A sneak peek at the new MacBook Pro with the Magic Toolbar

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If we momentarily ignore the slight revision in the MacBook series from 18 months ago, the most recent substantial revision was four years ago, basically an eternity in high tech. At a formal announced event scheduled by Apple Computers for today, the company is expected to unveil its new MacBook series. In a very untypical error as Apple itself allowed a number of pictures to leak onto the internet, thereby eliminating at least some of the surprise.

Farewell to the F4 and Escape keys

A couple of pictures concealed in the routine revision of the macOS Sierra program were displayed on Tuesday in the MacRumors blog. We can get an impression of the new MacBook from the pictures, especially its keyboard, which has been thoroughly overhauled. The most significant change, of course, is what has been referred to in recent weeks as the Magic Toolbar – a narrow rectangular touch surface stretching along the entire length of the keyboard that looks like a black stripe – at least, as long as the computer is turned off. The moment you turn the computer on, the OLED stripe begins to display buttons, notices, and symbols. All of them are context-based, according to what is happening on the screen. In other words, from now on, every app you run, every website, and every game can display on the new surface its own special buttons, which will replace the old functional buttons. Other than the on/off button, users of the new MacBook will also be saying farewell to the familiar Escape button.

Photo Credit: MacRumors
Photo Credit: MacRumors

On the right side of the new surface is the MacBook’s on/off button, with a built-in Touch ID fingerprint reader. In one of the leaked pictures, it can be seen clearly how the button is used to verify the user’s identity when making purchases with Apple Pay, just like the iPhone devices.

In the leaked pictures, which probably show the 13-inch MacBook, the impression is that the keyboard has been dieting, and is now thinner than the existing MacBooks. Two built-in loudspeakers are visible on the side of the keyboard, having been moved from the bottom of the computer.

The inadvertently revealed new pictures in effect confirm what has been predicted for weeks on the web, but we still lack many pieces of the puzzle. We still do not know the new computer’s specs, how many and what kind of outlets Apple has chosen to include in it, whether the MagSafe will survive or give way to USB-C charging, the thickness of the new computer, and of course the launch date and the price. In order to obtain these particulars, we will have to wait patiently until today at 8:00 PM, when Apple will make its official announcement.

Check in later today for Geektime’s coverage of the event with all the breaking news

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