Touch sensitive … Apple’s latest MacBook Pro adds a Force Touch trackpad.
FORCEFULLY poking a new computer seems wrong.
It’s what Apple implores you to do with the trackpad of its new MacBook Pro, however, as it has added Force Touch to its most powerful portable computer.
The new feature is a hand-me-down from the super slender MacBook and it’s just as useful on its bigger brother.
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The thinner trackpad design features four force sensors beneath the surface to register touches anywhere on its surface and a Taptic Engine to create vibrations that trick your brain into thinking the pad is moving horizontally.
The new addition has the effect of giving the MacBook Pro’s trackpad three selection options: clicking, right-clicking, and Force clicking.
Right now, Force clicks are most useful in Apple’s own applications.
In the Safari web browser, for example, users can Force click an address to see its location previewed in Apple Maps.
In Mail, Force clicking a tracking number will bring up its progress.
In iMovie, pressing harder or softer on the fast-forward icon will let you vary its speed.
It’s a handy addition and one you can turn off if you don’t immediately appreciate it. It is also sure to become more useful as different developers add functionality to their applications.
In addition to Force Touch, the new MacBook offers a speed boost from Intel’s fifth generation chips, nicknamed Broadwell, new AMD discrete graphics, and flash storage that promises to be 2.5 times more responsive.
It’s a speed boost that does not go unnoticed inside the Pro, with any delays easier to blame on your internet connection than the machine.
Apple has also added an hour’s battery life to this 15.4-inch computer, which will now let users wander the web for up to nine hours between charges. Using demanding software will see that time limit cut to around five hours, however.
It’s also worth noting that unlike the new MacBook, the Pro retains plenty of connections, including two Thunderbolt ports, two USB 3 ports, an HDMI connection, and space for an SDXC memory card. Sadly, though, there is no USB-C port to try here.
Apple’s newest Pro notebook has two downsides, however. The first is that its design remains the same as it did three years ago, even though other models have lost weight or shaved off centimetres. It’s by no means unattractive, of course, but it’s challenging to carry at 2.04kg.
The second is its price. The Pro packs in a lot of top-of-the-line technology, such as fast flash storage, making it more expensive. This computer starts at $2799 but it peaks at $4479, making it a large financial commitment.
Those who do invest are unlikely to be disappointed in Apple’s powerhouse, however, with Force Click adding something fresh to a hero product.