Apple's 'Hello Again' event yesterday had no shortage of ooo's and ahhh's with the reveal of the new MacBook Pro's head-turning Touch Bar.
The "multitouch-enabled strip of glass," as Apple describes it, is quite the marvel. It has the potential to transform how we use apps — from editing video to DJing to just about everything else.
In many ways, the Touch Bar could be more comfortable than a touchscreen laptop. After using the new MacBook Pro, Mashable's Lance Ulanoff had this to say: "It has a slightly matte finish that allows your fingers to effortlessly slide back and forth over it. This is critical, since many of the features you’ll use on it require a finger slide gesture." He also notes, "[it] appears to have almost as much functionality as your iPhone touchscreen."
But therein lies a simmering problem.
Everyone has at least seen, if not experienced, a cracked iPhone screen — it's not a pretty sight. And with the addition of a touch strip screen on the foundation of the new Pro, Apple is opening up a new way for your prized tech possession to sustain damage.
Yes, cracked screens are often the result of human error. But, realistically speaking, accidents happen — so when you're shelling out so much more for your laptop this is a pretty real issue to take into consideration.
"Putting a Retina display in your keyboard does make [the device] more fragile and delicate — the glass could crack, which isn't something you had to worry about with a keyboard before," Andrew Goldberg, Lead Teardown Engineer at iFixit, told Mashable via email. "More sensitive electronics right in the splash zone of spilled drinks could [also] be an issue, but we'll have to take it apart to see how well-sealed it is."
Apple added one more feature to the keyboard: a Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Positioned right next to the Touch Bar and built into the power button, this is another possible point of failure, Goldberg points out.
"Because of the embedded Touch ID sensor, the Touch Bar and the T1 chip that powers it are paired at the factory (much like the Touch ID sensor in an iPhone is paired to its logic board)," he said. "You'll have to replace both if the Touch Bar breaks."
So, if you're accident-prone and are considering the MacBook Pro, you have some serious thinking to do.
Raymond Gonzalez, an employee from the Mac Support Store in Brooklyn, New York, told Mashable in a phone interview that repairing the current MacBook Pro keyboard is usually $199 once you factor in labor costs. But, "replacing a unit like the [Touch Bar] will probably be more expensive than the regular keyboard."
You could get the AppleCare+ plan, which is known to cover accidental damage, but be ready to shell out an extra $249-$349 — probably more, given the added parts to this new, more expensive, MacBook Pro. We'll just have to see how this plays out.
Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.