How Does The TouchBar Work? The New MacBook Has A Revolutionary Function

Twenty-five years after releasing its first laptop computer, Apple has proven it's still capable of surprising consumers with innovative technology. The tech giant unveiled the newest addition to its laptop family Thursday at an event in Cupertino, California. Apple's new MacBook Pro is lighter and thinner than ever, and comes with an innovative row of touchscreen keys. So how does the TouchBar on the MacBook Pro work?

One glance at Apple's latest MacBook Pro is all it takes to see there's something amiss. Gone are the traditional function keys and media controls, long considered to be a staple of any Apple keyboard. Replacing this top row of keys is the TouchBar, a thin, Retina-quality Multi-Touch display screen which adapts for use in different systems and apps.

In Safari, use the TouchBar to quickly open new tabs, display favorites, and easily toggle between tabs using visual previews. In Messages, the TouchBar becomes an easy-to-access emoji keyboard for all your expression needs. In Photos, the TouchBar allows users to easily scrub through videos and edit images. The TouchBar will also reportedly show Quick Typing suggestions, similar to how iOS devices aid users while they're typing.

The new feature also adapts for use in Mail, Calendar, GarageBand, Final Cut Pro, and many third-party apps. Adobe Photoshop has reportedly already teased its next update, which includes TouchBar functions like palette and layers manipulation, according to Tech Crunch. Microsoft Office and Skype are also rumored to be working on TouchBar updates.

While the TouchBar puts a variety of app-specific functions right at users' fingertips, the basic function keys (like the much-beloved escape key) are readily available at any time in any app with a simple right to left swipe of the finger.

The TouchBar is being touted by Apple as a "revolutionary" advancement in new laptop technology with Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, calling it groundbreaking. "Through the years each generation has introduced new innovations and capabilities," he said, "and it's fitting that this all-new generation of MacBook Pro is the biggest leap forward yet."

Although Apple's TouchBar sounds pretty impressive, consumers looking for a more traditional setup are able to opt out of the new technology (and the higher price tag that comes along with it) in the 13-inch MacBook Pro models. A 13-inch MacBook Pro without TouchBar and Touch ID technology starts at $1,499. MacBook Pro models featuring the new TouchBar start at $1,799.

Images: Apple