Just before the Apple Event started we posted a report on Apple's official trademark filing for 'Touch Bar' that surfaced in the UK. Apple began the keynote telling us that it was the twenty-fifth anniversary of Apple's notebooks. They rifled through the breakthroughs for their notebooks over the years which led to today's big breakthrough feature called the Touch Bar. Apple's new mid to high-end MacBook Pro's will include the new contextual 'Touch Bar' that replacing the traditional F-Keys bar. Every time you open an Apple app such as Mail, Safari, Photos, Keynote or Final Cut Pro, the Touch Bar controls will automatically change to give you a faster way to work. It's a whole new productivity tool that truly adds a new dimension to the MacBook Pro. The new Touch Bar also introduces Touch ID for the MacBook, a feature that we covered in a patent report back in 2015. The new MacBook Pro also introduced an updated keyboard with second generation butterfly keys. Whether this fully matches Apple's latest patent features isn't known at this time, but the patent was discussing the next generation of butterfly keys. The actual Touch Bar was covered in a report in August pointing to a patent going back to 2012. Lastly, the MacBook Pro's high-end model does indeed include an AMD graphics card based on the Polaris Architecture as we reported on back in April. You could find more about Apple's new MacBook specifications here and about the new individual features here.
And what would an Apple Event be without a new Jony Ive video?
It must be said that most analysts and major Apple blogs were hoping for a lot more at this event. The big miss was without a doubt an iMac refresh going into the all-important holiday season. Others were expecting the Mac Pro to be updated and an all new standalone display to replace their defunct Thunderbolt model.
Yet the rest of the Mac line-up is likely to be refreshed in the first half of 2017. In September we posted a report titled "Future iMacs Supporting Intel's 7th Gen Core will usher in Immersive Internet Era." In that report we pointed to Intel's Navin Shenoy, VP, GM Client Computing Group who clearly pointed out that the new Seventh-Gen Core processors for desktops were only coming to market in early 2017. So technically the delay in updating the iMac is squarely on Intel for dropping the ball. Most people purchase major ticket computers at Christmas, so what were they thinking?
Yet with that said, Apple could have presented a 'sneak peek' of the next-gen iMac and tell us that it would be launching sometime in March or April (or whenever). There's nothing like a great movie trailer to pump up an audience prior to a movie debuting at a later time and Apple could have done that here.
Of course all die-hard Apple fans will patiently wait to upgrade their iMac and/or Mac Pro in 2017 without blinking. But those who are able to run macOS and Windows 10 fluently, there are certainly more choices out there than ever before if your system is on its last legs.
Yesterday Microsoft introduced their all-new 'Surface Studio' desktop aimed at Pro creatives like animators and graphic artists. The system's hot 28" PixelSense Display offers 63% more pixels than a 4K television. They also introduced the 'Surface Dial' which is a new tool for artists that is generated a lot of buzz in the press. Amazingly for an all-in-one design they were able to jam it with a whopping 32GB RAM. Yet without a doubt Microsoft's first generation of Surface Studio is aiming squarely at the higher-end creative community, a market which has traditionally been a stronghold for Apple. It's a market that won't blink at the US$3000 starting price.
For the mid-range (AIO) All-In-One Computer, HP reinvented their desktop systems so that the brains of the computer now resides at the base of the display so that the displays could be lighter and much, much thinner. One of the features that many will appreciate is their all-new pop-up camera and microphone. When a user needs to start their Windows system in the morning using their biometrics system associated with 'Hello Windows' or when holding a video conference, the user taps the top of the display and the camera and microphone pops-up. When not needed it tucks back into the display. This way there's no need for user's taping over the camera for fear of snoopers. The new HP (AIO) desktops are also priced for mainstream wallets. See the video below that focuses on the new HP Envy features.
So over this holiday season, the iMac will have a lot of competition aimed at the general consumer who doesn't particularly care about the operating system for simply writing the odd Word report, be on social media or play games.
Considering that Apple just came off its weakest year in over a decade, I was surprised at how little was refreshed today. Apple is such a huge company with so many engineering teams and to have only updated their MacBook Pro line-up was baffling.
Then again, if you happen to be ready to upgrade your MacBook Pro, then today was certainly a great day with Apple putting all of their weight behind a dozen or more refinements to make this MacBook Pro upgrade a great buy for the holidays.
At the end of the day, did today's Apple Event live up to your expectations? Send in your comments below.
One More Thing: This so-called 'Trademark Ninja' (ridiculous name) forecasted that we'd see "Magic Toolbar." Didn't happen. How about "Control Strip" or or "Smart Button?." No and no. Three strikes. Completely useless forecast - Ha!