New MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar Is Essentially a Modified Apple Watch

Apple Approves Third-Party Apps with Touch Bar Support as New MacBook Pro Shipments Begin
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The flashiest feature of the newly unveiled MacBook Pro is the Touch Bar, an OLED touchscreen display that replaces function keys with a dynamic strip, and according to noted Apple developer and hacker Steven Troughton-Smith, the Touch Bar is essentially a modified Apple Watch. More specifically, the Touch Bar runs on a version of watchOS, which is in-itself a modified version of iOS.

“From everything I can piece together, the T1 chip in the new MacBook Pro is a variant of the system-on-a-chip used in the Apple Watch,” Troughton-Smith said in an interview with The Verge.

The Touch Bar comes with Touch ID embedded in the right corner, which allows you to make payments via Apple Pay. In order to protect your financial information when you’re making purchases, the newest MacBook Pro has a T1 chip embedded in them that blocks malicious access to Touch ID and gives it a secure enclave. It also manages access to the forward-facing camera, to prevent hackers from peering through them. The T1 chip is, in fact, an ARM processor similar to the S1 chips found within Apple Watches.

“Running watchOS on the T1 lets the Mac benefit from Apple’s deep work on iOS embedded security, as the T1 gates access to the Touch ID sensor and, from the looks of it, the front-facing camera in the new MacBook Pro too,” Troughton-Smith went on to explain. This means that the Touch Bar is actually a modified variant of the Apple Watch.

This revelation doesn’t necessarily mean that Apple is going to make a Surface Book-esque laptop that runs both macOS and iOS. Nor does it mean that the new MacBook Pros are going to run Apple Watch apps on the Touch Bar any time soon. But it does pave the way for Apple to start innovating and expanding the capabilities of the Touch Bar in the future, potentially allowing it to run certain iOS apps and features, even when your MacBook Pro is off.

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