New Generation of MacBooks Are Here

Apple unveiled long-awaited updates to its Mac computers Thursday, aiming to spark consumer interest in a product line often overshadowed by newer gadgets like the iPad and iPhone.

The breakout feature is, as widely speculated, a new touch-sensitive panel on the MacBook Pro, Apple's top-of-the-line laptop. The touch bar will offer functionality that's familiar to many iPhone users. It shows word suggestions as you type and lets you scroll through libraries of emojis. When watching movies, the touch bar can offer playback controls. When editing photos, the touch bar changes to offer options to lighten or rotate. It adapts and offers different controls for whatever app or website you're using.

The Pro will also come with a fingerprint sensor, similar to one in the iPhone, to unlock the device. It can recognize different users and offer quick switching based on the fingerprint. The new Macs will also offer a dedicated key for the Siri voice assistant, a feature added with the MacOS Sierra update last month.

In keeping with recent updates to other Apple products, the company will replace some computer ports with a new USB-C outlet. Connectors using USB-C technology can transmit data faster than older USB jacks. They're also smaller and have a uniform shape, which means the USB-C jack can be inserted with either side facing up.

Apple unveiled the new Macs at an event at its headquarters in Cupertino, California. During the event, Apple also said it wants to unify television viewing on its streaming TV device with a new app simply called "TV."

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The changes to the Mac are the first significant ones in years. Sales of the Mac have been in a slump this year, after a streak of growth in 2014 and 2015 that seemed to defy global trends. Consumers generally are buying fewer PCs and...

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