Apple just added a mini touch display on the keyboards of its new laptops --  here's what it can do

Apple has taken the wraps off its new MacBook Pro, and it’s ditched the row of physical function keys that’s been on every personal computer for decades.

In their place, there’s the “Touch Bar,” a thin touch display that provides different settings and shortcuts based on what you’re doing.

It looks pretty wild! It’s also pretty different. So to give you a sense of how it works, here’s a quick look at some of the things you can do. 

The Touch Bar is a multitouch little strip that adjusts dynamically, depending on what app you're using. If you're browsing the web, for instance, it can preview your open tabs. If you're checking your calendar, it can give you shortcuts for each day.

On a system level, you can use it to quickly adjust your volume and screen brightness.

While you're web browsing, you can quickly scroll through your saved favourite sites, then open them with a tap.

It can also suggest words while you're typing, much like the on-screen keyboard on the iPhone and iPad.

In the Mail app, you can, say, quick select certain contacts, then add them to a message.

You can scroll through emojis and slap them in an iMessage.

With videos, you could fast forward and rewind without showing those controls onscreen.

If you're editing photos, you can scroll through filters or rotate it.

You can also quickly move through your camera roll.

Or you could take a call.

If you're editing a video, you can zoom through frames.

In an music making app like Djay, you can do a little mixing and toy with a track.

Whatever settings you see aren't necessarily static. You can add other options and shortcuts in as well, at least on the system level.

Next to the Touch Bar is a TouchID fingerprint scanner, much like what you'd see on the iPhone. That means you can make payments on certain web sites.

There's plenty more beyond that, and the Touch Bar's functionality should only expand as more apps support it. We'll let you know how well it works outside of a controlled demo environment in the coming days.

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