The long-awaited update to Apple’s brand of laptops, the Macbook, has finally arrived, bringing a slightly modified design with one key addition: an OLED touch bar to replace function keys. Combined with a lighter chassis, brighter display and faster performance, the 2016 MacBook and MacBook Pro offer updates we desperately wanted, as well as some features that are a pleasant surprise.


Before opening the standard clamshell design, users will notice the new color scheme, a futuristic silver or space gray for the MacBook Pro. Gone is the iconic glowing apple on the rear of the display, now a solid metallic symbol. Holding it in your hand, the laptop is also noticeably thinner and lighter, at 3.02 pounds for the 13-inch and four pounds for the 15-inch Pro. The Pro is also 15.5mm thick, a 14 percent slim-down according to a recent Engadget review.

Upon raising the lid, the MacBook 2016 reveals its refreshingly new look and functionality. The haptic trackpad is now at least 46 percent larger than previous models and offers all the same great push features that make the stationary force trackpads stand out. While the keyboard relies on previous Apple technology, the function keys have now been replaced with a 2,170 x 60 touch strip, that changes to a variety of controls depending on the application in use. Ranging from volume and music controls to predictive texting and emojis, the new touch bar is a versatile way to maximize both efficiency and ergonomics. The bar also brings iOS Touch ID to a laptop for the very first time, allowing for secure purchases and safe logins directly from your computer. The touch bar is fully customizable, although Engadget reports that proximity to physical buttons—like the delete key—can be an issue.

Beyond the more attention-grabbing updates, MacBook users can now enjoy a 60% brighter display (500 nits of brightness) and P3 color, which makes 25 percent more colors available than standard RGB. In other words, photographers, videographers and graphic artists rejoice: your colors will now be more accurate! Additional improvements include 58% louder speakers with 2.5 times louder bass. Worried about powering all this new tech? The 2016 MacBook comes packed with a “Kaby Lake” processors that renders graphics 130% faster with 100% faster flash storage, and powered by an Intel Core i7 processor. Unfortunately, the battery life has not made such a big leap forward, so expect around the same ten hours of use.

Apple lately has been making bold advances towards future tech trends, whether or not they are in sync with consumer demands. This misstep is evident in the lack of variable ports on the new Macbook. With four thunderbolt ports on the pro, which offer up to 40-Gbps data transfer, supports for up to two 5K displays, and the ability to charge from any port, the USB-c based ports do offer the best of future hardware connectivity. However, for now, many users will be forced to purchases dongles to support their standard USB peripheries, which now includes the lack of an SD card reader.

The 2016 MacBook and MacBook Pro are thinner, more powerful, and overall exciting new additions to Apple’s line of revolutionary computing devices.

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