Jim Dalrymple on the 13-inch MacBook Pro (and the location of the escape key)

Jim Dalrymple:

We might as well talk about the Touch Bar first. Going into the keynote, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the Touch Bar. However, having used it a bit, I like it a lot more than I thought I would.

Touch Bar is more contextual than just changing for apps—it can change for the different things you do inside of the app as well. This makes the Touch Bar infinitely more useful because you’ll be able to do things in each app and with each task.

The Touch Bar is smart too. For instance, if you want to turn the volume down, you can tap on the volume button and then touch on the slider to control the volume level. Pretty simple. But you can do it even quicker—you can tap and hold on the volume button and just scrub left or right to control the volume level. The volume slider still appears and moves when you scrub your finger, but it’s much quicker to just tap and hold.

You can scrub through a lot of things including, songs, video, pictures, and I’m sure many other things in Apple’s built-in apps.

The types of things you can get in the Touch Bar seems to be very wide ranging. Emojis, buttons, sliders, scrollers, pictures, timelines, and the list goes on.

Since the Touch Bar is configurable, exactly how people use it will become a personal choice. It’s impossible for me to say how much use I’ll get out of it with the limited time I had yesterday, but I can see using it a lot, especially with music.

The Touch Bar has an ambient light sensor built-in so it’s always at a comfortable brightness for the conditions you’re working in. When the computer is not in use, the bar will dim after 60 seconds and then go dark after about 75 seconds. Touching the keyboard will wake it up instantly.

The Touch Bar is designed to be seen at a normal working angle when sitting at the computer. In other words, you don’t need to be looking straight down at the computer to see it properly.

There are a lot of details in the Touch Bar that exemplify Apple’s attention to detail. This is exactly what we expect from the company.

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The last major feature is the display. This is Apple’s first MacBook that features the use of a wide color gamut. They’ve used it in the iPhone 7 and iPad Pro, but it’s important that Apple also used it in the MacBook Pro—this is the computer that photographers and film people will be using, so it should be there.

The display is 30 percent more power efficient than the previous generation and it’s also brighter and has a higher contrast ratio.

The touchpad also features a virtual escape key for those who are panicking over Apple removing it.

The escape key appears on the trackpad just as it appears on the bottom of the screen with the iPad Pro and a smart keyboard cover. Not entirely the end of the world.

It also has a headphone jack.

Roger Stringer spends most of his time solving problems for people, and otherwise occupying himself with being a dad, cooking, speaking, learning, writing, reading, and the overall pursuit of life. He lives in Penticton, BC