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Technology

Apple launches MacBook Pro laptop with revamped keyboard

16-inch MacBook Pro
The MacBook Pro’s new “Magic Keyboard” takes the place of the “butterfly” keys that people have complained about for years.
(Christoph Dernbach / Associated Press)

Apple Inc. introduced its first major update to the MacBook Pro laptop in three years Wednesday, adding a slightly larger screen to the top-end model, improved speakers, a better keyboard, and faster processors from Intel Corp.

The new computer has a 16-inch screen, bigger than the 15.4-inch screen on the previous version. That alone may not be enough to spur people to upgrade or switch from Windows PCs, but the new “Magic Keyboard” is designed to address a pain point that professional users have complained about for years. The new models start at $2,399, Apple said.

The Mac Pro desktop computer, which Apple announced in June, will go on sale in December, the company said. The Mac Pro starts at $5,999 and its optional screen costs another $5,999, making the set one of the most expensive computer systems on the market.

The Mac continues to be a steady seller for Apple, generating about $26 billion in fiscal 2019 — about 10% of Apple’s total revenue — even as Apple pushes more portable devices such as the iPad and iPad Pro.

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The MacBook Pro laptop is Apple’s highest-end portable computer and it is differentiated by its faster processor and larger screen that are ideal for video editors, software developers and gamers. The device had its last major update in 2016, which added improved displays, a larger trackpad and a new design. The new models include main processors from Intel, not Apple-made chips that it plans to add to at least some computers as early as next year.

In 2015, Apple switched to a keyboard with a “butterfly mechanism,” which made it thinner but gave less vertical space for keys to press down — and led to complaints that even a small bit of debris underneath could cause a key to stop working. The new keyboard on the latest model is less prone to breaking than the current ones, Apple said. Because of several issues with the keyboards on current and earlier models of the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, including sticky keys, Apple has opened up rare free repair programs.

The MacBook Pro and Mac Pro cap a year of Apple product releases that also included the iPhone 11 line, Apple Watch Series 5 and AirPods Pro.


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