New MacBook Pro should end slump

Apple wants to stop the slide in the tough computer market.


The company wants to score with one innovation in particular: In the new MacBook Pro, the row of function keys is replaced by a narrow touchscreen bar. Various buttons and controls will be displayed there to match the current application, explained marketing boss Phil Schiller in Cupertino on Thursday.


Furthermore, a fingerprint sensor is integrated into the "Touch Bar" so that the iPhone payment service Apple Pay can also be used directly on the computer for purchases on the web. The Touch Bar can thus cover many more functions than permanently marked buttons. In a text program, for example, word suggestions are displayed there for selection, as well as controls for selecting fonts or colors.

In photo applications, the bar shows mini-images of the subjects that you can scroll through with your finger, or tiny previews of filters for image editing. Especially with complex professional applications like Photoshop, relevant functions can be made accessible more quickly from the depths of the program menus.


Thinner and lighter

Furthermore, the model range has become thinner and lighter. The area of the touchpad has been significantly increased. Other Mac models were not updated on Thursday, contrary to some expectations. There is also still no new monitor for notebooks directly from Apple - Schiller advertised a new display from South Korean supplier LG instead.

Sales of notebooks and desktops have been declining across the industry for more than two years. Apple's Macs have outperformed the market for some time. Most recently, however, sales fell by around 13 percent to around five million units ahead of the expected refresh of the model range.

Big TV plans

Apple also gave a glimpse of how it plans to play a bigger role in its users' viewing habits. The Apple TV box will get a new application called "TV", in which content from various apps will be bundled. There, they will be staggered into sections like "Series" or "Movies" and can be launched no matter which channel or online service they come from. In addition to streaming services like Netflix, various broadcasters have now also released apps for the Apple TV.

Apple's Siri assistant is also supposed to play a role in the operation. All you have to do is say into the microphone which game you want to watch - the software determines where it's playing in the background and displays it. The new TV app will initially be available in the US in December.

"We want Apple TV to be the one place you need to watch TV, for all your TV shows and movies," Apple CEO Tim Cook said. "We believe apps are the future of TV."

At the event, Twitter demonstrated how current tweets on sports broadcasts, for example, can be displayed directly on the TV screen alongside a reduced live image via Apple TV. The popular building block game Minecraft - which now belongs to former arch-rival Microsoft - is also coming to the TV box.

Apple's plans for the TV business are taking shape with the "TV" app. Google and other corporations such as Sony also want to build platforms for traditional TV content, with a focus on the lucrative U.S. market. (SDA)

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