With the market for laptops continuing to dip, it would appear that Apple is wanting more mileage out of its existing product line: the design of the MacBookPro has not changed since 2013, but prices have been hiked by several hundred dollars.
In what is a first redesign in several years, Apple has finally unveiled its MacBook Pro by adding a fingerprint reader and by replacing the function keys with a small touch screen and in doing so it has raised prices by several hundred dollars.
Although the iPhone has become Cupertino’s flagship product, it still thinks laptops have a future for the company.
As per Ben Bajarin, an analyst at Creative Strategies, the changes brought about by Apple in its latest offering act as an “important incremental upgrade” which could convince existing consumers to acquire a smaller and faster model.
But with Microsoft’s Surface notebook also allowing touch on its main screen, it remains to be seen, how consumers will react to the redesign.
“A lot of people spend a lot of time on these machines. The key for them is incremental innovations that make their job easier,” said Bajarin. “That’s value.”
He went on to add, although a rise in prices was expected, the hike in prices caught many by surprise.
Many potential buyers on Twitter lamented about the new prices and were underwhelmed by the new features. Others hoped Apple would have launched many more products.
Apple shares fell by 1.2%.
Context-Sensitive on-screen buttons
Apple’s latest MacBook Pro offers customers Touch ID, a fingerprint reader similar to the ones used in iPhones as well as the Touch Bar, a touch bar on the screen featuring different keys. With it you can control programs on the main screen.
As you might expect from Apple, the buttons are intuitive, they change depending on what programs is being run. Essentially they act as a second screen, for example they could show older version of a picture that is being edited.
Microsoft’s Surface already uses touch screens for its main display screen.
A 13” MacBook Pro with Touch ID and a Touch Bar will set you back by $1,799. In comparison, previous generation 13” products used to cost $1,299. Apple also offers the 13” MacBook Pro without the Touch ID and the Touch Bar for $1,499.
The 15” MacBook Pro starts at $2,399. Its previous equivalent used to start at $1,999.
Apple’s revenues from this product category accounts for around 11%. The number of machines sold however have dropped by 10% to 18.5 million.
Although Apple has steadily upgraded components to the MacBook Pro, the overall form factor has undergone little change. PC Week described it as a “fossil” which has not had a design change since 2013.
Apple also announced a new TV App that would work across its product line, including, iPhone, iPad and Apple TV.
Cupertino has also stated it would integrate Twitter feeds directly into live sports games on Apple TV, thus adding a social element to the product.