Apple being able to shave 3mm off the thickness without resorting to the Apple MacBook Air trick of a thin wedge design. 

This is Apple simplifying, but it could also lead, in the short term, to dongle city, as you'll need to use adapters to connect most existing equipment you have, or upgrade to different cables.


Flip the lid and the new MacBook Pro has gone under a radical design change too. The screen is much brighter, crisper, and more colourful, with the 13-inch model offering a 2560 x 1600 pixel resolution and the 15-inch model 2880 x 1800 pixels. The keyboard has been tightened, getting the same feel as the MacBook, while the trackpad has doubled in size.

The keyboard is stiff, certainly compared to the current MacBook Pro range, and it's a similar, but improved, tech found in the current 12-inch MacBook keyboard. It's comfortable to type on, but will take a moment to realign your typing skills.

The tighter keyboard is now sandwiched between two speakers that promise a louder, clearer, cleaner noise although we were unable to tell the improvement based on the loud gaggle of journalists at the event keen to get their hands on the new laptop.


While these changes might not affect how you do use your MacBook Pro on a daily basis, the biggest change, and one that is likely to get the biggest wow, is the introduction of a new feature called Touch Bar.

The Touch Bar is OLED strip that replaces the Fn and system keys, running across the top of the keyboard. It dynamically changes based on what you're doing and what apps you're using. It doesn't offer any form of haptic feedback however, it's for touch only.

That means it can go from offering volume keys one minute to displaying an array of smiling emoji the next. It's very cool, very responsive, and very easy to use. We especially like the ability to scroll through pictures in the Photos App or picking the right emoji in a tweet.

The visual performance is similar to the Apple Watch; it is beautifully crisp and clean. Switch apps and the options change, while you can customise the default options all via the settings display.

Furthermore, the Touch Bar has a Touch ID sensor buried beneath it at the far right-hand side hidden under a small piece of sapphire crystal (presumably to stop it scratching). That means you'll not only be able to unlock your Mac in the same way you do your iPhone, but also use Apple Pay on the web.

While the keyboard is identical in size on both the 13 and 15-inch models, the trackpad on the 15-inch model is considerably larger, meaning more space to work on this bigger model.

For those on a budget (a £1,449 sort of budget) there is an entry-level MacBook Pro available without the Touch Bar. This model also only has two Thunderbolt 3 ports.


It's not just about the exterior, the internals gets a refresh too with new processors, new graphics, and faster storage.

The starting model features a 2.0GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1GHz, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD storage and will cost £1,449 making it a very pricey upgrade from the £900 12-inch MacBook or £949 MacBook Air.

If you want to get that Touch Bar you'll have to dig deep. Featuring a 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.3GHz, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD it will cost £1,749. 

If you want to go big, there is a 15-inch MacBook Pro that comes with the Touch Bar, a 2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.5GHz, 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD, but that will cost you £2,349. This also gets you AMD Radeon GPU options too.

This is Apple returning back to the traditional MacBook Pro pricing of yesteryear and one that will insist you are serious about getting the company's new flagship laptop. There are a number of options, however, like storage, RAM and GPU on the 15-inch models, but the top configurations are costly.

First Impressions

With or without the Touch Bar the new 2016 Apple MacBook Pro looks to be an amazing laptop that will get MacBook users excited. It's smaller, lighter, but more powerful, bringing the MacBook Pro line back to be ahead of the MacBook launched last year.

Adding the Touch Bar is a more innovative move. It gives Apple MacBook Pro users greater touch control they are probably used to without making the entire screen one big touch screen like the iPad. That was something that Steve Jobs always said was a big "no, no". But by adding touch elements that change an adapt, the laptop becomes a lot more intelligent, and smudge free.

It's certainly got the wow factor, we can't wait to get to see how it works in the real world.