28/10/2016 10:42 AM IST | Updated 28/10/2016 12:04 PM IST

Apple Takes On Microsoft Surface With New MacBook Pros

Will Apple's touch-bar magic carry the day, or Microsoft's convertible freedom?

Beck Diefenbach / Reuters

At yesterday's event to launch the new and upgraded MacBook Pros, along with a slew of other products, Apple's VP of hardware, Phil Schiller, jokingly compared the new Macbook Pro to the 25-year-old Apple laptop.

More likely, the people present in the room in Apple's Cupertino headquarters, and others who were watching the event's live-stream, were comparing the newly launched devices with Microsoft's Surface machine.

One of the biggest talk points of Apple's new Macbooks was the introduction of the touch bar, which essentially replaces the function key bar on the keyboard. Then there is the retina touchscreen, with its 'contextual' display that shows the user different options and buttons depending on which app is open on the screen.

A guest looks at the Touch Bar on a MacBook

You can use the touch bar as a scroll bar, toolbar, emoji selector, DJ sampler and a lot more. The company has released an API (Application Programming Interface) for the bar as well so that developers can make full use of it.

On Wednesday, a day before the Macbook Pro launch, Microsoft revealed two wow-worthy creativity machines. The first was the all-in-one desktop called Surface Studio, which comes with a 28-inch display with a higher-than-4K resolution. It has full touch screen and stylus support. Although the $2,999 machine is a creativity monster, it would be unfair to compare it with the new MacBooks because of the form factor.

Then, there is the new and improved Surface Book with a full touchscreen and a keyboard attached to it via a hinge, making the machine a convertible. The display can be detached as well.

Apple is clearly betting on creativity, modifying the traditional form of a laptop by introducing a touch panel on the keyboard and a 2x bigger track-pad compared to the previous version, with Force Touch (which enables a surface to distinguish between light and hard pressure touches).

Lucas Jackson / Reuters
Panos Panay, Corporate Vice President for Surface Computing

In terms of power, both the Macbook Pro and Surface Book use i5 or i7 latest generation Intel processors, depending on the variant. While Microsoft's high-end Surface Books rely on NVIDIA GeForce graphics, the 15-inch MacBook Pro uses Radeon 3D GPU. On paper, the Surface has a higher resolution of 3,000 x 2,000 pixel, compared to any of the MacBooks.

Apple claims that its thinner-than-ever machines would give users a 10-day battery life, while Microsoft claims are for 12 to 16 hours with its updated battery. In a surprising move, the Macbook Pros just come with Thunderbolt/USB C ports. So, if you have to attach anything to it, you might have to look for an adapter.

MacBook Pros are coming soon to India. The 13-inch MacBook with the full keyboard is priced at ₹129,900; the 13-inch MacBook Pro with the touch bar is priced at ₹155,900; and the high-end 15-inch MacBook Pro will set you back by ₹205,900.

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