In the second Apple event in the past two months, Tim Cook ceremoniously took the stage today at Apple HQ to keep us posted on what the company has been working on. The event opened with a moving message toward making Apple technology accessible to all without too much detail on how exactly that is going to happen. Followed by a not so humble-brag session about the positive reception of the iPhone 7 and iOS 10.
Memories — the feature that uses AI and facial recognition on your whole trove of pictures to create new slideshows each day — has been a popular addition to the native photo app. Tim Cook says there have been 400 million Memories viewed. He also said that since iOS 10 was launched, more than 60 percent of customers have installed it. And there are now 8,000 Apple TV apps up from 1,000 just one year ago. Two thousand of these apps are games and you can also expect a high-profile one Apple TV in the near future – Minecraft will arrive on the platform by year-end.
Speaking of TV, there is a new cross-platform app called TV. This new iOS app will allow you to track your favorite shows and movies across the video apps on Apple TV platform. The company has partnered with video providers in order to aggregate their content into a single view, so Apple TV owners can more easily see what’s available to watch instead of worrying about which app actually houses the content. When you click or ask Siri to watch one of the programs, you’re just taken to the right app. Unfortunately, Netflix is not participating in this experience, it’s been reported, and Apple did not explain why on stage or offer any promises of future integrations.
As for hardware, on the 25th anniversary of the release of Apple’s first netbook computer, the PowerBook, we get the new MacBook Pro. According to Apple, the new MacBook Pro is the thinnest, lightest, and most powerful version of the Pro to date. With improved graphics performance, a brighter display, better speakers, and a new thermal architecture that promises to be quieter and lessen system overheated, the device looks worth the four year wait. In this latest version of the Pro, the trackpad is now double the size and finally includes the Force Touch. The keyboard has been updated as well to include the “butterfly” keyboard seen on the most recent MacBook. Two Thunderbolts ports on each side keep the new netbook looking clean and uniform and yes, it still has a headphone jack.
Most notably, in the premiere models, Apple has done away with the Mac’s row of function keys and replaced it with a mini Retina display named, Touch Bar. Touch Bar lets you interact directly with whatever software you are using, adjusting its touch functionality to the task at hand. The right side of this bar also includes TouchID, utilizing the new Apple T1 chip for security. And this wouldn’t be a piece of Apple hardware without Siri built-in. The new Pro is available now starting at $1499 and will be shipping in the coming weeks.
Not mentioned at the event, Apple seems to have pulled the 11-inch MacBook Air from all of its online stores following its MacBook Pro presentation. The base-level MacBook Air is now the 13-inch for $999 and it received a minor update — more RAM. Apple touted the 13-inch Pro’s specs against the existing 13-inch Air, emphasizing that it was thinner and lighter — in addition to being more powerful — despite the much-steeper price.
And that’s it. We’ve got the new MacBook Pro we’ve been waiting for, it has a crazy cool-looking Touch Bar, and a TV app that has the potential to make cordcutting more appealing to the masses.